Bright. Bold. Colorful. Artist Susan Champeny creates public art that inspires a sense of wonder and surprise. With three large-scale works located right here in Worcester, and her recycled sculptures installed as far away as California and Hawaii, her art is everywhere. Her practice is based on three principles: create, have fun, and travel. All of which can be experienced in how she works, how she teaches, and her natural ability for guiding community participation, and group art-building projects.
Here, she takes a moment from her busy schedule of art and travel, to share her story, her process, and where you can see her work, as part of The 12 Days of an ARTful Holiday series.
Can you share with us a bit about your work and how you got started?
“I have been drawing, painting, and making odd sculptures all of my life. Currently, I create murals with spray paint and latex house paint that use brilliant color and simple outline masks, to make playful images of anything from kids jumping off a diving board, to astronauts dancing on the moon. I also create public art sculptures and installations, usually out of recycled materials, and also using a brilliant color palette. I did three large, temporary art installations this Summer, which were part of my Rainbow Plastique series. They were in Worcester and Oxford Massachusetts, and Atlanta Georgia.
I got started in our town dump, where my dad would allow us kids to take anything mechanical or electronic home to tinker with. I got a terrific education at Wellesley College and the Massachusetts College of Art, and ended up working as a graphic designer, and magazine art director for 22 years. By the end of that time I had saved up enough to start my own fine art studio business, which I launched in 2006. My business plan was to paint in the morning, visit clients in the afternoon, and do email/internet marketing at night. That plan was blown away by my first public art commission in 2007 — the Worcester Wayfinding Mosaic — which I did for the Worcester Cultural Commission and the City of Worcester. I was hooked! I love doing artwork in the public art venue. It is never the same twice.”
Where can people see, purchase, or commission a piece of your work?
“I am fortunate to have three large-scale artworks as part of permanent collections in the City of Worcester. They are all in areas open to the public, so please stop by and see them. They are:
- Worcester Wayfinding Mosaic (2007), located at the point of the little park (Federal Park) in front of the Hanover Theatre and the Federal Court House building.
- The Welcome Mural (2008), 2010, 2011), which is in the lobby of the Edward Kennedy Community Center on Tacoma Street.
- Aim High – Above the Tree Tops, spray painted mural (2014), in the entry of the Sheehan Residence Hall at Worcester State University.
I have a website http://susanchampenyartist.com/index.html which covers work I’ve created from 2007-2015.
I LOVE talking to people, so if you want to commission a mural or odd sculpture, or just see more artwork, please email me at [email protected] or call me directly at 508-320-7528.”
The 12 Days of an ARTful Holiday features local artists, crafters, and makers who work and/or live in Worcester, for 12 consecutive days of the holiday season. By letting them share their work in their own words, I am hoping readers will recognize the incredibly talented community of creatives we have here in our city, and consider their pieces and classes as a thoughtful, hand crafted, local option for gift giving this season.