The World of Sue Kreitzman








Sue's Neckshrines at the American Visionary Art Museum

Click the image below for a look at Sue's Neckshrines on permanent display at 'Abundance' at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, USA. (Opens in a new window).




The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore has a large display of Sue's eye-popping and inspirational Neckshrines as part of their permanent collection.

AVAM specializes in original thematic exhibitions that seamlessly combine art, science, philosophy, humor and especially social justice and betterment.





A Home with a History: Sue Kreitzman’s multicolour manifesto for life







"Get ready," Sue Kreitzman cautions, settling into a deep red-leather armchair. "There’s a lot to talk about."

"Beige should carry a warning, says the outsider artist, whose kaleidoscopic Cambridgeshire home proves that a bright life can never be boring."

Click the image above to read Sue's interview with INIGO at her Cambridgeshire home. (Opens in a new window)




What is Mendoza Mania?

Mendoza Mania is a year-long project at St. Margaret's House, focused on the rise and fall of Daniel Mendoza, a Jewish Portuguese bare knuckle boxer born in Bethnal Green in the 18th century who helped make boxing into the sport it is today. 

Daniel Mendoza, once described by the papers as a "little black bruiser" was born into poverty, routinely experienced racism, had stints in prison and a penal colony and overcame considerable challenges to become one of the most celebrated boxers of his day. The project looks at how he "fought back" then and how different communities "fighting back" now, as we come out of a very difficult period, post-lockdowns. 

Mendoza Mania is a celebration of local heritage, and of hope and courage in the face of adversity which will allow us to explore race, nationality, class, gender, health and wellbeing and what it means to be a role model with our wider community. 

Here Sue talks about her early experiences as a teacher in America, not fitting in, and eventually coming to London's East End where she and her husband found her spiritual home.

Click the image above listen to and read Sue's interview. (Opens in a new window)


Sue Kreitzman is interviewed in LOVE INFINITY: A Tim Yip Film





Sue is interviewed in this epic new art documentary directed by Tim Yip with creative producers Meihui Liu and Maryam Eisler. A colourful cast of characters who have been firmly rooted in London's art, fashion and culture scene for many years illuminate the film, including; Daniel Lismore, Gilbert & George, Pandemonia, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Sue Webster, Langlands and Bell, Stik, Jonny Woo, Philip Colbert, Stephen Jones and the legendary Sandra Esquilant, landlady of East London's Golden Heart pub, a long-time favourite watering hole of London's artists and creatives.

Click the image above watch Sue's interviews. (Opens in a new window)


Robbie Quinn photographs Sue Kreitzman in SoHo, New York

And interviews her for his new book 'Street Unicorns'






Sue Kreitzman: "I was born with a rainbow in my head. I exist for art, I exist for colour. I live in my London Art Flat, surrounded by colour: my own art, and the art of those I love and mentor. It's quite intense and dense and exciting. When I venture outdoors, I can't bear to leave it all behind, so I wrap myself in it; art, texture, pizzazz, and plenty of colourful moxie.

I make my own kimonos, or beloved talented friends make them for me. I flaunt neckshrines of my own design around my neck. They reference cultural mashups, diversity, the diaspora, glorious kitsch, and storytelling. I'm a walking collage, a perambulating art gallery, a beacon of joy and vivid spectacle.

My motto? I don't wear beige, it might kill me! And I mean that, from the bottom of my sparkly multicoloured heart."


Robbie Quinn: Along my travels, I have stumbled upon, been sought out by and pursued individuals that have the exceptional ability to boldly express themselves through their own personal style. Now in some, this may seem subtle and considered just someone who gives attention to detail in the way they dress. Society may call them polished, dapper, elegant or refined. Others who perhaps draw further outside the lines, the fearful unadventurous may call them misfits, odd or freaks.

I call them all Street Unicorns, bold expressionists of style. Not measured by the extent of being unconventional, but by the common fact that they resist choosing what is expected of them by advertising, friends, family and society in general. The calculated choices we make by presenting ourselves in a unique way says we matter. It says this is me and perhaps because we are not all quite the same, we can learn and grow from each other.

And now on these pages, I share their images, viewpoints, and aspirations in an effort to not only to encourage and inspire, but to have people gain more acceptance and appreciation for others in today's culture. Street Unicorns speaks to current issues including race, immigration, ageism, gender identity and sexual orientation with an emphasis on promoting diversity and inclusion.




Click the image above to purchase a copy of Robbie Quinn's Book 'Street Unicorns'. (Opens in a new window)





Artist and writer Sue Kreitzman has one of the most joyful and colourful social media accounts we have ever seen. For a long time we have enjoyed following her on Instagram, getting some serious style inspiration and looking forward to seeing her latest art pieces. Sue actually reached out to us to help her source some beaded Maasai collars to make her infamous neck shrines. Since then, we have been totally in awe of Sue and her wonderfully vibrant mind! Originally from New York, Sue lived in Atlanta, Georgia for 18 years before moving to London with her husband and son. After years of teaching, working as a chef, writing food articles as well as 27 cookery books, Sue was in her 50s when she discovered her true passion was to be an artist. Since then, she has been creating Outsider Art as well as curating some wonderful exhibitions - there isn't much this one-woman-wonder hasn't achieved! We were so excited when she agreed to sit down and chat with us about all things art, ageing and her international inspirations....


