We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Hershman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always enjoyed creating art in many different forms. From my earliest childhood memories to the time I’ve spent today in my studio. For me pursing a career in the arts was the only career choice that ever made any sense. I wanted to spend my life doing something that I loved. That is one reason I became an art teacher and a big reason that I am a fine artist today. Teaching has long been my passion and although I am not currently teaching, creating art is one way for me to teach through opening dialogue among the viewers and encouraging my audience to think critically about the complex issues that my work explores. This is what keeps me coming back to my studio day after day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I feel that my niche in the field of sculpture that sets me apart from others in the fine arts industry is my use of materials. I prefer to use upcycled ,recycled and otherwise easily obtainable materials. I hope my work is not only emotionally and mentally evocative but also demonstrates that fine art does not have to be made using costly materials or equipment. Currently I’m most excited about a series that I’m working on entitled: Mental Health: A Journey of Recovery. This series depict the feelings and everyday reality of living with and recovering from mental illness. The ideas and intent behind each piece aids in determining what material will be used to create the work. Although each piece varies in material they are all linked through subject matter. Each sculpture in the series depicts a unique aspect of mental illness. These vary greatly from one sculpture to the next, from crushing loneliness to the stress of affording the treatment necessary to begin the healing process. Professionally I am working to get my name out there, to get my work into galleries, and to continue to do what I love. It has not been easy, taking risk rarely is. It is nerve racking every time I enter a piece into a show. Getting accepted is amazing and rejected crushing. Both however happen nearly equally and it is something that I am learning to live with. One of my favorite quotes is from Brene Brown ‘We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” So every time I choose to put myself and my work out there I am choosing courage and for me that is one of the greatest challenges I have faced. I have learned along the way that nothing I’ve done has come from giving up. I have learned that despite the bad days and the doubts that as long as I keep going, keep creating, the possibilities of life are endless. Success comes in many different ways and means many different things to different people but as long as I am living the life I choose I am successful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely want to start with a trip to the Sante Fe arts district. There are so many amazing galleries to see including Core, Niza Knoll, D’Art and many more. Then we would head down to the 16th street mall to see everything there is to see there, from out door sculpture to the beautiful murals that grace the sides of so many buildings and so many places to eat! I’d also take them to the Art museum and the Nature and Science museums. Two of my favorite places. Then we’d head to the mountains. I love Mt. Evans. It is a scenic drive and the views from the top are amazing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband has been my greatest supporter. He deserves so much credit for where I am today. Without his encouragement I would never have gotten back into the studio after having children and being a stay at home mom for so many years. My children are also a huge reason for me pursuing my dreams. I want them to see me doing something I love and knowing that they too can follow their dreams.