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Susan Yates is an artist & designer based in
Washington, DC

Artist & Designer

Cut: A Photo Series

The beauty and the destruction of form, not something to remember but something to experience.

I have a pure experimental approach to my works and let the imagery reveal a shape of recognition. I concentrate on the circumstances between visual destruction and emotional construction of the image. I find everything can be viewed as deteriorating or renewing, imperfection or completeness, and often as one in the same. This series gives me the pronouncement to fall apart and bring it all back together. Etching on my prints acts as a remembrance of what was once there in the frame, bringing structure to the crumbling details. Cut lines catch the image before it leaves or arrives, scratching the surface exposing weaker seams. This constant connecting and withdrawing  leaves a vast middle ground that is both heartbreaking and clarifying all at once. This habitual human ache in isolation forms a customary sparkle we are all involved in, which is my influence for this series of images.

Selected works

The Many Misfortunes of Mr. Glum

Silver Gealtin Print on Red Paper

The Great Escape

Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper


Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper

All of This

Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper


Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper

Cross Section

Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper

Thanks Yoko

Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper


Silver Gelatin Print on Red Paper

My work

About me.

Well, most people who know me understand I’m always working and don’t like to talk about myself. Feel free to contact me with questions, but for now, here are the basics.


I grew up in Florida and graduated from UNF studying Fine Art Photography, Art History and Music History. My work was accepted as part of the UNF permanent collection. I was lucky to have two inspiring professors, Paul Karabinis and Nofa Dixson. Paul introduced me to alternative processing in photography and it suited me perfectly, I’ve never looked back. I was quite shy in my classes, but Nofa noticed my work and motivated me to get serious with it. I met my husband in the Art department and we started working on art and design projects together nonstop. We moved to Washington, DC in 2000 and started our own design studio, Hybrid Studios.


I show in galleries as often as I can and I’m finishing a book of my artworks. Also, I own Hybrid Studios LLC, a graphic design boutique, with my husband and best friend Rich. We have a great space in the Carlyle building in Alexandria, Va. and have been in business since 2002. I teach high school students Studio Art, Graphic Design and HTML. I enjoy helping high schoolers prepare their portfolios for art school entry. I also teach college level creatives and interns how to support themselves in their art careers. Saving the best for last, I  am a mom to the best teenage son in the whole world, he’s my very favorite part of everyday:)


I prefer to stay present and not plan too far in the future, so I just wait and see. I always need to be creating something, so it’s easy for me to be present and lose track of time while working. I will always continue to be available to assist and educate younger artists any way I can. Otherwise, more art, more love, more music, more film, more hugs, more time, more life.


The Washington-based artist and design expert cut her teeth at several art collectives and galleries before launching her own shows in 2003. Inspired by artists and creatives, Susan explores facets of beauty, form and  remembrance through her provocative, deconstructed imagery.
What message do you want your art to convey?
“My artwork is about love, form, loss and the unknown. By creating my art I’ve learned to experiment and accept the space of the unknown. I can only hope people that join me in my work can feel the same way.”
How do you explore facets of form and beauty through your images?
“Exploring form and beauty is an essential part of my work and my creative process. I try to relate everything I do to my personal experiences. When things are authentic, people can connect to it more, they can feel that shared energy.”
Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to start creating art?
“I’ve always known I wanted to be some sort of creator. I’ve loved music, movies and art since I was a little girl. When I graduated high school, the choice to study music and art in college was obvious. After graduating, I moved to Washington and joined several group shows, before joining an artist collective called District of Ladies. At some point I realized that I needed to show my own work. There was something that I was looking for that wasn’t available in the DC area, so I decided to create it myself.”
How would you describe your signature creative elements?
“My main images, since the beginning of the series, has been red and black prints with cut white lines. Both the press and the buyers immediately fell in love with the look of The Many Misfortunes of Mr. Glum, so a lot of my creative elements come from that piece. I’ve been able to make the red, black and white imagery my signature. I bring these colors and deconstructed images into each series.”
What is your main source of inspiration?
“My inspiration is derived from music, old bw movies, theater and friends/family. I go to a lot of concerts, plays, galleries and museums regularly. Women always serve as an inspiration—women who are bold, ambitious and empowering. I am also inspired by teenagers- I have the coolest teenager in the world and he, along with his friends are the funniest, most inspiring people I’ve ever met. I teach high school students Studio Art, Graphic Design and Code, so I have a true belief that teens ultimately do rule the world. My husband is my very best friend and business partner, he inspires me everyday. We are lucky we get to travel abroad a lot as a family. Wherever we go and meet new people, it’s inspiring.”
What advice would you give to other creatives who are just starting out?
“My advice would be take up your space in the universe, but don’t stagnate. Create something new and simultaneously encourage others to keep moving forward to what is better than before. Love what you do and don’t make yourself small for anyone, ever. Trust the stars, the right people will find you at exactly the right time.”
What factors are the most important to you in creating your art?
“I hope there is meaning and intention behind everything I create. Helping younger creatives find their voice in art, or their chosen medium, is my favorite part of being involved in art. It’s important to me that I encourage other people to want to create something.”
What have been your biggest struggles and most gratifying moments?
“The biggest struggle was finding the right people to support my art and success. I’m lucky that I married my best friend and we have been working together on art projects together since the mid 90s. We have been running our own design studio for over 20 years together. The most gratifying moment for me is always when I see people viewing my images and I can tell they feel connected to that shared energy, it’s both addictive and beautiful.”
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I travel with my husband and son a lot (favs- Japan, Italy, California and New York). Otherwise, if I’m in town, I’ll check out shows whether its an exhibit, play or concert. Music and writing were my first loves, so I play cello and I write all the time. I’m currently writing a screenplay and editing my book. At home, I love watching old bw movies, listening to records, cooking and being cozy with a cup of tea. I prefer the city and call myself indoorsy, but I will go do outdoorsy things, just not by choice. If I’m going to the beach or the mountains, I’ll be relaxing with a drink enjoying the view, not necessarily scuba diving or hiking.
Yes! I think everyone has some sort of superpower:) One of mine would be holding people or animals so they can sleep. I’m naturally quiet and peaceful with a slow resting heart rate, so I can hold a baby, man, woman, cat or dog and have them purring and asleep within five minutes. If you are lucky enough to be held by my arms, you will have the most peaceful rest of your life. It’s like a meditation for me.

Let’s talk

2000 Duke Street, Ste 300
Alexandria, Va 22314