How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Colourful
Obsessive
Prolific
Loving
Bonkers

You always look so fabulous! How do you decide what you're going to wear each day? Has dressing up always been a conscious act for you?
Deciding on what I will wear each day is an act of art, and a pure, visceral pleasure. I always begin with a long black dress. Then a wildly colourful and patterned art kimono, a neckshrine, an armful of bangles, and a pair of vivid, embellished crocs. It only takes moments, but the effect is dazzling. I'm a walking collage, a perambulating art gallery, a vision of joy and hope.



You've had many different, interesting careers in your life from a teacher to a chef to a food writer before landing into art in your late 50s. Were you concerned about finding "the right career" by a certain age?
I trained as a school teacher and worked at that job for about 15 years. Then other careers just found me. The food biz for a very long time, and then, in my late 50s, I burst into art, very like bursting into flames. It was very sudden, dramatic, and unsuspected. One of the most exciting things that has ever happen to me. A gift from the Universe. I'm in my 80s now. The gift continues.

We know you wear a lot of second-hand and handmade fashion, is shopping sustainably something that's important to you?
It's very important. The only conventional shopping I do is online for my long black dresses and crocs. Once obtained, I wear them for decades. No need to keep replacing them. I source my kimono fabrics from flea markets, charity shops, and female African traders. I design them, and a local tailor stitches them up for me. Sometimes beloved artist friends make a kimono or two or three for me. I take very good care of all of them. They last forever. When I am gone, they will be passed on to others.



What is the inspiration behind your art? Is there a specific message you hope to convey?
My paintings, drawings, and Memory Jugs concern themselves almost entirely with the female landscape. They are all about womanhood with all its joys and sorrows. Mostly the colourful joy and unfettered femaleness of it all, although often there's quite a bit of blood. I borrow Goddesses and other female characters from all religions and mythologies and remake them for my own private mythology. This is unabashed syncretism. An age old practice.

We absolutely love the beautiful neck shrines you create, can you tell us a little more about them and your process in creating them?
I am obsessed with making neckshrines. I invented the term, and I invented the thing itself. Literally a shrine to wear around your neck. You have to be a brave person (with a strong neck) to wear one. Neckshrines are shrines to diversity, humanity, the diaspora, and the joy of collecting detritus, junk, and found objects. And very much shrines to colour and sustainability. I often build them on African beadwork collars, or cowrie shell collars, or perspex bases.

I buy the African neckshrine bases from African traders, or those who support cottage industries in Africa. The perspex bases are made for me by an artist friend. Forget well behaved strings of pearls, or a staid diamond on a gold chain.

Good taste is overrated. Wear a shrine around your neck.



It appears that you take inspiration from a lot of different cultures, can you tell us a little more about that?
Cultural mashups are my speciality. Humanity is essentially one big family. We are all related to each other. We are all colours, all ethnicities, all races, all ages, all sexualities. A mosaic of great beauty. I try very hard to glorify that in my work. It gives me great pleasure. Appreciation and deep affection. Never appropriation.

Colour seems to play such a huge role in your life - when do you think your love affair with colour began?
I was born with a rainbow in my head. Although I grew up in a fairly bland household , I've craved bright bold colour for as long as I remember.
In your face, and in my face too.
Every facet of my life reflects this passion. I tone myself down for no-one.

What has been your proudest moment in your career/life so far?
In my long life, and several careers, I've had many proud moments, too many to list here. But something wonderful just happened. AVAM, (The American Visionary Art Museum), considered one of the finest Outsider Art Museums in the world, has just acquired 50 of my neckshrines. They will appear in the museum's next big exhibition, and will then move into its permanent collection. My crazy obsession has been validated!

I can't begin to convey what this means to me.

What 1 piece of advice would you offer to young creatives looking to make their way in the world?
Follow your own vision, don't let anyone put you in a box of their making. And be aware that at any moment, a window might open, just out of sight. That magical waft of breeze and glimmer of light might lead to an entire new life dimension. Don't ignore it.

A huge thank you to Sue for taking the time to chat with us today!
Visit the AARVEN website at:
www.aarven.com





'Meet the Artist breaking all the rules': By Zoomin_TV!. "We explore the colourful and unconventional art of Sue, who has spent her life challenging the art's rules and what it means to be a woman." At what moment do you 'become' an Artist? What is 'Art'? What does Sue's art represent and why does she create it? What materials does she use? Watch this video and get inspired to look at art in a different way and how to develop your own work.

Click the image above to head to Sue's YouTube channel to view the video. (opens in a new window)




Sue, Cansu Odemis and Florent Bidois were snapped and featured in The Times Newspaper at the Colourwalk in Spitalfields. It is held on the third Thursday of every month and everyone is welcome! Just dress in your most colourful wonderful and creative garbs and you'll fit right in...

Find out more on the Colourwalk Facebook page.



Videographer Yuqi Tang spent a week with Sue in her Shed Studio and meets her colourful clan of friends in Spitalfields Market.

Click the image above to head to Sue's YouTube channel to view Yuqi's video. (opens in a new window)