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Art & Life with Susan Scafati

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Scafati.

Susan, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
When I was 14 years old my grandfather gave me a broken camera. I spent several years in darkrooms overcompensating for the abundance of light leaks across my photos, which ultimately I embraced. The moments I captured were jumping off points to other worlds. Through that experimentation I discovered a love of play that is still at the heart of the way I work across multiple mediums. Today I make sculptures, site-specific installations, photo-based prints, and videos.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’m an American contemporary artist interested in the ways in which both individual versus collective identities, and personal versus cultural mythologies, are constructed. Subjects that have provided a framework for these interests include text messaging, social media filters, personal archives, bullfights, robot competitions, eggs and ant colonies. Across these bodies of work, I deconstruct the iconography and materiality that contribute to the way meaning is organized. I make pigment prints, sculptures, site-specific installations, and videos. I’ve created my artwork in the United States and Europe, and have exhibited in museums and galleries.

The artworks I’m sharing in this article are from my recent body-of-work titled “ t e x t s c a p e “ — a meditation on constructed worlds, communication and connection through the gesture of text messaging. Combining old and new photographic processes, I create a multitude of iterations of the ubiquitous smartphone textbox, extensively layering and enlarging its form from its familiar handheld size to up to 8-feet. This play on scale shifts its physical relationship to the human form and suggests a metaphor for a greater psychological impact on human experience. This body-of-work takes the form of large-scale archival pigment and supreme mesh scrolls comprised of cyanotypes and photograms, and wood, marble, acrylic, and textile installations. An exhibition of these artworks with the talented artist, Sean Ripple, at Austin’s Co-Lab Projects’ DEMO Gallery was nominated for Best Group Gallery exhibition by the Austin Critics Table Awards. I was also commissioned to create a site-specific 4-story installation of “t e x t s c a p e” at the Facebook office as a selected Artist-in-Residence for their global art program.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Important art comes out of social and political movements, and it’s always interesting to see how creations across the world crystallize. Personally, I find it helps keep perspective to consider a bigger picture: nature’s patterns & cycles; human behavior; how history repeats itself; and what science tells us.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Let’s connect through Instagram @susanscafati and my website

I’ll keep you updated about new artworks and happenings, including exhibitions I’m working on in Austin and St. Louis this fall. There’s also a contact tab on my website where you can reach me to schedule studio tours and art talks, discuss opportunities, or sign up for my email updates. And if you have a moment, check out the Artist Video that Facebook made about the 4-story art installation they commissioned me to do as an Artist-in-Residence for their global art program:

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @susanscafati
  • Facebook: @Susan Scafati Shahan
  • Twitter: @SusanScafati

Image Credit:
Susan Scafati

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