ARTIST/ WRITER

Su Cummings.jpeg

Based in Seattle, I usually write in the morning, make art in the afternoon, and I’m of two minds about what to call myself. 

In the western world, we’re trained for hectic lives. Hold still, my mother used to say to my fidgeting self. Learning to quiet down has opened up my writing, for stilled moments, distilled life. Space for shadows to unfold, the darker alter ego that I seldom express in my usual optimism. Writing is a way of thinking. I’ve unburied memories through the head-examining process of writing about family. Joy and anguish and jittery unease all find their way through my fingers onto the page.

 

I write to feel out honest self-expression, firstly. On some level, I write in the hope that wholehearted words dropped into the pond can roll across time and place to connect with others’ stories. I write to hear Ms. Dickinson’s "slant" distill my words—"the Truth's superb surprise.” I write to hold still.

My writing credentials include personal essays published on sites like The Write Launch and Ground Zero. I digest concerns across my big little world right here. I learn to grow while growing older by writing at [B]OLDTIMER. I charted fourteen months spent exploring the country on traverse.us.com. And I’m currently working on Retracing Grace, a memoir. 

Making art is a way of thinking too. With more physicality, I create mixed media “relief paintings.” There is a false divide between art and science; both are essential to understanding what it is to be human. I find revelation in eloquent physical phenomena, and by this measure my work is dispassionate. Yet I am not. Art can illuminate what makes us feel intensely human. Tandem threads run through my recent work: awe for the moral foundation that makes us human, in tension with a Memento Mori fatalism. The stories are abstract and personal. Logical and emotional. A moment in lived experience, captured, like a Pompeii plaster figure.

 

I often work with lightweight concrete of my own design, embedded in fabric. Its unique “science experiment” qualities make this a compelling medium for expressing both left and right brain values. I relish the beauty and expressive potential in the rugged sculptural surface, the three-dimensional plane. The ephemeral becomes durable, abstract becomes concrete. 

> Exhibitions

> Professional background  

  • I live and work in my studio in West Seattle, Washington 

  • Creative Mentor, Path With Art

  • Graphic designer for many years, CummingsCompany  

  • Recipient of hundreds of awards for brand, digital, print and environmental
    graphic design

  • Representative design publications: Communication Arts, AIGA

  • Past president, Seattle Women in Design (now AIGA Seattle)

  • Speaker and panelist at design and investor events 

 

> Education

I hold a BFA from Washington State University and have studied creative non-fiction in recent years at Hugo House, Seattle's respected "place for writers."

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