Sue Kreitzman: A Portrait of an Artist

Sue Kreitzman: A Portrait of an Artist

I dress for art. There is no division for me between life and art. Life is art, art is life. When I leave the house, I don’t want to leave it behind. So I wrap myself in it. I make my own clothes or I have artists make it for me.

Sue Kreitzman

was no doubt in mind as I approached Stories, the Hackney
café-bar located just off London Fields, that the colourful woman
loitering outside of our meeting spot was the subject of my
interview. In a time when older women are embraced and even
coveted, the New York-born Londoner of more than 30 years, Sue
Kreitzman, is a proud pioneer of what she calls the ‘old lady
revolution’. With her large red glasses, a wardrobe staple since
she was just 15 years old (she is now 75) the artist sits in front
of me, eager to share her stories.

“Nothing has been difficult because I just fell into it,” she
says to me over coffee. “What was going to happen was going to
happen…it just sort of happened organically.” Most would consider
Sue’s earlier work as an entire lifetime of achievements, but in
reality it was just her warm up. Her career path is one that is
nearly impossible to categorise and her proudest moments can not be
limited to a single fold.

Having spent her 20s as a teacher in the states, Sue went on to
develop a name for herself in the culinary world, publishing an
astounding 27 cookbooks as well as making frequent contributions to
newspapers, magazines and talk shows. It wasn’t until the mid 90s
that she discovered her calling in art. “I always knew that I was
very bad at art… I was told that in all my art classes at school
and I never even doodled. And then one day,” she recalls, “I picked
up a marker and I drew a mermaid and I got completely and utterly
obsessed with drawing. It was as if I had discovered this new
secret talent and I couldn’t get enough of it.”

I know what I like and I wear it and it changes because I’m always making new art and I’m always putting it on my body…that’s what it’s all about

For over a decade now Sue has experimented, developing a
reputation in London’s artistic community and beyond. She is a
constant embodiment of her energetic collages at home, in her
studio and, most notably, in her quirky style. More recently, Sue
has been asked to join a panel alongside Pandora Sykes, Kim Howells
and Davey Sutton to discuss the new documentary based on the life
of Iris Apfel.

Sue is the questionable doppleganger of Iris, and is frequently
mistaken for the 93-year-old gem, but is quick to correct the
common misconception: “We are similar with our over the top style
and we both have short silver hair but she’s much older than I am,
she’s much richer than I am, she’s much thinner than I am and she’s
not an artist. We are very, very different.”

Both women, despite their obvious differences, have acquired a
position on the ever-changing fashion scene and use their standing
to bring life and colour to the sea of little black dresses. Sue
Kreitzman has embraced the ‘old lady revolution’ with vigour as she
exposes the world to her unique outlook on life, fashion and, of
course, art.

“I don’t care about fashion, I don’t care about hemlines, I
don’t care what is in the high street,” she says. “I don’t care
that this colour is here, that colour is there. I know what I like
and I wear it and it changes because I’m always making new art and
I’m always putting it on my body…that’s what it’s all about.”

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