The World of Sue Kreitzman

Sue features in the latest issue of Raw Vision Magazine...

Women in Outside Art - 'Environments'

Sue Kreitzman is featured in the book 'Bolder - Life Lessons from People Older and Wiser Than You' written by Dominique Afacan and Helen Cathcart. Listen to this interview at Talk Radio by Eamonn Holmes, where Sue describes her experience of getting older and how she maintains a youthful, creative and positive attitude to life, whatever her age. Click the image above to go to Sue's YouTube channel and listen to the whole interview. (Opens in a new window)

Jo Good interviews writer Dominique Afacan and Artist, Curator and fashionista Sue Kreitzman. Dominique talks about her new book, co-written by Helen Cathcart: 'Bolder: Life Lessons From People Older and Wiser Than You'. Sue Kreitzman is featured in the book and talks about her attitude to ageing, fashion and living life to the full. Click the image above to go to Sue's YouTube channel and listen to the whole interview. (Opens in a new window)

Click on the photo below to read Sue and her husband Steve being interviewed in the 'Relative Values' section of the Sunday Times Magazine. (Opens in a new window).
Interviews by Megan Agnew. Photography by Anna Batchelor.

Read Sue's interview below, on The website as part of their feature on: 'Artists who have turned their homes into masterpieces'.

"I have nowhere to cook!"

One day in 2000, I was proofreading my 27th cookbook when I picked up a coloured marker and started to doodle. I had always loved art, but at school I was told I was terrible. Yet that day I drew a mermaid. I looked at the mermaid and she looked at me - and suddenly I wasn't a food writer any more. I was an artist.

I lost all interest in cooking. My family were gobsmacked and my agent thought I'd lost my mind. But the art spilled out. I was obsessed and still am. Within a year, I had my first exhibition.

This house is like living inside my head: the art keeps me calm, it keeps depression at bay, it defines my life. Beige frightens me. It makes me feel sick and old and scared. I have a friend who only wears black because she doesn't want to "clash" with the art she collects. I said to her: "Honey, I am the art and the art is me." Today, I am wearing a Diane Goldie dress which has Malcah Zeldis paintings on it, a necklace by Anne Sophie Cochevelou, and bracelets by Antonio Bonnici and Dan Vanderhei.

When my neighbours moved to the seaside, I bought their place and knocked the two houses through. Now I have two kitchens, but nowhere to cook - because art takes up all the space! I built a shed in the garden and that filled up too. I also have works by other people, friends or younger artists I mentor. Occasionally, people come in and hate it. Some even get angry. But other artists will come in and burst into tears because they feel moved.

My work is like tribal or folk art. My mother took us to museums every weekend when I was very young - the National Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Natural History, which had a huge collection of tribal art. She was a strange woman, often very angry, and would drag us through. It's hard to describe, but I always felt the art was alive, taking care of me. I would feel warmth and life flowing from the exhibits.

My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together for 60 years, but we're both very work focused. When we aren't in our apartment in New York, he lives in Cambridge, I live in London, and we meet up at weekends. He is very conservative, a scientist, but his place in Cambridge has a lot of art. It is less cluttered than mine, though.

I don't believe in the afterlife, but I have a little fantasy about what happens to women - one that informs the work I do. You die and wake up in a waiting room. When the phone rings you are called for an interview. At the interview, you have to decide whether to be a goddess or a superhero, and you are dressed accordingly. I would choose to be a goddess. So all the dolls in my house are dressed for their afterlife - in glitter, wings, colour.

I've lived in the UK for more than 30 years. The first time I walked down my street in the East End, I felt like I had come home. I can't tell you how much I love it. My neighbours all indulge me. When I walk down the road, everyone says hello, from the women in niqabs to the old cockneys. They call me the "colourful lady".

Photography: Sophia Evans for the Observer / Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
Interview by: Homa Khaleeli

Below is the front cover of Issue One of GOLDIE Magazine. Read Sue's interview below.

Click on the photo above to read Sue Kreitzman's interview in Cause and Effect Magazine (opens in a new window).
Author: Sadhbh O'Sullivan. Photography by Holly Falconer.

majestic disorder

majestic disorder is an arts & culture online, quarterly print magazine and creative agency producing original thought provoking journalism.

From being a renowned published and nationally syndicated cook to outsider artist extraordinaire, there are no boundaries stopping Sue Kreitzman. After leaving New York City for London, Sue found a creative heaven in the east end as she elaborates on her epiphany into art, inspirations and exquisitely unique, artistic wardrobe.

Click the photo below to watch Sue's interview on their vimeo channel: (Opens in a new window)

Sue was interviewed by her Fashion Designer friend Mei Hui Liu:

For 'Silk Series' - Exhibitions / Culture / Festivals / Party fashion / Art / Lifestyle /Food / Sustainable / Ethical - Based in East London

You just can't miss Sue Kreitzman. From any distance and perspective, Sue always stands out like a exotic wild flower. I'm used to all sorts of extravagant costumes and flamboyant looking characters, but seeing Sue for the first time still managed to give me a jolt. She's such a regal and articulate woman; yet so otherworldly in her eye-popping colours.

Sue was one of my earlier customers after I moved from West to East and selling at in East End markets Old Spitalfields Market in 1999 She would often come to my stall and peruse the clothes in her delicate way. Her eyes would glitter and even if she only bought something small for a gift, I knew that she was as absorbed in my world as I was absorbed in her world. We were kindred spirits - visually and otherwise. For many years, we've met up for tea and spent hours about every subject under the sun. Sue is a real conversationalist and she has the most pure perspective on art of anyone I have met in a very long time.

