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London, Paris, Dunedin ... the world — Suzy Platt’s wide-eyed girls are going global. The Dunedin artist, who has garnered international attention in recent months, talks about her art, Kate Moss and re-igniting her passion for fashion.
Q - Did you always paint or did you dabble in another art form first?
A - I have painted for as long as I can remember. Art was the one thing I loved to do at school and the one class I never bunked. I love the medium of paint because there's such an amazing joy for me to manipulate colour and form with it. I guess I'm obsessed and infatuated by colour.
I went to art school for a while, but got frustrated by having to paint a certain way. Art school, to me, was too constricting. When I look back now, I'm glad that I did drop out.
Q - When and how did you discover your artistic style?
A - I wouldn't know how to describe my style. I find that a strange question. Perhaps it is easier for someone looking from the outside to describe my style or any meaning in it. To me, it's just like breathing; it's just what I do and I don't think too much about it.
Q - What drives you to keep creating?
A - Painting is like a meditation to me; it's my time to do what I love and just get lost in it. When I'm painting and listening to Nirvana I feel so lucky, because I'm doing what I absolutely loved doing when I was at school. What drives me, is the fact that I love it and I honestly would be miserable in a regular job.
Q - What is an average day like, in the life of artist Suzy Platt?
A - I work from home in a studio off the house that my amazing husband built for me. It's all white with polished floorboards and the sun streams through the French doors in the morning. I love it. I work at least five days a week from 9am to 3pm, and usually don't stop.
If I need a break I usually go for a run. It's nice to be out in nature and away from the studio. I have to make myself do something different sometimes to break away as I can get a little obsessed with a painting and need to get out of it for a while. But I love painting and would go loopy if I didn't do it, even for a day.
Q - How did the work with leading fashion model Kate Moss come about?
A - The Kate Moss connection came about after I was contacted late last year by renowned British fashion photographer Nick Knight. Nick directed Lady Gaga's Born This Way video among others, such as Kanye West's Bound 2.
He also photographed the Queen last year for her 90th birthday official photo. He asked me to illustrate Paris Fashion Week women's haute couture shows in February. Of course I jumped at that amazing opportunity and absolutely loved it.
A month or so later, I was asked by him to contribute a painting of Kate Moss to a retrospective exhibition covering Kate's iconic images through her career.
I chose Kate in the Blumarine show of 1992. I was attracted to that particular image because it resonated with the flower garland girls I am always going back to.
The painting is on show at Knight's SHOWstudio gallery in London. Kate Moss attended the opening and I was told by Nick that she loved my painting. It has sold which is such a massive buzz for me.
Q - What has that experience meant for you and your work?
A - It has been an amazing time and it has really reignited my love of fashion. I studied fashion design after leaving school and if I wasn't an artist now fashion would definitely be my second career choice.
I have had a few inquiries from overseas since the Kate Moss thing. I can't say much at the moment, but it looks like I'll be busy in the next six months. [The Otago Daily Times understands Platt has received commissions from actors and models wanting her to paint their images.]
Q - What is the idea behind the upcoming Gallery De Novo exhibition?
A - The De Novo exhibition is really just a natural progression from the Paris fashion gig. I called the show ''MUSE'' because that really encompasses what this whole experience has been to me.
It has been a massive impetus of inspiration and reigniting of my passion for the theatricality and escapism of the fashion world. I will definitely be working with SHOWstudio and Nick Knight in the future and am looking to head overseas for a stint at the end of this year. Who knows where it will end up, but my aim is high.
‘‘MUSE’’, an exhibition of fashion illustrations by Suzy Platt, Gallery De Novo, 101 Stuart St, Dunedin, from March 17.