Elizabeth Sutton, “Liz” is a kick-ass artist, mom, philanthropist and designer (among more roles than either you or I have time to jot down.) She could have easily given me generic answers that she may have thought I would have been pleased to hear, but instead she CHOSE (keyword: chose) to share her truth. She’s a hard working individual who works relentlessly in order to provide for her children, build a lasting empire and she’s also doing her part to make sure she leaves this world in much better shape than when she found it.
In this current phase of Feminism, we like to portray this “I have it all figured out” type of facade. The reality is that most of us don’t have our life figured out. I have days where I would give anything to simply avoid any and all adult responsibilities. While I’m a strong supporter in #girlpower, we unknowingly give our own female race unachievable and unrealistic expectations. We place such a huge burden on ourselves and it’s all quite unnecessary if we simply took the time to be honest with ourselves but more importantly with each other.
She candidly shares her strong desire for more free-time. To be able to cook and see her friends more often. Her guilt in working so hard that she ends up spending time away from her kids. Or how ironic it is that she’s a Pilates instructor, yet has zero time to work out. Liz represents the thousands of women, women just like you and I that spend our entire lives striving for more with the belief that anything is possible.
A true representation of a modern-day renaissance woman, Liz is the epitome of #goals!
- Visual artist
- She dreams of becoming the next Jonathan Adler…google him. (Thank me later)
- Best known for her Icons and signature 3D glitter butterflies. These butterflies are one of a kind! See below for photos.
- Social Media guru, she makes it work FOR her and not the other way around. See for yourself @elizabethsuttoncollection
- During the 2017 Architectural Digest Design Show, she was named “One of the most exiting female makers” by DesignMilk
- Featured in Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing”
- Her work can be seen at: Sushi of Gari restaurant, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales! (coming soon)
- Hosted an event in honor of Art Start, a charity that provides art programs for kids in NYC shelters.
- Pop-Up Gallery in Wynwood during Art Basel 2017
Meet The Artist
How do you balance being a (newly single) mother, an artist, a business woman and philanthropist?
This is the most common question I am asked, and I usually give the same answer. But I just realized something new this moment so you are getting fresh material. When I first began working, I went to a charity luncheon catered to women in business and the keynote speaker, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine, said something that stuck with me to this day:
“What is this concept of ‘balance’ people always speak of? There is no such thing as balance for working moms. One day, your work will require more of your attention, and one day your kids will require more attention.”
Being a single working mom is an even bigger challenge. I struggle with guilt over working as much as I do, as I have a big financial responsibility, but I also have big dreams. I think life is about priorities – balancing and time management can be tricky things, but as long as you are doing everything for the right reasons, and you know you are doing your best, you need to give yourself credit. At the end of the day, everything I do is for my kids, so if I need to spend time away from them to provide, they will understand it one day. I am leading by example and teaching them to work hard and most things in life don’t come easy. Regarding philanthropy and having some type of ‘me’ time, I try and incorporate those needs of mine in my work.
Giving back is extremely important to me and it will always be part of my business plan. I must admit, the ‘me’ time is one I have not yet completely figured out – I miss cooking, entertaining, exercising, shopping – but I am currently working on some things for my business that will allow me to incorporate those aspects back into my life, from both a time and monetary perspective. What I just realized in this moment is that the impact that woman’s remarks had on me are what led to a serendipitous meeting and conversation with a contact and mentor I now consider my most important to date, Bari Lynn of Bari Lynn Accessories. She is the biggest Girl Boss I know. Together we are working on launching my biggest initiative to date. I’d love to hear her answer to this question too! Crazy how life works. And last but not least, I function on very little sleep.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you were 20 that you know now?
