It's amazing what a positive attitude can achieve. For freelance illustrator and designer Beth Suzanna, an upbeat outlook on life helps her to create playful works that capture the people and places around her, and which is "uplifting and easy for anyone and everyone to engage with."
Based in Bristol, Beth is a recent illustration graduate from UWE who has already been featured in D&AD New Blood's One to Watch showcase, plus she's been singled out as one of AOI's 10 UK illustration graduates to watch in 2020. And by looking at her tactile collages and expressive pastel work, it's easy to see why she's making waves and racking up clients such as Ms Magazine, Oxfam and Teen Vogue.
Whether they're carefully cut out of card and expertly layered up or deftly drawn on the page and enhanced by careful colour choices, there's a personal, human touch to Beth's work that stands out in an increasingly digital landscape. "A lot of my work revolves around people, and I have a lot of love for the characters I create," she tells Creative Boom. "In a world where so much is automated and impersonal, it's important for my work to feel made and intimate."
This passion for people sees Beth depict moments we might take for granted in the most beautiful ways. Take her Hair is Care series, a self-directed project where she portrays the intricate and intimate nature of hair care in the Afro-Caribbean community or her sketchbook pages where a quiet moment of contemplation on a cafe table is recorded for posterity.
Each pays special attention to small, well-observed details like the curl of a length of hair or the air swirling out of a coffee cup and gives them an added emphasis by realising them in heightened colours. It's a powerful combination of the relatable and the extraordinary.
As well as being heavily influenced by Matisse, David Hockney and Noma Bar, Beth also takes inspiration from "mundane colour combinations" found in the street, the buzz of places she visits, and the way music makes her feel. "Collage has been a great way for me to combine my love of colour and play with something direct and tactile," she adds.
Another integral component of Beth's work is a forward-thinking, positive outlook that goes hand-in-hand with her mission to become an advocate for diverse representation. "Creating work has been a big part of me exploring my own culture and celebrating my mixed-race identity," she reveals. "I'm passionate about diverse representation and try to carry that through in the work I made, taking a wider subject matter and making it digestible and engaging."