Suzan Pitt was born and grew up in Kansas City, MO. In 1965 she graduated with a BFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art and since then has lived and worked in Europe, Mexico, New York and is currently living in Los Angeles.
One person exhibitions of her paintings have been presented at The Ginza Art Space in Tokyo, The Whitney American Museum of Art, Holly Solomon Gallery NY, Cantor-Lemberg Gallery Detroit, Hans Mayer Gallery Dusseldorf, and the Delahunty Gallery NY among many others. “My paintings are composed to create a kind of visual poem in which the eyes can move from image to image imagining their suggested relationships or lack thereof… some collide and some bond. The entire painting is a thematic work made of parts which create a whole. The paintings are not intended to “stand still” but to create a kind of passive/electric panorama of association, a pictorial tableau much like our thoughts.”
In 1968 she began making animated films which were inspired by her paintings “My painted images seem to have a past and future and through animation I could imagine and dramatize their stories”. Her film "ASPARAGUS"'premiered in an installation at the Whitney Museum in 1979 and ran for two years with David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD in the midnight shows at the Waverly Theater and the NuArt theater in Los Angeles. A retrospective of Suzan Pitt’s prize-winning animated films was presented in 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her paintings and films are in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, The Museum of Modern Art, The Stedeliik Museum Amsterdam and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Los Angeles. Her animated films have been featured at hundreds of prestigious venues around the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Ottawa International Animated Film Festival, the Morelia International Film Festival, and the Image Forum Film Festival in Tokyo.
Pitt designed the first two operas to include animated film images for the opera stage – She designed the sets, 35mm film projections, and costumes for the State Opera of Wiesbaden (The Magic Flute) in 1983 and the Hamburg State Opera (The Damnation of Faust) in 1988 in Germany. In addition, she created large multimedia shows at the Venice Biennale and Harvard University.
A member of the COLAB artist collective in New York she painted her first coats for the Amore store and the Times Square Show in the early 1980's. Her original concept was to express New York “Street” culture turning images of popular culture into walking pictures imbedded in the graffiti and lower east side flux of downtown New York.
During the 1990's Pitt traveled by kayak and horseback to remote areas of rainforest in Mexico and Guatemala with a Fulbright Scholar award where she made paintings of virgin rainforest which were presented at the Guatemalan American Institute. These travels were the inspiration for her animated films “JOY STREET” (1995) and “EL DOCTOR” (2006).
Her passionate interest in nature led to a public works grant from the NEA to create a permanent 36’ mural of the endangered species of Wisconsin in the historic US post office in Fountain City Wisconsin. “Artrain”, an 85’x7’ mural commission (painted train cars which traveled in the United States during the summer 1986) was sponsored by the Michigan Arts Council and also in 1996 she created “Portrait of Detroit,” a 21’x7’ mural for the Whitney Building, Detroit, Michigan. She created “Artists for Nature” – A portfolio of silkscreen prints commissioned by the Columbus Group in Munich, Germany to raise money for rainforest preservation which was exhibited at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
A former Associate Professor at Harvard University, Pitt has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship and three production grants from the National Endowment of the Arts.