Susie Parry. biography

Fine Artist | Registered Art Teacher | Art Therapist Registered
Dip. Art & Design, Grad.Dip.Edu., BA Psych & Soc., MA (Ath)

Susie‘s interest in art began as a form of self-expression, which has led to a long and successful career as an artist, art teacher and art therapist. Over the years, Susie completed a Diploma in Art & Design, majoring in painting at Prahran College of Advanced Education, a Graduate Diploma in Education at Hawthorn State College, a BA majoring in Psychology and Sociology at Swinburne University and a Master of Art Therapy at La Trobe University. Susie has held successful exhibitions of her artwork, been commissioned to complete book illustrations, murals, portraits and botanical artworks, has many years experience teaching both secondary students and adults and has spent 10 years practising as an art therapist, specialising in working with children diagnosed with cancer and palliative care.


School Years: Susie Parry first became interested in art as a very young girl. The youngest of six children, in a household experiencing wellness and illness in equal measure, Susie’s artwork became a form of self-expression and it became her voice. She was encouraged to paint and draw throughout primary and secondary school, winning many art awards. She was always encouraged by her parents to be true to herself, thus her choice to pursue her career as an artist was reinforced.

University Years & Loss of Loved One: At sixteen, Susie attended Prahran College of Advanced Education, majoring in painting. She also attended lectures in psychology, her other area of passion. Susie believed that in order to paint people, it was important to have a good understanding of any complex underling issues. Susie was particularly interested in individual “personas” and how people presented themselves to the world. At the age of seventeen, the tragic death of Susie's sister closest in age had a profound impact on her philosophy of life and future studies.

Early Working Life & New Directions: During her final year at Prahran, Susie received a teaching scholarship that required her to complete one to two years art related Industrial Experience and a 3-year Education Department bond. Susie worked as an illustrator for approximately 12 months as part of her Industrial Experience. She then travelled throughout Europe for a further 6 months visiting many galleries. Upon returning to Australia, Susie completed a Graduate Diploma in Education before returning to Belgium for 5 months the following year. At that time, art was very much alive among young people. In Belgium, Susie spent her time exploring and capturing what she felt was the "essence" of that culture in the form of photography. She then worked on translating her photographs into photo-realistic paintings. Susie held a successful exhibition of the images of people she encountered both in Belgium and Australia.

Artwork, Teaching & Freelance Artist Career: During the following 12 years, Susie taught Years 7 to 12 Art in secondary schools. She also worked as a freelance artist and held numerous well-received exhibitions. Susie studied several personal development courses still reflected in some form in her artwork today. Susie left teaching to commence a career as a freelance artist, completed a business course specifically tailored for artists and received a 12 month grant in this area.

Psychology, Art Therapy & Adult Learning: Susie later studied Psychology and Sociology at Swinburne University and a Masters of Art Therapy at La Trobe University. During this time, she resumed teaching adults and VCE students. Susie designed and taught short courses in drawing and painting at TAFE Colleges and Universities at night.

Cancer Experience & Art Therapy Employment: Susie Susie completed her BA and Masters Degree whilst dealing with cancer and feels in many ways her personal cancer experience deepened her work commitment. Susie has been working as an art therapist now for more than 10 years in various roles.  She was employed part-time for 7 years in a community based palliative care service. For over 5 years until recently, Susie worked as an art therapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in the Children’s Cancer Centre (CCC).  Her role involved working with children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer, offering art therapy sessions to families and carers,  conducting support group sessions for CCC nursing staff and giving many art therapy presentations.  Recently, Susie also presented papers at both the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology / Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) conference in Adelaide and at the Art in Therapy conference at Dunkeld in the Grampians.

Cancer Experience & Sudden Loss of Loved One: Due to a recent recurrence of her cancer and the tragic loss of another sister, Susie has spent considerable time reflecting and evaluating her life, ordering the things that she values most and drawing upon the things that inspire her as an artist. Susie thus returns to practising as an artist, art teacher and art therapist with renewed enthusiasm and vigour, clarity and inspiration.