Susan Matthews


Self Portrait by Susan Matthews

I am a painter and percussionist from Oakland, California. My current paintings are based on experiences in traditional communities of Cuba and Niger. I have traveled to Cuba often since 1995 to study music and folklore. Inspired by the flourishing traditions on the island, I have done an extensive series of paintings on the subject of folkloric music and dance.

In the summer of 2004 I spent three weeks in Niger, West Africa. I was impressed by the beauty and energy of the people I met, and from snap shots I created a series of gilded portraits of Hausa and Fulani farmers and herdsmen from the Sahel, just south of the Sahara. Because of their formal, idealized poses and gold, copper and silver leaf backgrounds, the portraits recall the Byzantine icons of Russia and Greece.

I have a BFA from UC Berkeley, and an MFA from San Francisco State University. My work has been exhibited throughout the greater Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Havana. I teach Drawing and Painting at the College of San Mateo, and at Maybeck High School in Berkeley. I am a member of an all female vocal and percussion ensemble called Ojala.






Secrets Under The Skin

Exhibition History

Artist Statement


Purchase Artwork



©2000 - 2013 Susan Matthews All rights reserved. Images and content from this site may not be reproduced in any form or media without the permission of the artist. Post: Susan Matthews Oakland California USA 94607 email:

Web Design and Build: Kimberly Kradel email: kimba AT artist-at-large DOT com