Susan is a native Long Islander (which is immediately apparent upon meeting her) who emigrated to South Florida about 15 years ago. She is married to a very tolerant and supportive husband with two grown (and married!) children who grew up with a geek for a mother. She is a freelance digital artist and instructor who draws from a diverse background of psychology (B.A.), business, (management) art and technology (teaching at Briarcliffe College in NY, Palm Beach State College and many private students).

Having never been a person with merely one goal, one purpose, she has traveled a multifaceted educational and vocational road including degrees in Psychology and Graphic Design. She has eleven years of experience as a retail manager, moving on to freelance graphic design and then teaching photo imaging and design since 2001. Her work and teaching demonstrate that art and technology are not antagonistic, but can coexist and should be used to enhance each other in new and exciting ways. Her digital work blurs the borders between photography, painting, and digital illustration to achieve her artistic vision.

She is primarily a visual person, and is always stewing a cauldron of images and ideas which have yet to take form. Sometimes these images, like demons, will bubble around in the stew for a while, only to tantalizingly submerge themselves and resurface again when something jogs the memory. Often these ideas take on a flesh and consciousness of their own and resurface, demanding release from her.

What she does is not really traditional photography, but “Photo Imaging” in which she uses enhanced techniques such as layering, masking and digital “hand painting”. Although it originates with computer hardware and software (primarily Photoshop), her work is not the result of anything routine, and is developed from her original photography and illustration. There is no “formula” or automatic process; no two pieces are done in exactly the same way. Her digital work has been displayed in many local exhibits including solo shows, and won several awards through such groups as Artists of Palm Beach County, Lighthouse Art Center and Wellington Art Society.

In her recent collage pieces, she creates composites of several photos, and sometimes vector illustrations as well. She often begins with the human form and then relates it to elements in the natural world, such as water, plant life, or landscapes. The viewer’s eye is drawn around the piece to discover both the individual elements and how they coalesce to form the whole.

Although her formal training is in graphic design, she finds herself being drawn back to more non-digital media, most recently watercolor, pastels and inks. There is a tactile immediacy in them not present in digital art. The computer is only a tool, much like a pencil, paints or clay. The underlying artistic principles remain constant.

Find Susan's  natural media work here: www.suoakesart.com

and design work here: www.suoakesdesign.com