My meeting with Suzanne Postel came out of my curiosity to find out who the artist was of a rather imposing mural covering the entire side of a building contractor’s office, along the Korreweg in Groningen. Having cycled past many times in my daily travels, finally one day I jammed on the brakes and went inside to enquire.
I met Suzanne at her studio along the Eendrachtskade, which is spacious enough to serve as both work and exhibition space. The studio is filled with marvelous paintings at every turn and the area in the back, where we sat and drank coffee, has a wall that is a collage of small paintings, images, and photos of friends and family. I asked her how it came about that one of her murals was on the side of a building contractor’s office. She told me that living nearby meant that everyday she had looked out upon the building and a set of filled in windows that had been painted a rather unimaginative white. This made her fingers itch to do something about it, so much so that she approached them and offered to paint the offending building with a mural. The result is a set of very impressive classically robed women, each standing in a niche bearing a tool or implement relevant to the building trade.
Although always an artist at heart, after her student days and completion of her studies at the art school Minerva in Groningen, she decided to leave Holland for France. Here she lived for a period of ten years where she helped in setting up and running a naturist camping resort with her parents. France was an exciting and challenging period in her life, but she missed painting and the Dutch culture and returned to Groningen in 1999. In her own words: ‘I wanted to cycle across the market place with my children and buy sugar waffles’. Once back in Groningen she set up a studio and has established herself as a muralist and portraitist.
Before starting a piece of work, she does a lot of sketching, takes photographs (in the case of a commissioned portrait) and adds to a scrapbook. A book full of ideas this scrapbook is filled with images, material samples, and text, often poignant lines from poems. A particular favourite is the poet Jean Pierre Rawie. From this process arises a series of puzzle pieces that when put together become the basis design for a mural or portrait. Then turning to canvas or masomite (a specially treated art board) the initial idea is laid down very quickly as an acrylic base. After that she will work further on the idea in oils until its logical conclusion is reached and she is happy with it.
Other strong influences in her work can be seen to come from paintings from the Renaissance and Impressionist movements and from the world of dreams. According to the Chinese one should live out ones dreams in order to move on. One particular dream that she has turned into a painting is a self-portrait of herself, angry and with a dripping paintbrush in her mouth. What it means she is not sure, but it needed to be painted.
With regular commissions and exhibitions, as well as doing all her own public relations, and giving painting lessons to students with an age range of twenty to sixty. Suzanne is not only able to follow her passion but has been able to make it into a successful business.
The opening of her current exhibition entitled ‘De Hoge Lucht’ (The Light from Above), took place on 24 June 2007, and was opened by Jacque D’Ancona (a renown Dutch journalist, amongst other things). For more information about Suzanne Postel visit her website here .