I hate to say this in a public forum because I loved my husband, I love my children, I have no regrets, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if I am honest: my biggest advice these days is don’t get married too young. I was married at 21 and I think that is a lot of what led to its dissolution. I come from a community where getting married young is not only the norm, but it is strongly encouraged. At the time, I did not fully know who I was or what I wanted out of life. I thought I knew – and for a 21 year old I was very mature – but I was still 21. Your mid 20s are very influential and significant years of your life from a development standpoint – after college, a time when you are supposed to go into the world and fully financially fend for yourself for the first time. This pressure kind of forces you to learn who you are as a person and decide where you want to go in life. Personally, I didn’t have career goals at that age. My goal was to get married, and I think that’s pretty ridiculous, looking back. I didn’t work in the beginning of my marriage because I got comfortable in my financial situation. I was always a straight A student, and I always kept busy and did kind things when I wasn’t working, but I was always missing ‘something’. Now I’ve joined the workforce and I find it extremely fulfilling. It’s kind of like I am 22 again, new to the work force and figuring it out as I go, and I think I’m doing a pretty good job, but it also feels like I’m 35 at the same time – 2 kids and a divorce under my belt, so it averages out to 27, my actual age. Life is definitely scary at times, but I’m up for the challenge and excited for the future.
What inspired your iconic pop art? (the distinct use in colors is very playful and millennial…what sparked the interest?)
I have always been an aesthetic person and I’ve always loved color – I was never that girl in all black, regardless of being a New Yorker. These days I like to think of myself as a designer and artist.
“I choose to create very colorful works because, for me, color is intrinsically vibrant and represents happiness.”
I started working when I was searching for happiness in my life and so I gravitated towards color within my artwork. I think my sense of color balance is one of my strengths, but my goal with my work is to spread happiness. That doesn’t mean I am opposed to working with shades if I have a client that comes to me and says they love my art but they don’t love color. If that’s what makes my clients happy, it will make me happy. But like I said, since color makes me happy personally, and I am on a personal journey for happiness, I choose to let my brain think in color. And I’ve been exposed to all types of art from a very young age growing up in NYC. I’ve always gravitated towards pop art and impressionism (Monet is my favorite artist). However, since I use my art to decorate spaces and my personal predilection for interior design is more modern, impressionist art doesn’t quite fit the décor of the spaces I envision my artworks going into. That is how I got into colorful pop art.
Do you have any advice for individuals who love art but don’t necessarily have the financial means to pay for a commissioned piece? What are some good alternatives?
This is a tough question for me because there is nothing like an original piece of art and I’m sure I am biased as a painter. But fortunately, there are close seconds. First, there are many companies that make beautiful art prints that are way more affordable. Oliver Gal is one of my favorites, and there are tons of websites that sell art prints. Society6 aggregates a lot of artists and puts their works on products and prints for decorative purposes. Two, you can find other ‘décor’ solutions to replace original art such as mirrors, photo walls, shelves for ornaments, or even get creative with how you paint your own wall and invest time in an artistic DIY project. You can find so many ideas on Pinterest, and soon on Hustle Chic, a platform I will be launching * wink wink *. And lastly, many artists run their own print and silkscreen editions to broaden their clientele. I will do that one day I’m sure, but for now, I am trying to make my art more ‘mass market’ and affordable by putting it on my own product line and allowing admirers and followers to incorporate my designs into their homes that way.
Favorite thing to do when you’re not being supermom?
If I had free time, I would get back to hitting the gym – I absolutely love boxing, and I’m a certified Pilates instructor – I like to cook and play hostess to dinner parties which I used to do all the time, and it would be great to see my friends a little more.
“And if money was not an object, I’d just go to Barney’s and buy some shoes!”
Waaah! I sound like a brat but champagne problems, as they say…
Any advice you can give to other women who are pursuing their passion in art?
Try hard, don’t get defeated, and be sure to try again. The great thing about artists is that typically, artists love what they do, but the art industry is a very difficult world. If you need to make a living with your art, you really need to work hard and not neglect the business side of things. There’s a reason there is a cliché reputation about starving artists. A lot of work goes into being an artist apart from just creating the work. And typically speaking, a lot of artists and creatives are not as good at business. If that is the case, I recommend getting a business manager/partner or gallery representation to handle that element because otherwise it will be a potentially ongoing challenge.