090619-art-Art and Soul image

To readers of a certain age, Susie Tenzer’s Game Changer may well constitute an audiovisual prodigy.

Audio? From a piece of purely visual art? Well, yes, quite blissfully so. More specifically, Tenzer’s 20- by 16-inch colored pencil delight should conjure a mental soundtrack that goes something like this: Spoing! Bing! Bing bing bing! K-chonk! Spang! Bap! Bap bap bap! Klonk!

Game Changer, of course, depicts one component of a device perhaps altogether alien to so-called digital natives: the playfield of a vintage pinball machine. Although many younger Americans nowadays game solely on handhelds or, perhaps, console rigs like the Xbox or PlayStation, “old-timers” may well still recall with a mix of fondness, frustration and sometimes fury the extemporaneous symphonies issuant from those colorful glass-topped cabinets, whether crafted by Williams Manufacturing, of Enterprise, Nevada, or D. Gottlieb & Co., of Chicago, or the beloved Bally Manufacturing, also, coincidentally, of Carl Sandburg’s City of the Big Shoulders.

Back in the day, quarter after quarter after quarter sent the device’s namesake sphere from the ball launch to the bumpers to a drop target to the paired slingshots to, inevitably, the out hole – and, naturally, another round.

Game Changer is part of my Nostalgia Series,” Tenzer, a St. Louisan, relates regarding the work reproduced here, which she created earlier this year. “It was recently juried into the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 2019 international exhibit in Brea, California.

“It’s a large piece for a colored pencil work, requiring over 500 hours of drawing. All of my still life drawings feature reflections and bright, saturated color. I spotted this vintage pinball machine in a museum in Seattle. I use my own photos for reference. I work every day in my studio, whether for competitions, commissions or galleries.”

According to her website, Tenzer studied fine art at Washington University in St. Louis, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After that, she served for an indeterminate time as a teacher, before retiring from that profession in 2004.

In addition to holding a signature membership in Aurora, Ohio’s Colored Pencil Society of America, mentioned earlier, Tenzer describes herself as “a member of the International Guild of Realism, a juried member of the Missouri Artisans Association and the Greater St. Louis Art Association,” organizations respectively headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona; Columbia; and Des Peres.

Tenzer continues by mentioning showcases in University City, St. Charles, Ballwin and Ladue: “I’m represented by Artisans in THE LOOP gallery and Missouri Artists On Main gallery. You can see my work at the Art Fair at Queeny Park, and my next solo show will be at The Ethical Society of St. Louis in October.”

Like many artists, she strives to transform the everyday into the eminent. “There’s something deeply personal about pausing at the ordinary and seeing what’s especially beautiful or meaningful or otherwise fascinating,” Tenzer says. “I love finding those moments which most people take for granted.

“I use my camera and seek out optimum perspectives. Then, with colored pencils, I work to capture the way the light plays with the angles and surfaces, capture these snapshots in time. What’s important to me is bringing you a sense of simple beauty, allowing you to see what I do – seeing the ordinary as extraordinary.”

To learn more about our featured artist, visit susietenzer.com.

St. Louis-area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to bhollerbach@laduenews.com with “Art and Soul” in the subject line.

Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.