When the digital age took a toll on the livelihood of many artists, Susie Muise used the opportunity to remember who she was, picked up a paintbrush and told the world to watch out.
Muise views artistic expression and self-discovery as going hand in hand: “As an artist, you can acquire a skill, but the real magic takes courage. Art is an act of courage — expressing your vulnerability, who you really are. We’re all longing for people to be authentic and vulnerable. I seek to achieve that through my art. The more personal growth I achieve, the better artist I become.”
As a young California girl in her 20s, Muise moved to Utah to pursue a degree in fashion design at Brigham Young University. Soon after, she decided to switch to interior design, another one of her passions. It was at this time that she learned she was particularly good at illustrating and renderings. After graduating from BYU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Muise started painting murals, hand lettering and painting furniture.
In addition to her talent and skill, along with her location in Montecito, she found networking to be very valuable and started apprenticing with a French woman who connected her to many commissions from celebrities. Pricilla Presley requested a flower-adorned armoire. Stephen Covey, a nursery depicting nursery rhymes. Muise created beautiful fantasies for all of her clients, using only brushes and acrylic paint.
By the time she reached her 30s, Muise’s work could be found at every stationary, scrapbook store, copy shop and magazine in the country. She had married and moved to Atlanta, where she fell in love with the Southern aesthetic and watercolor painting as well. She put an ad in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles for murals and furniture painting, but instead of commissions for those, she received several commissions for wedding invitations and stationery. It didn’t take long for that to take off. With requests for her beautiful watercolor designs for wallpaper, fabric, books and more, she was pursued by a leading agency.
As the world moved into the digital age, Muise’s industry took a hit. However, Muise only saw it as another fork in the road and was excited for where yet another new journey would take her. She experienced an “Ah ha!” moment when she realized she had lost touch with her original dream.
“As a child, I had always dreamed of painting on canvas, of being a fine artist. That moment allowed me to reconnect with that dream,” she said
As Muise started oil painting classes, she felt invigorated, and it was the most exciting time in her life, she said. Now, with years of classes from Carlos Grasso, David Gallup, Johanna Spinks, Millie Greene and Priscilla Fossek, she is emerging to be one of the area’s finest still-life painters.
“I’m enamored with still life and florals,” she said. “Color and pattern, beautiful interiors, fashion, fabrics, Southern sensibility, they all inspire me and sneak their way into my pieces.”
She is also enamored with her newest journey.
“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Don’t die with the music still inside of you,’” she said. “I still have so much more music inside of me and the best is yet to come.”