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Susan Murtaugh   


Susan Murtaugh - 芝加哥 - 插畫師

Susan Murtaugh  - Chicago - Illustrator

Your story

I was born in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois in 1950. I attended local grammar school and high school. My parents sang in choral groups and enjoyed music but they were not artistic. They did not have any background or knowledge of visual art. Fortunately I got a lot of inspiration, encouragement and support from my art teachers. I was also very much involved in music when I was young. At some point in high school I made the subconscious decision to pursue art as a way of making a living while keeping music as a passionate interest. With the help of my teachers I received a scholarship to an art college in Chicago in spite of my parents total lack of understanding. They didn’t know  that I was not going to be a starving artist but was getting a degree in graphic design and illustration so I could get a good job. I did about everything a commercial artist can do. I did package design, magazine art direction, advertising agency creative direction, print ads, TV ads, early web design and I had a successful graphic design firm. I did some work I’m proud of and I enjoyed it all. And all that time I was listening to music and drawing for my own pleasure. So when my husband decided to close his advertising agency and do his own thing, I closed my design firm and joined him. Now I spend all my time listening to music and drawing.

What does art and design means to you?

ART is of itself. It exists for and because of the artist. How it is received by the rest of us is incidental to its creation. The cave was a convenient place to get out of the rain for our ancient ancestors. The wall paintings made that cave far more than a simple refuge. Art is what separates humans from the other beasts that live in that cave.

DESIGN uses the tools and techniques of art to alter and, hopefully, improve the environment we inhabit.
Design has a function. Art doesn’t care about function.

How would you define your personal style?

It’s my style. It’s no one else’s style. It’s mine. Just mine. You can’t have it.


你的創作過程是怎樣的?你通常會用甚麼工具及材料?What is the process of your work? What kind of materials do you use?

First, materials. I’ve never carved in stone. I’ve never welded anything. But I think I’ve used everything else. I’ve carved in wood. I’ve stuck things together with epoxy. I’ve painted in oils and acrylics. I’ve drawn with pastels, colored pencils, charcoal, Magic Markers and pencils by the thousands. I love art materials. I haven’t used them in years. I’m an Apple evangelist. I was a studio artist, now I’m an anywhere artist. Right now, today, I’m currently using the Latest iPad Air and iPhone 5S. This may change in detail but not in substance. I’m set for life. Process. I sit down and start to draw. I have all my tools, all the time. My favorite app to make art is SketchBook Pro I use and “mash” with other apps as well. 

How do you get your inspiration?

I’ve done this for so long that everything is “inspiring”. The fun is in technique or in capturing and interpreting a particular moment. A dog, a kid, a car, a carnival, a cantaloupe, a camel. Bring them on.


What are your most critical challenges in your work?

In my case, I am the only critic that counts. I know the level I expect to achieve. Of course I want people to appreciate my work but it’s not necessary. It doesn’t influence me. I’m working for myself. It’s art, it’s not commerce.

What are some of your goals?

I want to keep doing what I’m doing...keep learning..keep experimenting...keep seeking out what other artists are doing...keep on...


What s your dream?

I’m not a kid. The dreams I had when I was younger have either come true or proven to be not worth the dream time. My dreams are more personal - family, friends. I’m a competitive person and I was in a very competitive business and that took up a lot of dream time over the years. There’s something I don’t miss. When I do get a “work” dream it’s along the lines of why can’t I get that hand right, or that expression. Nothing about “dreams come true”.

What is your motto in your work and life?

“You can do it better”