Suzanne . Shifflett

Artists Statement Suzanne M. Shifflett
I’m a dyslexic introvert who is queer and masculine identified. I’ve always felt as
if I’ve been on the outside looking in. Growing up in a less than supportive
environment, art was an escape for me. I would spend hours hidden away
somewhere painting or drawing the world I wanted to live in. This was a
masculine world filled with soldiers, cowboys, and adventure.
I grew up in a house full of women, my grandmother as matriarch. It was a big house
that was filled with women and children, who were either divorced or separated
from their fathers and husbands. I watched a lot of westerns and war movies
fantasizing that the men in the family were off having these great adventures. My
father was a career officer in the Air Force. I would visit him every other summer
and seeing him in his uniform only confirmed these fantasies. Being a natural
tomboy, I longed for the freedom and adventure I imagined was a natural birth right
to those lucky enough to be born male.
My family’s attempts to feminize me failed. I longed for the life I imagined the men
having, so much so that I identified more with boys than girls. When I was made to
wear a dress to school, I felt like I was in drag. I would run home after school and
throw on my older brothers hand-me-downs. If I wasn’t playing with my action
figures, then I was drawing cowboys and soldiers. I very seldom drew women. On
the rare occasion I did they were usually tied up and something that the men were
fighting over.
When you put a mirror up to a fish tank, the fish inside are attracted to their own
reflection. This rudimentary reflex also exists within us. We too as humans want to
see our own reflection. Because my narratives often revolve around sexual identity
issues, some viewers may have no reference for this in their lives. That’s why it is
important to me to portray a sense of humanity that is reflected back to the viewers
so they can see something of themselves in my paintings. For people who feel like
outsiders, my hope is seeing themselves represented in some way might make them
feel less outside and less alone. I believe paintings have the power to shed light on
subjects in a thought-provoking way that can lead to better understanding and


Contact Information

Suzanne M. Shifflett

Artist Links




Artist Work

Modern Homo (2018)
oil on panel

Leather Biker (2017)
oil on panel

Venus in Leather (2017)
oil on panel

Brunch (2018)
oil on panel