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Susana Arias

Arias Art Studios

Santa Cruz, California


Email: susanaariasarts@gmail.com

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Studio Description:

Susana Arias was born in Panama City, Panama. She lives in Santa Cruz, California where she is a sculptor and painter. Honors and awards include: 2013 Artist of the Year by the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission, 2012 Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association, Monterey Bay Chapter for the Beach Area roundabout at Depot Park in Santa Cruz, 1997 Environs Enhancement Award by the California Transportation Commission for “Finding our Past,” a public art sculpture on the Bay Ave./Porter St. underpass in Santa Cruz. The California Archaeological Society also honored “Finding our Past” for Artistic Achievement and Advancement of Archaeological Awareness. In 1987, Susana was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for her sculpture series “Earthworks”. Arias’ sculptures are in permanent museum and public collections in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Latin America.


Susana’s new series of sculptures “Sailmaker” are large anagama and soda fired ceramics. They are representations of people going through passages in life. Abstracted, cocooned people traveling in vessels, the sculptures are about our secrets, the things we have within us, unseen, unheard.


“My new series, Sailmaker, started with a sentence I read in a book. The author describes the sail maker as the man who, when a ship is at sea and a person dies, sews the body in his hammock. If the author had used any word but hammock I might have passed over the sentence, but the mention of such a beautiful form gave me an immediate visual image that I just had to explore. I envisioned the weight of a body in a hammock, a shoulder or a knee pressed against the fabric, a foot showing. I thought of the wrapping, of the sewing. Because the reference came from a sea related fact, I decided the elements of the composition for my new sculptures were to be three: the shape of the body in a hammock, a vessel, and round ball shapes to break up the space. The balls are a reference to water, to the floats of fishing nets. I made many parts: boats, bodies, balls and more balls. While working with the different parts, putting sculptures this way and that, resolving the composition, the concept became clear. As I was placing two bodies next to each other, they appeared to be whispering to each other. This is the best moment in the process of creating, the moment when the work starts talking to you and you know the reason for this to be. The series has become about passages. It is about a passage through life, an experience, a moment of importance, a quiet moment. It is about whispers and secrets. It is about the things that weigh us down and the things that elate us.”