The World of Sue Kreitzman

Click on the photo below to read Sue and her husband Steve being interviewed in the 'Relative Values' section of the Sunday Times Magazine. (Opens in a new window).
Interviews by Megan Agnew. Photography by Anna Batchelor.

Read Sue's interview below, on The website as part of their feature on: 'Artists who have turned their homes into masterpieces'.

"I have nowhere to cook!"

One day in 2000, I was proofreading my 27th cookbook when I picked up a coloured marker and started to doodle. I had always loved art, but at school I was told I was terrible. Yet that day I drew a mermaid. I looked at the mermaid and she looked at me - and suddenly I wasn't a food writer any more. I was an artist.

I lost all interest in cooking. My family were gobsmacked and my agent thought I'd lost my mind. But the art spilled out. I was obsessed and still am. Within a year, I had my first exhibition.

This house is like living inside my head: the art keeps me calm, it keeps depression at bay, it defines my life. Beige frightens me. It makes me feel sick and old and scared. I have a friend who only wears black because she doesn't want to "clash" with the art she collects. I said to her: "Honey, I am the art and the art is me." Today, I am wearing a Diane Goldie dress which has Malcah Zeldis paintings on it, a necklace by Anne Sophie Cochevelou, and bracelets by Antonio Bonnici and Dan Vanderhei.

When my neighbours moved to the seaside, I bought their place and knocked the two houses through. Now I have two kitchens, but nowhere to cook - because art takes up all the space! I built a shed in the garden and that filled up too. I also have works by other people, friends or younger artists I mentor. Occasionally, people come in and hate it. Some even get angry. But other artists will come in and burst into tears because they feel moved.

My work is like tribal or folk art. My mother took us to museums every weekend when I was very young - the National Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Natural History, which had a huge collection of tribal art. She was a strange woman, often very angry, and would drag us through. It's hard to describe, but I always felt the art was alive, taking care of me. I would feel warmth and life flowing from the exhibits.

My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together for 60 years, but we're both very work focused. When we aren't in our apartment in New York, he lives in Cambridge, I live in London, and we meet up at weekends. He is very conservative, a scientist, but his place in Cambridge has a lot of art. It is less cluttered than mine, though.

I don't believe in the afterlife, but I have a little fantasy about what happens to women … one that informs the work I do. You die and wake up in a waiting room. When the phone rings you are called for an interview. At the interview, you have to decide whether to be a goddess or a superhero, and you are dressed accordingly. I would choose to be a goddess. So all the dolls in my house are dressed for their afterlife - in glitter, wings, colour.

I've lived in the UK for more than 30 years. The first time I walked down my street in the East End, I felt like I had come home. I can't tell you how much I love it. My neighbours all indulge me. When I walk down the road, everyone says hello, from the women in niqabs to the old cockneys. They call me the "colourful lady".

Photography: Sophia Evans for the Observer / Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Interview by: Homa Khaleeli

Below is the front cover of Issue One of GOLDIE Magazine. Read Sue's interview below.

Click on the photo above to read Sue Kreitzman's interview in Cause and Effect Magazine (opens in a new window).
Author: Sadhbh O'Sullivan. Photography by Holly Falconer.

Watch Sue's interview on CNN style:

Click the photo below to read Sue being interviewed on the ID Magazine website
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Click the photo below to read Sue being interviewed by The Refinery website
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