Suzanne Heintz and her plastic love in Life Once Removed
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.
Suzanne Heintz, a local local photographer and self-proclaimed spinster, recently saw her mannequin family portraits go viral. But there's much more to Heintz, synthetic husband Chauncey and perpetually adolescent daughter Mary Margaret than meets the eye.
A New York expat and Starz art director, Heintz is the kind of person we all want to be friends with. That's because for the past fourteen years, she's been sending her friends and family the most delightfully bizarre holiday cards known to man.
"I'm so tickled pink to be able to explain what I'm doing and the point behind it," says Heintz, whose mannequin portraits, a long-term project she calls Life Once Removed, have been exhibited primarily through the U.S. Postal Service. And while they've been received with mixed emotion since gracing the Internet, behind all the hype is a message that resonates with almost everyone -- not just the "old" and single. (Heintz says she's old, but we disagree.)
"Life develops the way it develops, and you need to love it for what it is," says the artist. Her mother has been bugging her about marriage for the better part of two decades now. But whether it's marriage or babies or more babies or more money or a better job or a better house, there is always something else we all could be doing. And that's the beautifully simple point behind Life Once Removed: "We are enough," says Heintz.
She calls the mannequins "a Eureka moment." About fifteen years ago, Heintz and her mom were going at it. "Nobody's perfect," Heintz's mother told her. "If you are going to get married, you'll just have to pick somebody."
To that, Heintz responded: "Mom, it's not like I can go out and buy a family and make it happen."
Or could she? Later that fateful night, Heintz flew back to Denver and found herself walking past a retail liquidation outlet. That's when she saw a row of mannequins for sale and realized, "I can buy a family!"
Keep reading for more of Suzanne Heintz.