Imagine waking up every morning feeling like it’s Christmas. For Oklahoma City artist Suzanne Wallace Mears, that is exactly how she describes her work.

“I am passionate about art from the minute I wake up to when I go to bed,” says Mears. “Hours fly by when I am in my studio.”

Art is meant to invoke an emotional response from its viewer. The purpose of Mears’ bold, colorful, contemporary style is to convey positivity, says the artist.

“My work is bold, colorful, contemporary abstractions of reality, a joyous celebration of life,” she says.

Her work’s upbeat nature is readily obvious. Two of her kiln-formed glass pieces will be at the new Oklahoma Cancer Center, part of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

“I am very excited to have my work be in a place where people are going through so much,” says Mears. “People have told me my work makes them feel good when they look at it. It’s my purpose.”

Watching Mears in action just might create some emotions as well. A self-described “messy painter,” Mears is hands-on in all aspects of her work.

“I am a paint slinger,” says Mears. “I even paint with hands instead of a brush.”

This tactile approach shapes her business sense, too.

“I wear a lot of hats,” explains Mears. “I want to be hands-on with all parts of my art. I used to have more than 25 galleries from coast to coast. It was fun to do all that. But now I want to be more in-depth with my pieces.”

Mears reduced the number of galleries to take on a more local approach. You can find her work at the Howell Gallery in Oklahoma City and at Joseph Gierek Fine Art in Tulsa. She also has pieces at galleries in New Mexico and Arizona.

“I also have a space in a showroom in the Paseo District downtown (in Oklahoma City),” adds Mears.

Art has always had a place in Mears’ heart. She still remembers her first piece, a totem carved out of soapstone all the way back in grade school.

College was a bit of an artistic renaissance for Mears. She began taking formal instruction and chose art as her major. After college, Mears became a certified teacher and worked as an art teacher in Iowa.

“It was so rewarding to see the progress and fun (my students) were having,” reminisces Mears.

Family brought Mears to Oklahoma.

“We bought a bank,” explains Mears. “My father-in-law was a bit of a visionary. He saw potential in Oklahoma that many others didn’t see at that time.”

Home for many years now, Mears is an Oklahoman, despite what it says on her birth certificate.

“My art career has been formed here,” says Mears. “I consider myself an Oklahoman even though I was born in Iowa.”

Teaching still has a place in her life.

“I periodically teach private lessons to children and adults,” says Mears. “Sometimes when people buy a piece of (my glasswork) I invite them to my studio to create a piece of their own. I love teaching them how it all works.”

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