Dan's Cover Artist Elizabeth Sutton Celebrates Chanukah with 'Festival of Lights'
This week’s cover of Dan’s Papers is a celebration of Chanukah featuring the art of self-taught designer, artist and “mom-preneur” Elizabeth Sutton. Here, she discusses her “Festival of Lights” cover art, her evolution as an artist and how she’s using art to spread light and inspire hope.
Meet Elizabeth Sutton
What inspired you to create your “Festival of Lights” artwork, and what did its creation entail?
“Festival of Lights” was commissioned by the Tisch family — one of the most influential Jewish art collectors in the world. A collector of many things, my client chose her favorite bronze-sculpted menorah of people dancing as the muse for the artwork. I based the painting off of a photograph of this menorah and incorporated a more traditional-style menorah in the painting as well. My client let me have fun playing with bright colors, metallics and butterflies to symbolize hope, transformation and change.
How did you develop your art style, and in what ways does it continue to evolve?
I’m self-taught and stumbled upon my talent eight years ago. When I discovered I could paint at age 25, it was very surprising. Once I decided I would pursue artistry as a career, an opportunity presented itself where I had three weeks to deliver 12 completed artworks for a luxury staging for MDLNY’s (Million Dollar Listing New York) Ryan Serhant. I spent the next three weeks over my dining table, experimenting with different mediums and techniques; I developed my geometric style using tape and knives during this time.
Over the years, my craft has gotten more complex and has indeed been perfected, from collage to painting to glittering. Some of my works take upwards of 400 hours. I am constantly developing — most recently I introduced my Squiggly Series, where I began incorporating modeling paste and texture into my works. I also have a new love for gold leaf. I work with many mediums including paint, glitter, collage, modeling pastes, mixing mediums, crystals, diamond dust and gold leaf. I hope to get into sculptures in the near future.
What art career accomplishments or accolades are you most proud of?
Opening my first pop-up retail gallery in the heart of West Chelsea, located at 550 W 29th Street. Being nominated on the Forbes Next 1000 list as one of the top small business entrepreneurs in the U.S.
My MP Pool Project, which was written up in Architectural Digest U.S., Spain and France; Architectural Digest France touted my pool as one of the “most beautiful pools in the world painted by iconic artists,” alongside Pablo Picasso, David Hockney and Felipe Pantone.
My TileBar collections winning Best in Show at the two largest hospitality conventions in the U.S. — the HD Expo and Architectural Digest Design Show; also, the installation at Mario Carbone’s Contessa Restaurant in Miami was epic.
My live paintings and art exhibitions with the Eden Rock, St. Barths and the One&Only Palmilla. In 2024, I will be working with the Malliouhana Resort in Anguilla to create an art experience for their guests. These luxury hotel activations are my favorite experiences of my career, and I will forever feel blessed to do what I love in some of the most beautiful hospitality properties around the world while getting exposed to new markets.
My pop-up shop at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street — that was a “pinch me I’m dreaming” moment — my fine art can still be found on the sixth floor of the iconic store.
What do you find most rewarding about the work you do as an artist?
I hope I inspire people, not only visually and creatively, but to take control of their lives and to make changes if they’re unhappy. I try to teach people to free themselves of limitations in the mind. I also continually encourage all women to be financially independent — money is power. I’ve had many people tell me they’ve changed career paths and decided to pursue their passions after following me.
The main message I try to share is to heal trauma from the past so we can break the cycle of abuse. My art healed me and saved my life in many ways, and I try to translate that through my messaging.
Lastly, I hope I am serving as a strong role model for my children, teaching them the importance of hard work, philanthropy and to never give up.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?
I am someone who always tries to see the light, but I feel the world is in a very dark place — completely divided, and there seems to be no room for middle ground. I hope the world begins to heal.
I’m focusing my efforts on my Jewish Pride Series, a body of Judaica artworks through which I am advocating against anti-Semitism. This has morphed into a more impactful philanthropic initiative, where my company is raising significant funds for Israel, as well as planning a volunteer mission to work with wounded soldiers, first responders, survivors from the Nova Festival, at-risk youth and families from Kfar Aza doing art therapy.
Having gone through my own traumas, I know the healing power of art, and I am doing my part to bring peace and love back to the Jewish community.
I’m also focusing on my new launches and collaborations — the holiday window at the world-famous Serendipity restaurant; new tile and vanity collections for TileBar launching 2024; custom designs for hotspot Champagne Problems opening in NYC this spring; a collaboration with the Malliouhana Resort.