What is perhaps most impressive about Sue is that she has such a visionary sense of community. She loves the East London and her creative spirit inspires many people of all ages in this insanely diverse neighbourhood of ours. Both she and Diane Pernet were inspirational muses for one of my fashion collections, for instance. Sue supports local and international talent as both a patron and as an exhibitor of art of all persuasions. But it is the phenomenal house that she has crafted for herself in East London which stands as a testament to all her passions in one utterly unique space. It takes your breath away. Photo by Esther Schipper.

Tell us about your work

My work is completely untutored, wildly colourful and highly textured. As far as technique and materials are concerned, I make it up as I go along. It is intensely personal and involves colour, food, freedom and the female landscape. I fashion imagined goddesses, glimpsed strangers, close friends, my personal heroines, real and mythological - Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo, Eve, Medusa - and self-portraits, and I adorn these powerful female images with profound symbols crafted from junk.

When did you move to East London and why?

I have been in the UK since 1986. The first ten years were spent in a small fen village in Cambridgeshire. It was a very bad fit. The people in the village had no idea what to make of me; nor I of them. I was a complete outsider - an oddball from New York City and I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. There was no ethnic diversity, no theatre, no art, restaurants, interesting food shops, no concert halls, no compadres or comadres to be made. I finally escaped.

I needed real life - at least what was real life to me. And, since I was in the business of writing cook books and cooking on television, I needed to be close to my agent, editor, publisher, TV studios, etc. In 1996, during my flat hunting weeks in London, I finally landed on the Roman Road. When I crossed Grove Road onto what is now my patch of the Roman Road, I had the most extraordinary feeling of deja vu. It was as if I had come home. And it has been home ever since.

What were you doing that time and what are you doing now?

I was in the food business for many years; I wrote cookbooks - 27 of them in fact. I cooked on daytime television for years including the BBC and GMTV and the various food channels of the times, and I travelled around the world lecturing and demonstrating healthy food techniques and recipes. I was still very much a foodie when I arrived in London's E3 district and set up house. But, in the late 1990s, I unexpectedly and flamboyantly burst into art. It was like bursting into flame.

The muse must have bit me in the bum. Or maybe it is something in the drinking water here in London's East End. Suddenly all of the passion I poured into cooking and developing recipes transferred itself into something entirely different. So now I spend my time painting, building assemblages, gluing things to other things, and constantly searching for 'profound junk' to use in this madness I call art.

I also curate exhibitions of art by like-minded artists who operate outside of the mainstream. My main desire in these shows is to build an environment, a temporary habitat, that will push non-mainstream art into people's consciousness, and give them a really good time. It's a sort of 'Outsider Art Disney World' for very peculiar adults. And if they come into the gallery as not peculiar people at all, I want them to leave us overexcited, over-stimulated, and utterly changed with the feeling that anyone can make art out of anything.

What do you like most about living in East London?

I am a city person. The countryside makes me nervous. I need activity, excitement and a highly textured environment around me at all times. I need people, all kinds of people: every colour, every age, every background, every level of society in close proximity. I love the diversity of life here in the East End. I love the vibrancy of the young people, the jargon, the patter, the slang, the street art, the many different cultures all mixed together. The sense of community in my little area of E3. The vibrantly colourful, noisy, slightly shabby Roman Road Market, the Thursday Spitalfields Flea Market and all of the other Sunday markets. Also the attempt of people to understand each other, and to get along as best they can. And the food! Bagels, salt beef, gastro pubs, jellied eels, curry, chicken tikka, dhosa, lamacun... Why would I ever want to leave?

Sue and Mei Hui Liu

And how did you see it change?

My little piece of the East End is still something of a quaint backwater. But Shoreditch, Hoxton, Dalston, Hackney, Brick Lane...they are now so cutting-edge that they are in danger of hurting themselves. Or as Will Self put it, "so hip they need a replacement". All of this gentrification is slowly creeping ever further East along Bethnal Green Road. And now, gentrification is really getting out of control. The nationals and the multinational corporate chains have moved in. Bit by bit the artists, artisans, individual, quirky, individually owned shops and businesses are being squeezed out. My once beloved Spitalfields Market is now unrecognisable - it is becoming so distressingly corporate and mainstream on the weekends. Thank goodness for the wonderful Thursday Spitalfields Flea Market. It brings a whiff of the old funky, creative days to this now soulless space.

What do you remember from our first encounters?

It was the 'old days' at Spitalfields Market - more than 10 years ago. This extraordinarily funky, chic, quirky, glam, petite young Chinese woman had a stall selling handmade fashion. I was too old and too large to wear any of it, but it was so witty, so beautifully made from vintage scraps and pieces, so joyful and clever, that I would stop to look, and to laugh with delight at the sheer unexpectedness of it. Mei-Hui was a pioneer. As far as I know, no one else at the time was doing quite the same heady deconstruction and reconstruction of old garments and lace. Eventually, Mei-Hui invited me to dinner, and in pure Mei-Hui style, we cooked together - dumplings, if I remember correctly. How proud I was that I knew just how to wrap and fold the dumplings so that they did not fall apart in the boiling water. How we talked late into the night. We have been good friends ever since - what a delight!! We share a passion for food, art, recycling the old into the extraordinary, and for the texture of East End life.

Sue and Mei Hui Liu