I recall it was a rainy day. I was four and using the enforced confinement as an opportunity to explore all the family books on the shelf in our living room. Next to what I came to know as a well-used Webster's Dictionary, I discovered a royal blue book with an Aladdin's lamp embossed in a circle on its front cover. It intrigued me and I remember wanting to have this symbol as my own. With crayons in hand I escaped into the no-time, no-thought realm of art, creating rubbings of this wondrous image in a rainbow of colors filling the two pages of paper I had been allowed. "You're quite the artist," my mother said. And basking in the glow, I agreed with her.
Four years later in our Sunday night ritual, my family gathered around our mid-century modern TV watching "Disney's Wonderful World of Color". That night Walt read quotes from Robert Henri’s book Art Spirit. Attuned to the show with absolute intensity, I watched as four Disney artists painted their own interpretation of the same venerable oak tree. I was enchanted. I think it was then I decided to be an artist.
Now, some fifty-four years later, having played the supporting role in my husband's fine art career and nurturing our two sons who are both professional fine artists and endeavoring to live my life artfully, I am finally reviving my own career.
I am choosing to do this not as Susie Anderson, but as Ziziwin, the name of my great-great grandmother, born in 1850 a hundred years before I was. She was called Susan at the reservation's Christian school and my mother named me for her. Family lore has it that Ziziwin's nickname was "little whirlwind". My grandfather, who grew up on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, registered me as a member of the Yankton tribe when I was young and early on I embraced my Sioux heritage. The five dots in my cartouche are the five generations of this line of my family.
As an art student, my work drew strongly upon the Native American culture. In the 70s before starting a family, I did illustrations for children’s books published in England. My most recent body of work speaks to another aspect of my heritage. I come from a long line of seamstresses on both sides of my family. Designing, hand stitching, sculpting and painting are fascinating to me as carrier waves for my viewpoints of life.
The dress sculptures are smaller than life-sized and speak to the aesthetics of the female form while, being empty, emphasizing the fact that we are not our physical bodies. We are instead who we envision in our own personal universe, which is to oneself inviolate and eternal.
Also on the site are collaborations I have done with my husband Ron Anderson on his 3D Paintings. He taught me the intricacies of his unique technique of sculpture, which has launched this latest aspect of my career. A new body of work in progress pays homage to the women in my history, celebrating their being, their lives and their contributions to this thankful descendant.
po box 50256.santa barbara.ca.93150