>> Way back when I would have the time to kill a whole day watching obscure screenings and popping into galleries not for ‘content’ but for the eyes, I happed across the work of artist, animator and all around creative polymath Suzan Pitt – namely her most famous work, ‘Asparagus’, which was made in 1979. It’s twenty minutes of brilliantly vivid stream of conscious, inspired by Carl Jung’s idea of images being pregnant – so that one beautifully painted cel scene segues into another seamlessly without any straight cuts. The result is a languidly surreal vision that leaves you aroused and confused in the most positive way possible. No wonder then that it became a seminal work of animation and propelled Pitt’s name into the limelight. This documentary Persistence of Vision is a succinct and fascinating exploration of Pitt’s work.
Rather than being prolific, Pitt has decided to give ample time to each film project, creating Joy Street in 1995, El Doctor in 2006, Visitation in 2011 and Pinball in 2013. And all the while, Pitt – now based between Los Angeles and Mexico – teaches, travels and paints. Out of the blue Pitt’s work came flooding back to me as she emailed me last week, about her latest project of hand painted coats and trenches, which she used to do in the 1980s to much success. Patricia Field Online recently commissioned them again and four out of the six styles have now since been sold. That’s the persuasive power of Pitt’s saturated paintings. Lichtenstein-esque characters, alien creatures and abstracted visions come flying at you in vivid acrylic colour blocks. One jacket’s design is derived from Pitt’s latest animation ‘Pinball’, which is an almost dystopian depiction of a being panic-stricken, where pinballs and splatters ping about.
I love the exuberance and humorous generosity of Pitt’s work where it doesn’t matter whether it’s celluloid, canvas or an old London Fog trench coat, her sense of self and idiosyncrasy are communicated loud and clear. The questioning of whether it’s art or fashion seems pointless. A unique point of view doesn’t require finite definition.
More one-off painted coats by Pitt will be available at Dover Street Market New York from December 3rd onwards. Trust DSM to celebrate the cult creatives of our time. Pitt’s work leads a different life when painted onto vintage outerwear. You’d surely get a lot of joy out of wearing one, hence why I’m pondering the Big Flower coat that will probably be snapped up imminently.
And just in case you’ve not seen Asparagus… take a trip why dontcha…