Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Assemblage Artist Sue Kreitzman

On Sunday afternoon, we had the pleasure of visiting assemblage artist Sue Kreitzman and got an amazing tour of the many treasures in her studio and her apartment.

Here is our "hostess with the mostest" -- with her gorgeous smile and signature candy apple red glasses and wardrobe. You may recognize her from a previous post we did last November.  Sue is one of the stars of Fabulous Fashionistas, Sue Bourne's documentary about six women all over the age of 70 who continue to lead spirited and inspirational lives.  Senior Planet will be showing Fabulous Fashionistas this Friday, May 9th, and Sue will be there with co-star Daphne Selfe, but before you grab your coat to get on line, we should tell you it's sold out!

Sue's love of color, and what one might call her obsession with the color red, is immediately evident the minute you enter her studio or her apartment. Although practically every horizontal and every vertical plane in the studio is occupied, she and her space are incredibly organized, with not a spot of dust.  (We want to borrow her housekeeper.  For the next several months.  Full time.)

To learn more about Sue and her art, go to and to

Here is a shot of her color-saturated red and yellow kitchen.  The element of surprise is everywhere.  Even if there is a recurrent theme, there are so many elements that the eye travels effortlessly, yet frenetically, trying to take everything in.

Did we mention that her studio and her apartment have breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge?

Dolls are a recurring theme in Sue's art collection. This particular pair of dolls with antlers is intriguing and were created by Thai artist Anothai.  Sue is often away, and said, upon showing us this pair, that she is sure they and the others get up to all sorts of mischief while she is gone.  We talked about the worldwide belief that figural objects are imbued with their own spirit and personality.

Sue has a world-class collection of Wonder Woman figurines and dolls, from decades ago to the present day, and remarked on how Wonder Woman's look has changed over the years.  Among other things, she is -- ahem -- rather more well endowed than she originally was.  She is also more muscular, and, importantly, these days she is depicted frowning.  On the other side of this Wonder Woman totem is (unseen) a small She Hulk doll.  With her collector's eye, Sue grabbed it right away, having never seen one before -- or since.

Everything is a source of inspiration for something else.  At the top left, you can see Betty Boop; top right, myriad small plastic dolls in bright colors; near the dolls, a diamond skull.  The thunderbolts on the mannequin's necklace are actually repurposed earrings.  Mexican art or Mexican-like art abounds, as evidenced by the sacred heart and the small hands on the same necklace.  Sue buys in multiples when she can -- one never knows if a particular treasure will resurface anywhere else.

These four dolls are in the waiting room to the after-life and is a goddess in the making

Sue's studio reminds us of Pee Wee's Playhouse featured in Pee Wee Herman's iconic 1980s TV show. An interesting objet seems to inhabit every nook and cranny and flat surface.  Her friend and fellow artist Angela Rogers joined us for coffee, lemonade and flavored ginger ale along with delicious tidbits on a table covered in yellow, red and green Mexican oilcloth.

Angela's pink hair is the perfect counterpoint to her hand-painted jacket.

Mermaids are another of Sue's favorite items. The lovely bouffant hairdo on each of this lovely, colorful pair (mother & daughter?) contains an interesting narrative.

This little mermaid with her eyepatch and demented grin is typical of the outsider art covering her apartment walls.

This shot displays the back of Sue's wonderful jacket with a Panamanian Mola.

Artist Malka Zeldis, whom we first met through Sue at the Senior Planet event, is painting on paper bags. Sue is holding one of her latest, inspired by the Matisse show.

Another outsider artist whom Sue helped discover is Joe Gagliano from Queens, NY, who didn't start to draw until after he retired as a NYC MTA token clerk. He works on paper with sharpies. Sue has an extensive collection of his work and cites his Pink Mona Lisa as one of her favorites.

There were so many interesting pieces to tell you about that we could produce a post like this for 365 days and never finish covering all of the items in her NYC apartment, let alone her studio or her London apartment. We loved every minute of our visit and the fact that her incredible positive energy and good humor are infectious. This is our valentine to a prolific and inspiring artist and truly free spirit!

Consider yourself warned: This weekend is the Outsider Fair and Sunday is Mother's Day! Cheers.


  1. I know some people woud find Sue's living/workspace to be overwhelming and claustrophobic, but I absolutely love it. I now want to paint my kitchen red and yellow. I've always wanted to meet her and see all this awesomeness in person - maybe one day. So envious you got to spend an afternoon amidst all that colour and creativity.

  2. I'm fascinated by the dustlessness. Wish I knew how she manages that! Thanks for letting me tag along! xoxo

  3. Great review of Sue's colorful world. The three of you look marvelous!

  4. I have long admired you ladies and have been checking in on your blog for a long time. Now I am an official follower. I wish I had the confidence you have. I could try the old fake it til you make it technique.