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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Cellar Stairs”Cellar Stairs

    Tragedy as the tornado rips through a building in "The Circus and the Cyclone" Acrylic ink and watercolor, measuring 10.5" x 13.5"

Sue Lawton

  • Art
  • Literature
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artist bio

Sue Lawton was born and raised in the Milwaukee area and has been drawing for as long as she can remember. After receiving her BFA in 2002, she has been working extensively with images that tell stories. From discarded card catalogs to the opera to Wisconsin circus lore, she seeks to tell her own story through exaggerated, lavish romance and a quirky twist of humor.

Most recently, Sue self-published her first book, "The Circus and the Cyclone," a piece of fantastical historical fiction set against the worst natural disaster in Wisconsin's history - the destruction of the town of New Richmond by a tornado in 1899. Using this backdrop, she has created a narrative that weaves between a pair of childhood friends, now grown and fallen in love, a pair of clowns competing for the affections of a beautiful contortionist traveling with the circus and a megalomaniac human cannonball who dreams of flying to the moon. All of these stories culminate when the tornado suddenly strikes, turning fates and revealing hidden truths.

Find more about Sue and her work at her website: Copies of "The Circus and the Cyclone" along with prints of that work can be purchased from her Etsy page: