I was born in New York City and raised
on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My life was shaped by the experience
of the city.
I attended the Dalton School. After graduation,
I was accepted into the four-year diploma program at the School of the
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. I also received my B.F.A.
from Tufts University, Medford, MA. Consequently, my formative experiences
in the arts were shaped by the urban landscapes of two great cities.
The next stage of my development was influenced by a radically different
vision. I left the East Coast to live on the Native American reservations
(Lakota Sioux) of South Dakota. Later, I spent time on a Navajo reservation
and among the Pueblo cultures of New Mexico and Arizona. Thus I absorbed
the spiritual and cultural traditions of both the Great Plains and the
Southwest. This period in my life culminated in my formal study in the
studio arts department of the University of Minnesota where I received
my M.F.A. degree in 1990.
Immediately after graduating, I left for Alaska. For five years I lived
in the heart of Alaska, in Fairbanks, traveling to remote villages along
the Yukon River and the Arctic Coast. I was immersed in both the Athabascan
Gwich'in and Inupiaq Inuit communities. My work was shown in local galleries
and eventually in a one-woman show of 57 of my paintings at Alaska's leading
museum, The Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Subsequently, this museum
added eight of my paintings to its permanent collection.
In a dramatic contrast to Alaska, I moved to Hawaii where I lived and
painted for three years. I engaged not only the vivid tropical environment
of Hawaii, but its many cultures, especially the Native Hawaiian and Asian
I now maintain my studio
in Oklahoma City, OK and I am also active in the Native American community with my husband, Steven Charleston. He is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He is a writer and my paintings are on the covers of all his books at Red Moon Publications.
© Copyright 2004 - 2012 Suzanne Charleston
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