Susan Sommer Biography (alias Susan Sommer-Luarca)
Susan Sommer is one of the world’s most renown equine artists, but she also excels in varied subject matter in any number of different mediums and styles. She has been recognized throughout the art world for her abstracts to realism, fine art paintings, and sculptures.
She grew up on a ranch in southwest Missouri. A self-taught artist, she was drawing and painting the many horses on the farm with great attention to detail at a very young age. Susan has now been painting fine works of art for more than thirty years, capturing humankind, wildlife, all things equine, and the world around us.
Early in Susan’s career, she was an artist for Bass Pro Shops headquarters in Springfield, MO. She then traveled extensively for Bass Pro, creating giant works of art across the country during their corporate nationwide expansion.
Official Olympic Artist
Susan was chosen to be the Official Olympic Artist for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and for the United States Equestrian Team during the 2016 RIO Olympics.
Official Triple Crown Artist
Susan was chosen to paint at all three Triple Crown horse races becoming the first artist to do so in a single season. She has painted at the Breeders Cup World Championships and the Travers at Saratoga in New York. She was honored recently as the Official Triple Crown artist and is the Official Artist for Jockey Victor Espinoza. Susan was the Official Artist for American Pharoah during his bid for the Triple Crown. She has also been the Official Artist of many Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners, including California Chrome, I’ll Have Another, Big Brown, and Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah.
Susan has been commissioned to create sculptures of renowned subjects such as Seattle Slew and his jockey Jean Cruget, and just recently completed commissioned life-sized bronzes of a national/world champion Arabian horses in California and Missouri. Susan’s sculptures capture human and animal life from table-top sized pieces to life-sized and larger than life. Susan also was recently commissioned to create and hand-paint a custom life-sized Thoroughbred sculpture, painting and metal work for the new luxury hotel Cambria in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Susan also custom created a unique series of 7 sculptures depicting the history of Wine making for the 7 niche’s in the Wine Cave at the estate of Primatara Thoroughbreds, among other great sculptures for the client, and many more.
Susan was invited to paint at Super Bowl XLII in 2008 by the NFL. She completed two paintings LIVE of the competing quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tom Brady, and those paintings were unveiled on FOX “Super Bowl Sunday” to millions of television viewers worldwide. In 2003, Susan was commissioned to create Official Paintings for the P.G.A. Nationwide Tour. She was the first woman chosen for this distinguished honor. Susan was honored again when she was chosen in 2004. Both paintings were inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in Susan’s Home state of Missouri. Recently, Susan was commissioned to paint Jack Nicklaus and his son and caddy Jack Nicklaus II. Her painting resides in his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Susan was also invited to join the Nicklaus’s in their Florida home to sign the 99 Limited Edition Giclee prints in unison with Jack and Jack II for WorldServe International. Most recently, Susan is honored to be named Official Artist of Sports Illustrated Resorts, coming soon across the USA!
Notable Projects and Honors
Susan was afforded the honor to paint in the presences of Queen Elizabeth II. NASA invited Susan to paint LIVE to commemorate the last space shuttle launch of Discovery, at Cape Canaveral, she is the only artist in history to have this honor. Susan also joins the late Thomas Kincaid as the only two artists in history to be invited to paint the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree LIVE in New York City. Susan received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York City (detailed under National Recognition below) In addition, in Susan’s hometown of Springfield, MO, Susan has had many honors including 417 Magazine’s “Best Artist”, several times running, and Springfield Business Journal’s “20 Most Influential Women” as well as “Springfield’s 12 People You Need to Know” to name a few. Susan is also honored as the premier artist for PRIMATARA Thoroughbreds, completing multiple paintings, murals and sculptures for its new 80,000 square foot mansion and wine cave, one of the largest homes in the USA.
Susan received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York City. She joins past Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients which includes six Presidents of the United States, Nobel Prize winners and others whose work has made a lasting impact on humanity. Susan’s work has been seen and aired by many of the national media outlets including NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, New York Times, LA Times, LIFE and People Magazine just to name a few. Susan and Sheryl Crow performed LIVE together on stage during a special performance in 2013. Susan’s unique ability to perform her art LIVE for high profile events is much sought after.
In 2006, Susan started her own wildlife conservation and preservation foundation. Susan is committed to her vision of garnering awareness to the preservation of wildlife and its natural habitat. In support of this mission, some of Susan’s paintings of wildlife are regularly sized to huge multi-story indoor and outdoor murals. Susan’s own farm in Rogersville, Mo, is home for rescues including OTTBs and many other animals. She also fulfilled a dream when she bred and raised a Thoroughbred stallion on her farm and then raced him at tracks across the country including where he was based at historic Churchill Downs.
Susan served as a board member, national spokesperson, and helps raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Susan began the first “Memories in the Making” painting therapy for Alzheimer’s patients in southwest Missouri. Her mother was stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Thanks to the program, this therapy is now benefiting many patients yearning to express themselves. As the Official Artist of the Cattle Baron’s Ball, Susan provided painting therapy for children suffering with the disease by creating an original art piece with them and their families each year. Her tremendous efforts benefited the largest fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society. Susan has lost several family members and friends to cancer, including her parents, so this cause is also very near to her heart. Susan is also honored as the Official Artist for WorldServe International, her continued efforts help bring fresh water wells to thousands of people in Africa and also to the Navaho Nation of the USA.
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