Inside the Studio

Susanne Ruccius

Favorite material to work with?
I used to work with many different materials and use many different techniques including the use of textiles for objects, watercolour and acrylic paint for paintings, and coloured pencils for drawings. However, I have recently started to work in oils—preferably on raw canvas—as well as water colours and inks on thick white paper.

What themes do you pursue?
Nature and textiles, surfaces, ornaments, patterns. I love the close-up view and I believe that beauty lies within all things. There is a great need for art to push boundaries and to put fingers in wounds, both politically and personally, but I also believe that the things worth living for need to be shown. I see the work I do as a statement of sensitivity and tranquillity, just how I love to feel at home. I leave it to the others to paint the exiting and loud parts.

How many years as an artist?
I have called myself an artist since I finished university in 2004.

Where is your studio?
In the district Lindenau west of Leipzig centre. The house is run by an association which, amongst other projects, provides affordable workspace for creative people. My studio is on the first floor.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I guess I’ve been given some good advice in the past but as I’ve not always listened! I decided to make it my personal aim to just stick to making art no matter what and to remain true to myself.

Art school or self-taught?
First I undertook an apprenticeship in order to become a carpenter and was planning to go on to studying restoration. During that time I realised that while I adored the beautiful things that already existed, I was even more excited about the prospect of making new things myself. So I applied for a painting studies course at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design. After a while I switched to textile art (no design, no clothes). The experience I gained from working with textiles—the process as well as the materials—still often informs my work.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
While concentrating I prefer silence and when thinking I enjoy classical music.

What’s around the corner from your place?
There’s nothing much to distract me: a tram station, a kebab take away and a DIY shop. But I’m also not too far from the famous Spinnerei and the city centre.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
I used to love to travel but at the moment I’m spending quite a lot of time at home or going for walks with my child.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
It wouldn’t be me then I guess. In another environment, time or place I might have chosen to be involved with music, biology, books or to be a craftswoman.

Day job?
At the moment I’m a full time artist.

What do you collect?
Tactile memories like sand or earth from places I’ve been to; shells, stones, seeds, feathers, buttons and many other little things that touch my heart or remind me of something or someone special.

Favorite contemporary artist?
With regards to painters I love Peter Doig for his use of colour, his topics and expressive style and David Hockney for his ability to find beauty in everything as well as for the ease in his paintings. Also I’m a huge fan of Dale Chihulys glass seaforms and Andy Goldsworthy for the amount of patience he puts into his work and the breathtaking sensitivity for the materials he is working with.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A plate by Grita Goetze I would use to eat off of every day.

Who are your favorite writers?
There is no doubt. My favourite one is Arno Schmidt. Something to recommend for German readers „Kaff, auch mare crisium“, something for me to look forward to is „Zettels Traum“.

Use anything other than paint?
I often experiment with all sorts of materials such as clay, earth, textile fabrics, and wood. I take photographs for memories and I sketch in order to understand and experience. But when it comes to making the final piece of work I mainly use oil on canvas or watercolour on paper.

Is painting dead?
Why would it be? Every new artistic expression, I think, is just an addition to what’s already there. And what if it was? There are so many other amazing ways to express.

Favorite brush?
I have lots of different brushes for different purposes.

Palette knifes?
Not at the moment.

Monet or Manet?
More Monet, they both painted incredible works but Ernst Haeckel is the one for me!