How it all Began:
I was born in San Francisco California to highly intelligent parents. My sister was pretty darn bright too. It's unclear whether I inherited the smarty-pants genes, which is probably why I discovered humor could cover up quite a few childhood insecurities and possibly ADD-(do most artists have this?)–that followed me into adulthood. Besides humor, drawing and writing came easy to me, and so humor and art and the written word were something I could rely on to deal with flagging self-esteem. I earned a B.A. in studio art, but after graduation I spent a long time in day-jobs so I could do my coveted illustration work part-time. Unfortunately my college education didn't include business courses and I had no access to helpful connections or mentors to navigate the freelance market as successfully as others. I was also single, longer than most, so no-one to share bill-paying expenses with. I wished fervently I could work in my own studio full-time like all the other freelance peeps. But this time of my life was checkered with all kinds of survival jobs instead. I sold humorous gag lines to greeting card companies (man, are they picky) worked for corporate graphic departments. publishing houses singly or in combo as an illustrator, production artist and graphic artist. It seemed the more I created for them, the less in touch with my own creative self was I. Oh, and I temped, waitered, taught art to kids, and occasionally modeled for successful illustrators too. I was all over the map, but still trapped in that hamster wheel too.
After marrying my wise husband Mike in 2K, I finally got off the merry-go-round, quit the freelance market, got a better-paying left-brained day-job and eventually heard about a place called ETSY. The internet was exploding into a huge opportunity for wayward creatives like me who needed to stay–no! HAVE TO STAY–connected with our creative side. In fact, Etsy rescued me from an increasingly mundane mass-market mentality: "Harry Potter is hot Suzanne, draw some wizards!"–( I mean who hires these people?). By 2008 I applied my writing skills to generating funny lines-(I love to wordsmith as much as I love to draw) and put them on magnets and pinbacks and toss them in my ETSY shop: SmirkingGoddess. I also, placed them in some local Connecticut boutiques and cafés and they flew off the shelves and still do. Due to the day job, I opted to take weekends to develop a more authentic, witty, illustrative style-one reminiscent of my middle-school notebook doodles and place this work in a second ETSY shop: SuzanneUrban. As this style continued to evolve I attracted an exciting freelance assignment and patrons who get where I coming from. My work can be seen on Walnut Beach Creamery Gourmet Ice Cream labels.
Due to the day job I mainly focused on my funny magnets and pinback products. But after a move in 2011 two hours from said day-job I opted to leave it in 2014. Folks, I'm now working full-time from my own studio. I am grateful.
What Inspires Me:
So, I've learned experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. My varied, quirky, struggling-career path may have not been my dream, but because of this I met with all kinds of interesting people, added more to my skillset, and observed a whole lotta stuff in all kinds of work environments. Thus my unique past, influences to this day how I express myself and connect with people through my witty illustrations and written word. Best of all I've made some good friends, and had some fun and this is helping me to move creatively forward. I believe my customers and patrons exist because my work either relates to them in some personal way and makes them smile.
Since, I received inquiries from brick and mortar shops I now offer my collection of magnets and pinbacks to more Indie Gift Shops, boutiques and bookstores, as one customer stated: "Your magnets are a hit with my customers!". For wholesale inquiries please fill out the wholesale form-and I will get back to you asap:
I'm a proud member of NutmegCollective a curated group of Connecticut-based ETSY artists, artisans, and vintage curators.
I reside in an antique home (circa 1664) in the oldest settlement in Connecticut with my husband Mike who recently opened a museum for Vintage Hi-Fi in West Hartford, CT ( I designed the logo): www.vintagehifi.org and our Malti-poo, Pieper and Jessica Fletcher, a calico kitty.