After a very busy holiday season we are back with our interview series on how animals inspire art.
This week’s featured artist, Susan Altenau, comes to us from Cincinnati, OH. Her passion is to create decorative and functional pottery. Her Etsy shop is filled with brightly colored decorative animal works, ranging from coffee mugs, to pet urns, olive oil dispensers, casserole dishes and tiles. She also creates amazing pet portraits on pottery. Have a look then let us know your favorite piece below in the comments.
I graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and so have been drawing and painting 30 plus years, but the pottery, probably for the last 25 years-give or take.
I fell into doing animals, both graphic and more detailed illustrations by accident. It started with another pottery studio I worked for and the proprietor asking me if I could draw some simple cats on a plate. That was 10 years ago and I've definitely stepped up my game. I do love my more detailed portraits. There is something peaceful about taking the time they require, just settling into the process. The challenge is that I'm doing this with glaze, which you can't see fully until it's fired. Sometimes because of this, I end up firing a piece twice if the glaze isn't thick enough or I don't think it looks exactly right. I've improved in my application, but there is a surprise every time you open that kiln.
I love a lot of my cat portraits too. This one with it's graphic markings.
Easy, a cat, they do what they want, know they'll be taken care of and sleep and lay in the sun most of the day. Is my exhaustion from the intense holiday season showing?
Babe is a good movie. I love books that have dogs as a pet in the story, not a character - like "Watership Down", although I do remember loving that book; just as a part of the story.
Well now, I'm an artist, visually stimulated and motivated, so, my favorites are illustrators. Love Arthur Rackham, darkly beautiful renderings. Love Beatrix Potter's drawings and love the sweetness of Makoto Muramatsu's cats.
I get a lot of requests from shelters and rescues all over the country and locally. I make and ship pottery for them to auction off.
Companion, loyalty, and unconditional love - pretty much what anyone who loves their pets would say about them.
You can find more of Susan's work at her Etsy Shop.
Follow her on Instagram: susan.altenau.pottery
Visit her on Facebook