“Born and bred in BC, Scott Sueme’s first foray into the art world was via the skate and graffiti scene in his mid-teens.”
While now a practicing designer and painter for more than 10 years, his colourful abstract works and overall demeanor (Kotn tee and socks included) still exude that kind of laid-back cool vibe you’d expect from a street artist.
“I got into graffiti through skateboarding, and just being in high school and a sort of young and rebellious spirit. My dad was also in the graphic and printing industry, so I was around that sort of language my whole life.”
“‘Sueme’ – that was my moniker. With graffiti, I was definitely more fascinated with what they call the ‘piecing’ aspect, which is just like high output. I was more intrigued by the high production value, so taking your time, going to certain walls and really paying attention to the craft of creating letters and styles.”
So how’d Scott go from painting freight trains and abandoned warehouses to having his own shows?
“With graffiti, there’s this certain attitude. Always more, more, more is better. So when you’re doing graffiti, it’s kind of like a game or a sport, where you’re trying to output the most quality with the most quantity. That gave me a foundation for my work ethic. And just working with colours in such a wide array – different combinations of stuff. Like as soon as you do one colour and place another one beside it, you get an interaction, and how that colour can shift when you place it next to another, that’s still at the center of what I do now. Graffiti definitely gave me an opportunity to exercise that early on in various different pieces. It gave me a lot of the building blocks for what I do now.”
“As you do one colour and place another one beside it, you get an interaction, and how that colour can shift when you place it next to another, that’s still at the center of what I do now.”
On starting a new piece
“There are some pieces that are almost pre-designed fully, and then I’ll go and execute them and decide I need to change the whole thing, and I’ll end up painting over it and starting again. And then there are other times where I’ve pre-designed stuff and it’ll work, and it gives me a break from trying to figure things out on the canvas. I tend to stick to one method, and then get bored or tired of it, and switch it up. I try to figure out as many different ways to essentially do the same thing, and I feel like each one has an opportunity to get a different result. The method to get from A to B is quite different for every piece.”
“With each show, there’s always one piece, or a couple, that stand out. In my most recent show, called “Homework”, there’s a piece called “Shoestrings and Hightops”. It was one of those pieces that I didn’t pre-design, I just kind of jumped into the painting and it resolved itself in a very easy manner. I didn’t have to fight with the painting as much, and when it was done, you get this kind of feeling that it’s finished, and you feel confident about it, and it’s easy and light.”
“The shirt I designed for Kotn was part of a series of cut paper forms exploring different placements and spatial arrangements. So working with the idea of you cutting something out: you see what you’ve cut out, but you also have the remnants of what’s left behind. I think that kind of interaction lets me think about composition and shape without actually even considering colour. So exploring that relationship: the negative and the positive. The art for the Kotn tee is exclusive – a one of one design.”
Scott Sueme is a Vancouver-based graphic artist and painter, known for his large-scale abstract work and his playful interpretation of form, shape, and colour.
The Scott Sueme T-shirt is a limited run of 60 units, available exlusively online and at Kotn: Vancouver.