Wall Street Grill
It was Monet who said, “Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment,” but for the self-taught artist, Elizabeth Sutton, color was her savior. Following a divorce and personal losses, Sutton looked to color and patterns as a creative outlet, which she turned into a thriving business, with projects flying in as fast as they are out.
In her past life, Sutton spent most of her time as a stay at home mom. She loved to cook and entertain guests, and with time on her hands, Sutton created a few unique and original pieces for her home—little did she know, it would turn out to be a part of something bigger. Many of her guests took notice of the artworks, some even requesting their own, but at the time, Sutton didn’t think much of it.
In Oct. 2015, she picked up a paintbrush and started a love affair with knife and tape. She wanted to create artwork for her son’s nursery after experiencing losses in her life and began creating her first geometric abstraction. “I put the piece up on Instagram and got great feedback,” she said with a laugh before adding, “then I started to hustle.”
Sutton contacted everyone who had shown interest in the past and created personalized pieces for them. She left her works in the lobby of her building before delivering to clients, which garnered interest in passers-by, who commissioned their own pieces. But it wasn’t until Jan. 9th 2016 when Ryan Serhant, an American real estate salesperson and reality television star featured on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York contacted Sutton with a proposal.
“He said, ‘Liz, I’m staging a few units in a high-end development and I need 12 pieces in 3 weeks’,” said Sutton. At this point, Sutton was on a plane to Costa Rica for her son’s first birthday but knew she couldn’t turn down the opportunity. She posted an ad on Craigslist looking for an art assistant and got to work when she returned to New York. “I found Mike, who is still with me, he’s over there,” she said pointing to the man painting in her studio. “We worked mostly at my dining table just painting for the next few weeks,” she said. Despite the deadline, Sutton and Mike pulled through and the project was featured on the show, which provided good publicity for the brand. “It was during these 3 weeks that I developed many of my techniques—including my signature butterflies.”
With a degree in business administration and marketing from Baruch College, Sutton carved out a business plan that is as sprightly and industrious as she is. Her most recent venture with TileBar saw her winning Best in Show Wall at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City. “My art is all about balance, scale, patterning, depth, perspective, coloration and contrast,” said Sutton, who added, “Those are all elements that are important in tile design.” As for the inspiration for the collection, she thanks a clutch. Sutton pulled out a sparkly box clutch with a bright rainbow arced to the lower right side. “This is it. I was sitting at my table and thought this would be a great tile if I changed the scale and coloration,” she said.
Sutton created three luxury marble collections: Timeless, Wing and Art collection—with two to five color variations per collection. “My arc collection is the most fascinating tile you have ever seen, it creates 1200 pattern variations,” she said.
Her wing collection is the most artistic of all the collections. Sutton explained the importance of her trademark butterfly and its importance in her life. “I went through a lot of transformation in my life, so I wanted to make sure I incorporate that element into my designs, even though it’s not something you would usually see on a tile.” Although, Sutton enthusiastically added that the tile in her Wing Collection would look great in a hotel lobby and the entire collection can be done with or without butterflies.
Her love for patterns on pattern is enough to make others sick, but as she explains it, her brain is like a kaleidoscope, she recognizes patterns that not many others can see.
Sutton’s goal is to see her tile in hotels, restaurants and homes but would like to focus on the hospitality industry. Before becoming an artist, Sutton enjoyed cooking—she looked into catering and a career as a chef before the paintbrush found her. Even though most of her days are spent creating, Sutton continues to feel strongly about hospitality and aims to include that in her business plan. “In anticipation of all the new endeavors I’m undertaking, I’m also launching a blog. I have a lot of creative interests, and I wanted to showcase that versatility to people who are supporting me and following me on my journey. I also miss cooking—like, a lot. In fact, I want my next licensing deal to be in tableware. My dream is to be an international household name in the world of fine art and design,” she said then confidently added, “it’s going to happen.”
Despite working the TileBar project, launching a blog, and designing a leather collection—set to unveil later in the year—Sutton recently worked on artwork and installation at the newly opened Wall Street Grill. Her installation of butterflies flourishes up a stairwell on the inside, while the outside features ‘New York Born and Raised, an original commission of the Wall Street Bull bespoke for the restaurant. “As a resident New Yorker, it didn’t occur to me that the bull was a tourist attraction, so the first time I went to take the photo was on a sunny Saturday afternoon and I couldn’t even get near the bull to capture the shot. So, the next time I went was 4 am in the morning,” she said. Much like her favorite historic artist, Monet, Sutton plays with light and also ratio perspective, scales and color palettes to see how it impacts an artwork of the same image.
Dubbed by many as the next Andy Warhol, Sutton’s firecracker energy, kaleidoscope perspective and knack for design has made a mark on the contemporary pop art scene in New York and beyond.