From The Desk Of The Green Pajamas: Susanne Kelly

Like its Southern California influences in the Paisley Underground (Rain Parade, Three O’Clock), named as an homage to the psychedelic heyday of Jefferson Airplane and Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Green Pajamas must hold the world’s record for most albums (somewhere around 30) recorded by a band with the fewest number of live appearances (somewhere more than 30) over a career that has spanned almost 30 years. Jeff Kelly and Co. recently released longplayer Death By Misadventure via longtime Pajamas label Green Monkey. Kelly and bandmates Laura Weller and Eric Lichter will be guest editing magnet all week. Read our recent feature on them.

Kelly: My wife, the painter Susanne Kelly, constantly surprises me with her peculiar worlds made of oil paint, filled with strange characters, fantastical landscapes and weird animals. Even though she was brought up by Michael Dailey, famous for his abstract landscapes, Susanne mostly paints in a representational manner. There is a new painting in our hall at the moment of a strange, beautiful woman in some undefined state of trauma with giant bees, big red poppies and a brooding sky. One tends to ponder her work; there is a lot of mystery. This is normal stuff around here, and it is always exciting. The paintings are by no means small: Most will nicely fill up a wall.

Susanne is a creator whose most popular work over the years has proven to be her startling woodcut prints. Made large, of formal design and primitive edges, emotion is literally carved into the shadows and lights. Of all her work, the woodcuts are what most knock people out. But my favorite medium of Susanne’s is her drawing. As a child, she practiced drawing for countless hours as her father painted in his studio, which she now inhabits. The influence of her professor, the master Michael Spafford, is apparent in her sensuous line work. Still, Susanne’s studies in graphite are truly all her own, the compositions being sexy, sometimes disturbing but always powerful. I can’t help it—graphite lines excite me. I spent two years in art school and my lines were then and are now abysmal.

There are those few who can pick up a pencil and a piece of paper and draw magic. I’m lucky. I live with one of them.