I am happy to announce a new monthly feature:The Parisian of the Month. Every month I will do a story or an interview about a Parisian, from an artist to a hotel concierge to celebrities, even my local shopkeepers. For people who moved here from other places, I will ask what the draw was to live in this magical city and for natives, I will find out what makes Paris so special for them.
My first Parisian of the month is painter and video performance artist, Susan Shup, an American who moved to Paris for love with her Belgian husband Claude from Cambridge, Mass. in 1982.
Visiting Susan at the SHUPSHOP, her atelier in the Marais, is like paying a visit to Mr. Rogers, in the sense that she is warm and friendly and you never know what fun surprises her “shop” has in store for you.
I had to go through two massive wood doors that enter into a courtyard and up some narrow, crooked stairs to get to her 17th century atelier. On the walls and the floor are large paintings of beautiful, feminine women wearing fashionable outfits or with funny phrases and words written all over them, and immediately I am ensconced in Susan’s world. Obviously Susan’s work is influenced by fashion and she tells me that when she first moved here she adored Paris fashion and her work is inspired by it till this day. This inspiration led her to create paintings that are figurative but also use language to address how our society is so strongly by judged by fashion and appearances.
Among her many video projects, her series Living with Art investigates the art world with humor in a fake TV documentary format. Another video, The Dressing Room, has Susan as a virtual salesperson in a dressing room who compliments customers in a blatant attempt to hard sell her art.
Susan made a hit CD called “You are Great” in the early 90s, a sound piece to cheer Parisians up during a time when Paris was in the creative doldrums and it was sold at Colette.
Recently, Susan was hired as a consultant to create the visual identity for a new hair salon on the tony rue Poitou in the Marais. The colorful free form pop illustrations of women that adorn the walls of the Rachel Benaich salon are a standout against the bubblegum pink floors. Since she loves fashion, it was only natural to move into textile design, creating signature prints for a new fashion label Les Amies de Louise, who will be opening a concept store in Shanghai soon.
Susan’s work has been exhibited in the Paris galleries Galerie Pixi and La Peripherie, and in London at Rabih Hage. Don’t miss her drawings at the Slick Dessin with the Miss China gallery, April 10-14th.
Even though Susan is a serious and gifted artist, her sense of humor and playfulness is always present in her work. Her work is like a wink and a nod at the very art and fashion world in which she works.
Checkout her wonderful website which has images of her work and also her videos.
I want to thank my friend Pat Addis for giving me the idea for The Parisian of the Month.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour
includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com