Hand Painted Coats
"Flashers always look better from behind when they wear a one of a kind painted coat by Suzan Pitt" - Paper Magazine, 1984
I think of my painted coats as animated objects which can move about in the world - walking in the street, sitting at a bar, coming through a doorway, emerging from a car... Each coat is like no other - they are one of a kind artworks you can wear or hang on the wall. I'm inspired by images from popular culture (comics, advertising, historical paintings, trash, lettering found everywhere, and images from my films and watercolors). I love to juxtapose multiple images to create a chain of association to the viewer, much like my paintings but simpler - and I hope a coat will make someone happy - that the positive energy from the coat will surround the wearer and surprise those who see it.
I've been painting coats again since 2016.
I often think of the early painted subway paintings, labeled graffiti, which I saw when I lived in New York - the way the images pulled into the platform with a screech and then shot out again to disappear into the tunnel… animated paintings!
The genesis of the coats is the street… mirroring the fast junky littered signage of urban rumble. They were never intended to become “fashion”, although the fashion world in some ways has welcomed them. In downtown Los Angeles I love the way people wear almost anything - the idea is to show it off, become a part of the street. I hope the coats achieve something as cool as a man I saw down there recently wearing head to toe dollar signs!
The original coat paintings were painted in 1984 for The A More Store created by COLAB, an artist’s collaborative in New York. Later that year the coats were sold at Patricia Field’s 8th Street store, a Mecca of artists and designers including Keith Haring and Stephen Sprouse “pioneering the 1980's mix of uptown sophistication in clothing with a downtown punk and pop sensibility".