Vancouver artist Scott Sueme brings the abstract world to the city streets

Sep 7 2016, 4:33 am

Scott Sueme is a Vancouver-based artist who has been working as a graphic artist and painter since graduating from Emily Carr in 2006. He started in the graffiti subculture and today he has been increasingly doing more commercial work and collaborations with brands like Nike, the NBA, and Lululemon. His recent work was working on a 12,000 square foot surface, which required a lot of planning and strategizing.

His abstract and contemporary work has been presented in multiple exhibitions. Playing with solid colours and geometric shapes, Sueme looks into exploring the connection between communication, colour, pattern, and landscape.

Sueme will be part of the upcoming Art Rapture urban-pop exhibition featuring more than 15 critically acclaimed artists presenting their most provocative work yet. The show, taking place on October 1, will be a curated experience in the heart of Mount Pleasant.


Courtesy of Scott Sueme

Tell us a bit more about your background. How did you get started in a creative career?

Well, my dad worked in the print industry and still does, so design was always around me growing up. I was more interested in sports as a kid, and it wasn’t until high school where I got into skating and writing graffiti. From there I attended Emily Carr with the intention of studying design, but ended up in general fine arts with more of an interest in painting.

I eventually left school to travel and freelance. I quit my job working in a kitchen and I picked up any project I could from mural painting, graphic design, signage, even organizing my own art shows and group exhibitions. One thing led to another and now I’ve been a working artist for the past 10 years.

As a Vancouver-based artist, how do you see the creative scene in the city and how do you see it evolving?

I think the scene has had its ups and downs, but it’s always evolving. I think right now we’re definitely on an up trend as we’re seeing artists mature and really making an effort to stay in Vancouver and build something special.


Courtesy of Scott Sueme

Your most recent work was for the Vancouver Mural Festival covering the entire Hootsuite building. It was the largest piece created for the festival, which is very impressive, and it covered every detail of the building. How was the process of designing and preparing for this piece and how do you feel about it?

Thanks! I’m super proud and gratefully to have worked on this project with the festival. It’s great to be able to represent my work on such a grand scale and so close to my own neighbourhood where I work and live. It was definitely a challenge working at that scale plus the unique architecture of the building, but that’s what mural painting is about – adapting to space. So when I was working on the design it was something my team and I prepared for through materials, strategy and execution.

Photo Joanna Riquett

Photo Joanna Riquett

Your work is abstract and showcases a simplification of forms. In canvas it could be easier to perceive the message you’re trying to convey, but how does that message translate when doing graffiti and street art?

I find that it’s more of a challenge to showcase the simplification of forms, whether it’s on a canvas or in the public sphere. I find that as my work evolves it’s more about doing away with the unnecessary things rather than adding density – less is more. Specifically looking at graffiti art, it is its own realm – it’s about the letters and style. So for me, the translation, or connection between the two is in the fundamentals that lie beneath both practices, things like colour, balance, and harmony.


Courtesy of Scott Sueme

What artists currently inspire you?

There seems to be more and more every day but I’ll do my best off the top of my head: Ellsworth Kelly, David Hockney, Frank Stella, Cody Hudson, Alex(Hense)Brewer, Paul Kremer, Jonas Wood.


Courtesy of Scott Sueme

What’s next for you? Are there any new mediums you want to explore or artists you want to collaborate with?

I’m working in the studio whenever possible to produce paintings and new work. I will have an exhibition at Kimoto Gallery in 2017-18, and hopefully more murals too!

Art Rapture, the upcoming art show presenting a mix of urban, pop, and provocative artists, is featuring your work in a more private setting. What can attendees expect to see during this show from you?

Yeah! Super stoked on this event. It’s exhibits like this that are changing how we engage with art and support the scene here in Vancouver. It really spices things up. I will be showing some new paintings, which I’m working on right now. The work will definitely be in line with stuff I’ve been doing this year, including the mural on Hootsuite.

To see the full line-up of artists and to secure your tickets, visit Art Rapture’s event page. This is an event you can’t miss!


Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud media sponsor of Art Rapture

Joanna RiquettJoanna Riquett

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