How has music influenced your artwork and if you listen to music in your studio as you work, what are you listening to and why? Susan Schwalb



Susan Schwalb at work
Photo by Kelly Baisley

I admit that I need some sort of sound in order to create a barrier between me and the rest of my life so that I can focus on my work without distraction. I generally listen to the radio as opposed to playing records or CDs. Years ago I primarily chose classical stations, with opera my favorite “background” sound.

When NPR switched to talk radio and there became less and less choice, the talk programs, by default, became what I have on each day. However, when the news is too terrible for words, I play some of my husband Marty Boykan‘s beautiful CDs or those of other composer friends. I have collaborated with Marty on three different artist book projects and this is the most direct connection between my work and particular pieces of music.


Mesa III
Mesa-III, 2003
silverpoint, acrylic on paper on wood
24″x24″x2″
Image courtesy Robert Steele Gallery