In just four years, Elizabeth Sutton has seemingly come out of nowhere to become an incredibly successful artist, designer, entrepreneur, and podcaster. Combining whimsy, lots of color and a big dose of humor into her work, it still remains sophisticated.
Raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish household in Brooklyn, Sutton married young and lost (almost) everything in a divorce. However, that’s not the only challenge she’s experienced on her way up. But, like her signature butterfly designs, she’s managed to come out of the cocoon of pain to a thriving business and beautiful new life.
Artist As Influencer
Elizabeth Sutton’s story isn’t that of a typical New York City artist. She didn’t rise through the ranks at Parsons, or another prominent art school. Rather, she began to create out of necessity. After getting married at 21, things began to fall apartment both with her marriage as well as financially. In the middle of renovating her apartment, she realized she wasn’t going to be able to afford the art she wanted. So, she decided to make her own.
Then, after a no-pressure arts and crafts day with a friend, she posted a few of her paintings to Instagram for fun. “Somebody sent me a message saying I love your art. I just moved, would you be interested in making me something? And I said sure, a little bit of time, a little bit of money, why not? And that’s really how my career started,” Sutton tells me.
But this wasn’t the first time there was interest in her work “Over the years, people have come to my apartment and saw the collages that I made and asked me to buy them. I didn’t take them seriously,” she reveals.
However, after realizing she could have a career in art, Sutton circled back. “I hit a bunch of them up and asked if they were still interested. Some of them said yes.”
Then things just began to happen. Sutton would leave her art in the lobby of her Upper East Side apartment while pulling her car around to transport her work for delivery. Women in her building would notice the art and ask the doormen where it came from. Sutton started to get clients.
In 2016, star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York, Ryan Serhant contacted Sutton to place her art in a new development in Tribeca. It ended up on the show, which was yet another win for the emerging artist.
Elizabeth Sutton Collection
Today, Sutton’s fine art and print collections fall into several categories: Animals, Geometrics/Patterns, Florals, Landscapes, Portraits, Quotes, and Butterflies, which are her signature. This design is used on her logo, packaging, and many of the other products she creates.
If there is another component of Sutton’s work that truly reflects who she is as a person, it’s her Quote line.
A large acrylic and glitter work reads: “Thank you Daddy. I appreciate your issues,” which is a tribute to the father who left her family as a teenager. She still doesn’t have a relationship with him.
Other pieces read “Dance Through The Pain,” and “Art Heals All Wounds,” which tell the story of the challenges she’s had in life such as her assistant and close friend tragically dying in a car accident the night of her birthday party a few years ago.
But perhaps the most telling piece is a black and white mixed media sign that reads “Life is fucking complicated.” What could be a better reflection of life right now?
Home Decor Line
Sutton isn’t just an artist, she’s a true creator whose designs can be integrated into any room of the home. She’s translated her butterfly logo into chic drawer knobs perfect for adding a touch of whimsy onto a dresser or étagère.
They’re even beautiful in a bathroom. Made of solid brass, the gold-plated pulls are available in gold, rose gold, and nickel finishes.
In addition to her decor line, Sutton also has a stunning fashion accessory collection with hand bags, handbag straps, belts and luggage tags.
Collaboration With Tile Bar
Her most successful collaboration to date has been with TileBar, which debuted during the 2019 Architectural Digest Design Show in New York and won Best In Show for wall treatments.
With six colorways in three formats, these polished marble tiles can have more than 100 different layouts. The style of these tiles, like everything else the artist does truly embodies elevated whimsy.
Paint Collection With Janovic
The same year, Sutton partnered with New York City paint institution Janovic on a line of Benjamin Moore paints inspired by her life called Shades of Grey, Autumn Allure, New York Goes to the Eden Rock, St. Barth’s, Earth Wind and Fire and Head in the Clouds.
To promote the collaboration, Sutton painted murals on the facades on four of Janovic’s buildings.
Blatt Billards Table
Sutton recently completed what she considers her most creative work to date— a custom built Blatt Billiards pool table. It features three different hand painted geometric abstractions, custom dyed and embossed Italian leather wrap around the base as well as printed felt featuring her noted artwork, Buy Yourself Roses. There are even custom balls with her trademark butterfly logo. “This table is my creative baby and included over 1000 hours of labor,” Sutton tells me. The price tag? $150000.
The Summer Of Staying Home
On July 22nd, Sutton launched a rug line featuring five different designs including a blue rose (which is rose-shaped), a round butterfly rug, a plaid rug as well as prisms and starbursts.
These are the artist’s signature designs in a combination of both bright and contrasting colors. Made of wool with a cotton foundation, these styles are more than accents, they’re true statement decor.
In addition to rugs, Sutton also launched an affordable line of 32 different placements in a variety of styles from floral to her signature butterflies, hot air balloons, and other animal designs.
Made of sustainably sourced materials, these disposable placemats are ideal for dinner parties and as Sutton personally knows, families with children.
As for the future, even after a challenging time, Sutton is incredibly optimistic. The artist tells me, “I am so grateful to have found something I truly love to do, something that fulfills me from the inside and makes me happy on the outside. I feel I am a much better role model for my children as well, having gotten more intelligent and confident thru my career, and I hope to instill these values into them—that with hard work and passion they can achieve their dreams. And of course, I am grateful for my team and my support system that provides me with the opportunities and assistance to make my dreams come true, one day at a time.”