When Art and Fashion Collide: Suzan Pitt & the Painted Coat

She's an accomplished filmmaker, artist and designer. When I first saw the surreal meets graffiti meets pop-wearable masterpieces by Suzan Pitt it was during my recap of the House of Byfield runway show for Art Hearts Fashion, NYFW. They caught my eye and I was captivated. Next, Suzan was reaching out to me and sharing her incredible body of work. Suzan has received international acclaim, having exhibited at the Whitney Museum and MoMA. Most recently, of course, at fashion week. The coats are original works of art - expressive thoughts, ideas and statements from a talented artist who truly lives her life with an artful purpose. I had the opportunity to ask Suzan a few questions about her coats and her vision... see below.

How did you come up with painting on coats? 

In 1984 I had the idea to paint images on coats for a sale called the Amore store in New York.  The Amore Store was and is a project by the artist collective COLAB- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colab

The coats all sold and following this I began to sell these through Patricia Field Store in NY- after making about 50 coats I left this project to begin my film JOY STREET.  Then in 2015 I began again to make painted coats and these were featured recently in the NYFW show on the runway in collaboration with House of Byfield.

The coats will again be presented in a new COLAB Amore store at Printed Matter in New York to open on April 15, 2016

Talk about your ideas.

I think of them as animated objects which can move about in the world- walking in the street, sitting at a bar, coming through a doorway, emerging from a car... Each coat is like no other- they are one of a kind artworks you can wear or hang on the wall. I'm inspired by images from popular culture (comics, advertising, historical paintings, trash and lettering found everywhere) and images from my films and watercolors. I love to juxtapose multiple images to create a chain of association to the viewer, much like my paintings but simpler- and I hope a coat will make someone happy- that the positive energy from the coat will surround the wearer and surprise those who see it.

How long does it take to create a coat?

It depends on the coat but about 3-4 days.

Your coats are art. Has anyone purchased them to hang on their walls?

I do hope if someone buys a coat they will hang it on the wall to enjoy as an artwork. 

What's in your future?

I am buzzing with a lot of ideas for the future.  I would like to manufacture a really good quality printed coat in a limited edition.  I am planning an edition of fine art prints of my coat designs and paintings by the German print publisher Michael Domberger.  And a new collection of my designs for the Gooey company phone covers which is coming out soon.

One of the things I have always enjoyed about making films is the dispersion of ideas to a large audience, bypassing the sometimes elitist art world- so that my moving pictures spread out into the world animating my visions and ideas- the coats too move about and are animated by a living person!

The future?  I want to continue always to make new artworks in interesting forms...I created last summer a 17' mural for a show in Michigan of the plants and trees and lifeforms of the upper peninsula of Michigan...I really like working on very large canvases and would  like to do more...

*For more information on the art of Suzan Pitt, visit suzanpitt.blogspot.com. To contact Suzan: suzanpitt@earthlink.net You can also find Suzan's coats at Patricia Field