Suzo Hickey Tom Best photos

Road to north coast landscape leads to gallery

The current Smithers Art Gallery show by Suzo Hickey is all paintings of scenes from Prince Rupert.

The Smithers Art Gallery continues to bring exciting and interesting exhibitions of local art to our area.

The current show by Suzo Hickey is all paintings of scenes from Prince Rupert.

“I moved there two years ago from Vancouver, but I grew up in Prince Rupert,” she said. “You can’t be bothered by rain if you live in Prince Rupert. I was more bothered by the heat and the sun in Vancouver than by the rain in PR.”

Like most people, her career was something that chose her.

“When I was a kid, I was good at it. It was one thing that I could do. People liked it. When I was a teenager I drew rock stars for people and in my mid 20s. I went to art school in Kamloops because that’s where I was living at that time. Then I started painting. I loved it and I thought I was good at it. “ she said.

The painting form is one that she is comfortable with.

“These are acrylics. I tried water colours but you have to do it right or you wreck it. With oil painting, there is more science involved and its slow drying and it takes a long time. I like acrylics because it dries quick so you can work really fast,” she said.

The showing is mostly of one particular style.

“For the past eight or 10 years, I started doing urban landscapes. It’s an endless source of things to draw,” she said.

A closer look reveals that the paintings are not just canvases with pictures on them.

“With all of these paintings, before they get the image that you see, I paint them completely black and then I do a design on them. After that is done, I draw on the picture and then I paint. Then you get to see shapes and so on which show through,” she said.

There are also some pictures in the showing which have not had any additional work following the design painting.

While she also does different painting subjects, this showing is limited to the urban landscapes and a few design paintings.

“I went on a little road trip last summer and I did paintings of landscapes. They are currently on show in Vancouver and I’m going to be doing more of those,” she said.

“I do my work in a studio. I take lots of photographs and then I work with the different photographs and then you kind of mess with things,” she added.

Some absences in the pictures in the showing are no people, cars or cats. The skies are very noticeable.

“You get these sunsets in Prince Rupert and you get these intense, intense colours. If you come home at a certain time, you get this incredible sky,” she said.

Her selection of subject was not her primary choice.

“I started painting when I was about 25 or 26. Over time, I used to do figurative painting where I painted people a lot and then I went into this urban landscape and I like it because it’s all around me. You don’t have to go very far to find it,” she said.

The Suzo Hickey ‘End of the Road’ show will be at the Smithers Art Gallery until July 28.


House on East Harbour

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