Susie Monte: Bold, Bright and Geometric
Melbourne-based geometric artist Susie Monte followed a winding path to get to where she is today. Art is the third career she has taken up. Previously, Susie worked in community development and graphic design. After she “realised that [graphic design] wasn’t quite doing it” for her, Susie began her studies in Fine Art at VCA in Melbourne.
While completing her studies, Susie started to take the first steps towards selling her works. She began by setting up stalls at local markets. After establishing connections with her first collectors here, Susie branched out to selling on Bluethumb. Since joining in 2017, Susie has sold 40 artworks and become a favourite with interior designers.
2018 marked the beginning of a year of change for Susie. With her art studies complete, she made the decision to commit full time to her art practice. The year began with a strong start, when Susie held her second solo exhibition at the Old Auction House in Kyneton. She’s kept the momentum up with other group shows throughout recent months.
Susie’s work is instantly recognisable by it’s geometric patterns and bright colours. She is grateful for her graphic design experience, as “having that design foundation helped in a way. With form and also with colour. Certain design principles did inform my work.”
Susie draws upon her nature-filled suburb for inspiration. Bright coloured flowers in various combinations surround her home, with a matching soundtrack of resident neighbourhood galahs and cockatoos. Being surrounded by nature has only grown her appreciation for it: “There’s just perfection in nature. There are all these harmonies in flowers that you see – just purples and yellows together. It’s this beautiful contrast.”
Colour is extremely important to Susie’s work: “I largely love bold colours, but then I like playing with pastel colours at times.” The colour palette of each piece is linked to Susie’s mood at the time of painting it. While discussing work from earlier this year, she laughs and says “I think I went through a pink phase.” Her frequent use of bright colours reflect her desire to bring positivity into people’s lives. Susie says: “I want to spread hope and good energy.”
Susie’s style of work is geometric abstraction, which grew from many historical art movements, including Cubism. “It’s a really flexible style. There’s an infinite number of colours in the spectrum and then just playing with form allows me to be really playful. But in a slightly controlled fashion.” However, Susie is playing with abstract expressionism in more recent work. Experimenting in such a different style is a radical choice. “It’s an entirely different process” says Susie.
Susie finds happiness in the process of creating her geometric works: “When I’m in the concept stage, I have no idea how they’re going to turn out. The joy of creating them is just not knowing.” Often, she tries to strike a balance between two contradictory reactions to her work. Susie aims to both calm and energise people. It can be tricky perfecting the equilibrium.
In the coming months, Susie hopes to experiment with work on much larger canvases. Currently, her work averages 1m in size, but she hopes to try canvases as big as 3m. In her words, “the bigger the better!”