About The Artist
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Susan Wakeen was raised by two creative parents who encouraged the pursuit of an art career. Growing up in Avon Connecticut, a favorite part of her childhood was drawing and painting.
Wakeen attended Central Connecticut State University, majoring in math and psychology. For many years she taught Special Education in Brookline and Waltham, Massachusetts. Always with sketchbook and pencil close by, the reality of being a fine artist seemed far reached. Her twin sister Sandra encouraged her to look for a means to start studying art more seriously. She started with evening courses at the Boston School of Fine Art; later studying with Joshua Graham and Dorothy Lepler, who would become influential in teaching her discipline, observation, and control. Wakeen continued her studies at the Scottsdale Artist School with world renowned instructors including Betty Patt Gatliff, noted artists Rosalind Cook, and Tuck Langland, among others.
In 1982 Wakeen debuted her sculptures and dolls in New York City at the International Toy Fair. She was instantly recognized for her outstanding work and awarded "Doll of The Year" for her sculpture of “Jeanne”. Wakeen was offered a position at Hasbro Toys in Pawtucket Rhode Island as senior designer and contributed greatly to the growth of the doll design department.
Wakeen soon began creating sculptures of babies which led to the founding of the Susan Wakeen Doll Company Inc. For over 25 years she was recognized by her peers and collectors as one of the top artists in her field; and was honored with more than 48 nominations and awards in the industry including "Doll of the Year" and "The Award of Excellence." During this period she would travel to Italy, China, and Spain to perfect her artistry.
After twenty-eight years in the doll industry, and with encouragement from her husband, family, and friends, Wakeen turned her attention completely to the fine art of sculpture. For the past twelve years she has been pursuing a career as a full-time sculptor. Her work has been Nationally and Internationally awarded the highest of honors and recognition. Susan Wakeen’s sculptures are now found in homes, and museum collections throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
"I have felt it important to teach and carry forward aII that I been fortunate to be taught. Although I will always consider myself a student, my studio is a grounding place, a place to realize how important it is to feel, and not take for granted the gift of having a passion and being able to share, so that others may explore their passion"
For Wakeen each new sculpture brings challenges unique to the subject. The feeling and design of these sculptures are consistent with the tenderness of the moment, while at the same time, are able to survive decades of observation.
November 2019 Wakeen will be teaching a workshop at Brookgreen Gardens which will concentrate on learning to sculpt the figure in motion.
Susan's sensitivity and style expressed in clays and beautiful bronzes are currently in the homes of collectors and museums throughout the world. Susan lives in Litchfield Connecticut with husband Biil and son, Kenny. She has a charming country studio where she teaches and sculpts.