Artist Spotlight + Inside the Artist Studio of Holly Sudduth

Describe yourself in one word. “Resilient.”

I had a chance to catch up with Holly Sudduth on the day of her opening at BRAND art gallery. We gabbed about her dog, pros and cons of social media, and the feelings of intimidation that come with the myth of needing formal training to be “good” at something. Nature is a recurring theme in her collection, a stark contrast to her studio environment, and many pieces are hand cut from metal reclaimed from scrap yards. Who taught her how to make all of this? She did. Keep reading and get to know Holly Sudduth, a self-taught New Orleans sculpture artist with a desire to play with fire.

 

Holly Sudduth using a plasma torch to cut steel.

I was raised in Colorado by parents who instilled an honest work ethic and compassion for others…offset by a big brother who made sure I knew how to punch, make a proper fire, and apologize when I broke stuff. Somewhere along the line I discovered my hands could make things and I’ve been doing all I can to earn a living that way ever since.” – Holly Sudduth

What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work? “Feeling that my work is contributing in some way to the collective whisper of this city, I love that idea. I am influenced everyday when I see the force of nature compelling itself up concrete walls and from under pavement, like extremely slow chaos. I am influenced by the glitter in the mud and the beads mashed into the cracks in the sidewalks. And the constant movement under my feet. And the music all around me. And the smell of smoke from McClures BBQ pit at 6am. And by countless little moments I may never be aware of, but work magic on me with out a doubt.”

Where do you draw inspiration? “I think inspiration rather creeps up and pounces when Im busy peeking through windows and checking in closets for it. It often surprises me from out of nowhere.”

Left: A sketch on steel cut with a plasma torch. Top to Bottom: 1. The steel is rusted and aged for texture and depth. 2. Base paint is aded to seal the rust.  3. The final piece is added to its aluminum back piece, and detailed color work begins.

Who are your artistic influences or gurus? “Forever Calder and Bourgeois. The work of self taught artists Miss Clementine Hunter and Reverend Howard Finster come to mind a lot. They helped me understand that formal training is not required to create work that is valued.”

What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
“I have all the tools I need to survive a zombie apocalypse.”

“The Southern Magnolia is Louisiana’s State flower. Every year around April the trees we love so much for year-round shade offer up the most magnificent creamy blossoms that fill the streets with the most delicate fragrance. They are a true harbinger of spring in New Orleans, and I am enchanted with them from first bloom to the fall of last rusted petal. Each piece is hand cut and mounted in an oak frame.” ‘Miss May’ is on view as part of ‘Urbanism & Eccentricities’ Part One @ The Old No. 77 Hotel

Explore Holly’s Artist Profile to see the rest of her collection and read the full Q&A session!