Carmel Valley’s Sue Britt selected among 10 featured artists in annual San Diego ArtWalk

Sue Britt
( / Courtesy)
"Confluence" by Sue Britt
( / Courtesy)

With a unique technique, Carmel Valley artist Sue Britt transforms ordinary paper into extraordinary works of art.

“I created this technique,” said the paper tapestry artist. “It’s not something that I learned from anywhere. It grew out a creative exercise and became a way for me to bring color and interesting shape and contour to my pieces.”

Since she became a full-time artist three years ago, others have taken note of her work. Britt was recently selected as one of 10 featured artists for the 31st annual Mission Federal ArtWalk coming up April 25 and 26 in San Diego’s Little Italy.

“It’s really exciting,” said Britt, who has lived in Carmel Valley for 12 years. “The recognition is just really nice. The quality of art at ArtWalk is just amazing, so to be part of that is a really nice honor.”

Originally from Milwaukee, Britt refers to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul as home. She lived there for about 22 years before relocating to San Diego.

“Being a transplant, it affects a bunch of my art,” said Britt, whose work often draws on themes from the Southern California landscape, including the water and the wildfire cycle. “California is just a big inspiration.”

Britt has been an artist all her life. With her mother an artist, she grew up drawing and painting.

She went on to earn her degree in architecture and worked at it for six years before moving on to the Peace Corps, community development, and then staying home with her children.

Britt developed her technique during a creative exercise with a group of friends called The Artist’s Way. Britt, who formed the group, based it on Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way,” which outlines a 12-week creative program with daily exercises and art projects.

The 12-week program has since turned into eight years, and through the Artist’s Way, she and many of her friends have discovered not just creative outlets but success in art fields, including photography, weaving and writing.

“We all just came together around creativity,” she said.

Using her unique technique, Britt has worked as a full-time artist for the last three years.

Britt first draws a piece, which is often inspired by sketches from her hikes. Then she wraps homemade paper around pieces of two-ply illustration board. The pieces are then woven and fitted together, often in multiple layers.

“I always say my work is ‘the piece that takes over the room,’” Britt said. “It’s really bright, colorful and lively. I like to work big.”

In 2012, Britt was accepted into Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego’s largest collection of studio artists. Since then, her work has been on display permanently at the center, where she sits on the board.

She has also participated in ArtWalk for the past few years. This is her first time, however, as a featured artist, selected from more than 350 participating artists at this year’s festival.

“The quality of the work is amazing,” Britt said. “So for me, as an artist, it’s a great opportunity to walk around and talk with other artists. The artist community is really important. I learn so much from other artists.”

In addition to ArtWalk, Britt has two upcoming shows.

“Art...It’s Elemental: Water, Fire, Earth and Air” will feature members of the Spanish Village Art Center and Guilds. The show takes place March 21 through April 12 at Gallery 21 in Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

Her work will also be featured in “Art Telling,” a show opening July 18 at the Mission Trails Visitor Center.

See more about Britt at www.papertapestry.net.

See more about ArtWalk at www.artwalksandiego.org.


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