Celebrating the arts in Brome-Missisquoi
Featuring Alisa Sushko
By Rhiannon Day
Alisa Sushko wears many hats: immigrant, accountant, student, wife. After years of patience and persistence, Sushko now finds herself with a new role, that of an artist. Sushko, a native Ukrainian, came to Canada in 2002. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in finance in Ukraine, Sushko pursued an accounting degree and finalized her CPA certification in Canada. However, Sushko mentions always being interested in art, despite her educational focus on the financial sector. The artist took many art classes in her primary years, yet had to stop later in life due to the demanding nature of school, work, and her personal life. A defining moment in her artistic development was when she met Mark Zimmerl, her now husband, a successful painter and ceramic artist within the Eastern Townships area.
Zimmerl introduced Sushko to the artistic process. Due to his support, Sushko pursued art courses during her college years in a two-year studio program that prepared her for university. There, Sushko started with the basics, and was introduced to many supportive and helpful teachers. Sushko later moved on to Concordia University, predominantly for their painting program. However, after her exposure to ceramics and drawing, Sushko found her new passion. This artist speaks highly of the ceramics department and the encouragement they provide. Sushko is now pursuing a major in ceramics, and hopes to be able to return to the studio at CU once the pandemic regulations ease. She looks forward to once again working in the welcoming atmosphere and with the motivating professors.
Sushko attributes her main catalyst of pursuing art to her husband. As he has been showcased with the Tour des Arts for over 20 years, Sushko has been well exposed to the art scene and commissions process. Yet, as a perfectionist, Suhsko found it difficult to display her work to the public. But after years of encouragement, Sushko was finally able to do the Tour des Arts and showcase her craft alongside her husband, with her first year in person this past summer. She mentions thinking that she “would never have applied without his support”. During the Tour des Arts, Sushko was able to meet with enthusiastic clients, give workshops in ceramics, specifically that of the raku technique, and found herself with numerous commissions following the tour.
Sushko draws inspiration for her art from nature. She loves Monet, impressionist paintings, and classic art. This is evident within her landscape paintings, and the ceramic pieces of a variety of different animals and human figures. Sushko finds that the drawings and paintings she creates help develop her art in other forms, specifically the skills of observation and persistence. She especially favors plein air painting, finding it stimulating, especially with the freedom of colour and expression. These skills transition over to her preferred mode of art, large ceramic sculptures. She loves working with clay due to its versatility, and the fact that there is always variability within the product made, even if it is of the same animal.
Sushko looks forward to working on larger ceramic pieces for next year’s Tour des Arts. Currently she is working on commissions, yet anticipates the ability and time to experiment with her craft, exploring with new recipes, animals, and techniques. As well, Sushko is looking to go back to school and complete her degree at Concordia, while taking advantage of the large kilns, inviting and inspiring classmates, and well-equipped studio space.
Alisa Sushko invites all to explore her website at aplpiniastudio.com to learn more about her work, as well as contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries on workshops and commissions.
This project has been made possible by the Community Media Strategic Support Fund offered jointly by the Official Language Minority Community Media Consortium and the Government of Canada.