Susie West is painting her way around Britain's lovely cities, towns and villages as a series of travel poster style prints. Last seen in Oxted, she’s now coming to Tonbridge. We find out a little more about her...
How did you get started in your business?
I trained as a graphic designer, but then life and family got in the way, but one day I found myself on a train delayed Wimbledon and started doodling the little rows of houses I could see through the windows.
After half the night trying to get the image on to paper, the idea and style too shape and a couple of weeks later, after many sleepless nights, a friend suggested I try selling the little paintings at a school fair.
They quickly sold out… and so started a very long transition from part-time selling paintings of quirky little made-up village scenes, to a full-time business of travelling around Britain’s real cities, towns and villages for a range of travel poster prints.
How many travel posters have you done to date?
I’ve painted 111 of them so far, from Aberdeen to St Ives, including a couple of lovely Oxted ones and who knows what inspiration I’ll find in Tonbridge!
Where do you get inspiration for the style and content?
The style is very much influenced from the old travel posters before digital advertising and film. The content is very much driven firstly by people nominating places and secondly by what I find when I get there. Sometimes there isn’t necessarily an obvious view and it’s a bit of a challenge to find one that works, and other times the challenge is that there are so many amazing views that it’s difficult to choose just one.
Do you work on your own or do you have help?
I'm the painter and Blair is most definitely the business end of the business! It’s a team effort.
How do you pick your next subject?
We collect votes for where to paint next, 1000's of votes so far for 100's of places, and when I finish a painting we look at the list to see which places locally and nationwide have the most votes, and then we plan our next few trips.
Do you have a favourite so far?
I really don’t have a favourite, just feel very lucky to be painting a city one moment, then a village or seaside town the next. We live in a country with such incredible variety.
They’re all available on my website, www.artistsusiewest.com . Hope you enjoy looking through the collection to find your favourite places.