THESIS

A City of Ladies

  • A City of Ladies

    No mother can be all things to a child. When that child grows up wanting to be an artist, she may need creative mothers to help her along the way. Sometimes those mothers are people she meets in real life, and sometimes they are women she knows only through their biographies, letters, diaries, and creative work.

    In a series of personal visual narratives that form a memoir in essays, Susanne investigates how some of her many chosen mothers have guided her thinking about issues she has faced as woman and an artist—friendships with other women, relationships with men, the decision whether or not to have children, how to live a creative life, the purpose of life, and growing older.

    These explorations are organized and shared with the reader through a website that serves as a portal to an imaginary city inspired by the one medieval writer Christine de Pizan (one of Susanne’s creative mothers) built in her 1405 Book of the City of Ladies.

    Christine de Pizan understood her city as a place to which she and others could travel to whenever they needed a community of women to defend, support, inspire, and uplift them. The stories she collected in it were biographical.

    Susanne’s city is a space she created to organize, store, and share her experiences and memories. In it, she collects personal narratives through which she processes and understands her own world and experiences. In sharing them, she hopes her city of ladies serves as a place of connection and contemplation, and is a catalyst for readers to think about their own experiences, their own chosen mothers.

A close up photo of Susanne Reece standing outside of an old building with beige walls and brown doors on the street.

Susanne Reece

Susanne is a Texan-New Yorker, cartoonist, and illustrator, who draws, paints, makes prints, and tells stories. Raised in Texas, she had already decided two things by the time she was 4 years old: that she wanted to be an artist and live in New York City. It was a long, circuitous route, but eventually, she accomplished both. Before settling in New York, Susanne spent approximately one million years in graduate school, studying art history, with a focus on visual narrative in Medieval and Renaissance art. She scampered down from the ivory tower to work as a copywriter in advertising. Susanne makes comics, zines, prints, and illustrations, and works both digitally and old- school on paper, depending on the task. Her work frequently explores issues related to women and pop culture. She also likes drawing pictures of animals, because squee! Susanne's mentor is Andrea Tsurumi