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Suzanne Barrett Justis

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for May, 2018

Suzanne Barrett Justis has been working with zoos across the country, donating art pieces for their fundraising events in an effort to support their many conservation projects.  The Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa, FL.,: The San Antonio Zoo in TX,: The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA.:  Zoo Miami in FL; and the National Zoo in Washinton DC are just some of the many zoos that have bennefited from her donations of art. As she puts it,  "Being an artist is who I AM....it's not what I DO. I feel blessed that with my association with the AFC, making donations to many wildlife conservation organizations has just become easier!!!   

I want to make sure there will be much wildlife for future artists to continue to paint, support and enjoy!!"

Animals are the subject that make up the major body of her work. The initial fascination animals held for her as a child still holds true today. "It's the wonderful aspects of their daily lives in their prospective habitats that I attempt to capture in my art work. It's the soulful essence of the individual and how that individual interacts with its surroundings are the stories I try to tell in my work. I paint primarily in oils which lends a certain sensuality and spark to my work. Breathing life into an idea or image and seeing it develop on canvas brings me so much joy. It is this joy that motivates me and spurs me on to create and learn more. This pursuit to learn more has led me to try my hand at more figurative work, portraiture,  sculpting and other mediums for expression. Learning, growing and evolving are all words that best describe me as an artist and as a person. The sheer joy and abundance the natural world holds has ensured me many more subjects to create with my art and therefore, more joy for me to capture and share. Being able to give back to the natural world is not only my honor as a wildlife artist, but also my responsibility. Educating and creating awareness of the fragility of wildlife and the environments they inhabit is my goal as a wildlife artist".

Suzanna's Background

Suzanne started her earlier years growing up in upstate New York , with a professional artist mother and a life surrounded by the things she loved most..animals and nature. It was the the perfect "cocktail" for a creative soul to embark in a career as a wildlife artist. Suzanne started painting professionally while she was still in high school, but never thought that being an artist was going to be the career path she would take. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Animal Science and pursued a career in cancer research at Vanderbilt University.  While at Vanderbilt, Suzanne still painted professionally in her home studio on the weekends but maintained her full time position in the lab during the week. After the birth of children and a move to Kingsport, Tennessee...Suzanne dedicated her time to raising children , doing nursery murals and pet portraits.  As the children grew and Suzanne had more free time, more of it was spent on advancing her studio art career.

Suzanne opened her art studio and gallery in downtown Kingsport in 2006 and has been successfully engaging with the public,  her client base and students  through her downtown site. Here at her art studio, Suzanne works with her many gifted students.  She holds her private classes during the day, working "one on one" with many gifted artists....several  of which are now painting professionally.  A few nights a month, she will hold adult group lessons where she covers a little art history along with a lot of fun painting.  When she isn't working with students, Suzanne can be seen painting at her easel, working on portraits,  a commission piece, figurative works, wildlife or what ever happens to move her.  It is in her "oasis" that she feels most at home and at peace.  

​Suzanne travels all over the country and BC meeting with zoos and taking lots of great reference photos for her next wildlife piece. Suzanne understands and appreciates the zoo's conservation efforts and does much to help advance their efforts by donating pieces that are sold in auctions and  fundraising events. The San Antonio Zoo, The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA, The National Zoo in Washington DC, The Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke VA, and many more zoos have benefited from the generous donations of Suzanne's work. Many of Suzanne's pieces hang in zoo's permanent collections throughout the country including the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois; The BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico; The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere in Tennessee  and the Dallas Zoo in Texas.  

Suzanne is member of many arts organizations including The Oil Painters of America, The Kingsport Art Guild and The Portrait Society of America.  She has shown in many juried and one man shows. Suzanne has volunteered her time and talents to many community projects including the Kingsport Carousel Project.  She now lives with her family in Kingsport, Tennessee and is living the dream. 

Visit Suzanna's AFC website.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(August, 2018)
(July, 2018)
(June, 2018)
(May, 2018)
(April, 2018)
(March, 2018)
(February, 2018)
(January, 2018)
(December, 2017)
(November, 2017)
(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
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