Ones to Watch: Interview with Susan Daubney

Find out more about Susan's work in our interview!

June 3rd, 2020

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Your full name, and university course/year.

Susan Daubney – Leeds Arts University – Final Year (Level 6)

Can you describe your work to us in 3 words?

Pattern, Colour, Repetition

What medium do you prefer to use?

Multimedia, but I enjoy painting with gouache; also casting in jesmonite and papermaking.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

The Reflections I, II and III Series in the Ones To Watch 2020 exhibition was borne out of a recent visit to Vancouver in Canada where the reflective surfaces of the windows of skyscraper buildings and the symbols and shapes found around the city were the inspirational starting points for small observational paintings using the vibrant, opaque colours of gouache paint.   I then subject these paintings to interventions through the language of digital, optical abstraction to produce multi-layered and blended digital prints.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

My hands, my paints, my brushes but the list is actually endless!

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I am currently working at home on my final major project in order to complete my Fine Art degree.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

Bridget Riley, Paul Klee, Agnes Martin

How do you seek out opportunities?

I follow lots of social media strands but particularly Curatorspace, ArtQuest, Zealous and Leeds Arts University.

Which current art world trend are you following?

Hardedge painting; geometric painting/drawing; optical art

Plans for the future?

I would very much like to continue with my art education and am applying for MA courses in Leeds in Fine Art and/or Creative Practice.

Tell us about an exhibition that has stayed with you

I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2018 and found the experience very emotional when confronted with the actual paintings which are so world famous now but sad that the artist never lived to see how his art affected the world.

In fact, my Daubney’s Garden: Paperstack Sculpture was developed as a direct response to viewing, for the first time, the Vincent van Gogh painting entitled Daubigny’s Garden during this visit.   It inspired me to recognise the garden of my childhood as a familiar place of stability, solace and sanctuary.   I extensively researched my own Daubney family garden and realised it to be a rich collection of natural flora, which shifts and changes across the years.   All elements and materials were gathered from the garden, across the seasons, and incorporated into the papermaking process allowing time-reflecting strata of soft, natural colour and texture to build up and emerge into a self-supporting sculptural form.   This form has the potential to continue to grow and develop across the years to reflect the growth, additions, prunings and diminishments of the life surrounding my family’s garden.

Susan Daubney – Daubney’s Garden: Paperstack Sculpture – 2018

Any books/ films/tv series that you’d recommend for anyone interested in art?

A book called The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair and anything shown on BBC4

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?

@Susan_Loves_Leeds ;  @haideejosummers ; @graham_dolphin ; @gerrybonetti ; @brian.clarke_

@richardmcvetis ; @cassiesuche ; @thechapelhg1

What is your dream project?

To continue making beautiful, interesting art which gets noticed.

What is your most successful piece of work and why?

My university recently took part in The British Art Medal Student Medal Project 2020, which was set up to promote the art of the medal in art colleges.  Although it is a competition, it is a Project with other benefits: mentoring, introduction to other students, exhibition, catalogue, discussions, awards after graduation, commissions and events.

I took part in this and wholeheartedly embraced the process of producing a bronze art medal from original design concept, pattern making, mould making, creating wax pieces for the foundry and fettling and patinating the final bronze piece.

My design entitled “In Pursuit of Balance” was inspired by optical art effects and in creating a balanced and proportionate piece which would sit in the palm of the hand, my geometric circle design builds up naturally to create two even sides in dialogue with each other as the outer edge blends into the opposite surface while giving the whole object a tactility when handled.

My art medal design was one of 132 entries to the competition and I am delighted that it went on to win one of the 10 prizes awarded and will be put into an exhibition at Central St Martin’s College in Autumn 2020.

Prize: The award given by Kate Harrison to enable a student maker to visit a professional studio for a learning session:  Susan Daubney, In Pursuit of Balance, Leeds Arts University.


Susan Daubney – “In Pursuit of Balance” 2020 – 7cm dia x 3cm – Bronze art medal with verdigris patination

Find out more about Susan’s work here.

Read about all the Ones to Watch artists here.


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