Susanna Leite Cromwell was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1985 to Cape Verdean immigrants. Growing up she heard stories of life on the islands and the other tropical places her parents grew up in which inspired her ideas for future adventures and a more simple life.
In 2009 Susanna married a “surfer boy” raised in Hawaii and moved to Haleiwa, Oahu to start her own island adventures. Today Susanna and her husband Reed live in Maui with their four fruit-tree-climbing children. Reed works alongside Susanna to create frames using natural materials that compliment her artwork. Susanna’s artwork consists mostly of printmaking inspired by the island’s flora, fauna, and ocean life.
“I find paradise in the untouched.
Where the blue skies meet the water, where no sign of human alteration can be seen in my line of vision. I find paradise when I am far enough into the forest for the trees to be louder than any motor. I find it when I look up from the ocean bottom and see the waves rolling above my head. I find it high in the foggy wet mountains looking down into the lush valleys with its winding rivers. And I find paradise in the silence of Haleakala when I stop my steps and even my breath to just listen.
And then there is the untouched laugh of a six month baby. And the unedited communication between to souls longing to be understood- who have put their phones away to truly be there with each other. And a child who has come to you for nothing more than to be held. These elements of life which are as natural as birds sheltering their children under their wings, are also paradise to me.
Creation at its purest… that is paradise to me- the closest to heaven that I know.
It is from here that I seek inspiration for my art. I cannot improve nature so I seek to bring attention to it, bring it into the home, and hopefully bring people out of their homes in search of the natural. The opihis on the rocks teach us to hold fast. The expansive life below the ocean's surface reminds us that our understanding goes beyond ourselves. The weightless butterflies remind us of the potential of embracing change. And the flowers remind us that life is more wonderful than the practical.”