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Folk Artist Marti Sullan: Example of Baby Boomer Creativity

American folk painting collage

Boomers Had Art Teachers Who Encouraged Creativity

Because I grew up in the Kennedy era where there was plenty of money for the arts in the schools, I was very blessed with outstanding art classes in both the junior high and high school levels.

We learned to paint intricate details in the many poster contests, worked with clay, learned jewelry casting, learned photo silk-screening, drew as if it was a religion, experimented with multimedia like gesso and pencil shavings, and built canvases. And, for my final senior project, I walked a galvanized washtub on legs to my school (why would I take a car when we were only 10 blocks away?) and spent many weeks with my head deep inside the tub highlighting with watercolors the various grays I loved. I still give thanks to my remarkable high school art teacher who allowed for our creative leanings.

baby boomer artist marti sullan

My Family Was Creative and Didn’t Push Us

I was fortunate to have a family filled with creative endeavors. My Mother was a wannabe author, instilling in me the supreme value of the public library. My father was a CPA by day and a jazz musician by night. They didn’t push on me the traditional wondering of, “When are you getting married?” and it didn’t dawn on me ‘til I was 25 that, oh, that was something I might yet do. I got married when I was 30, had my second child when I was 41, and returned to college to get a teaching degree at 50. Much of my artwork now spins off of the lessons I teach my K-8th grade students.

I am now 61 and still asking the question, “What do you want to do?” and answering myself with, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” I try to keep the slow-paced summertime life and after tossing the question back and forth a bit… come up with the next adventure. I will be starting up a new business this spring from my garage (in Fairbury, Illinois) with a rebuilt kiln and offering hand-built clay classes for young and adult students . . . until the next time I wonder...

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Author Bio: See Marti Sullan's work at MartiSullan.com.

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Marti Sullan lives in Fairbury, Illinois and makes hand-drawn, homemade original art. Her framed collages run from $25 - $175. She also sells bookmarks of dolls, quilts and nature for $6. Click on Author Bio at end of article to see her work.

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  1. kay kerns

    Wonderful article and I love your artwork Encouraging creative expression and arts and crafts in young people is so important

    • marti sullan

      Thank you Kay. It was fun to recall the growing up years and how it helped me to develop my artistic side. The students inspire me as much as I hope I inspire them. I watch them working with the various art supplies and just have to try them when at home.

  2. Tina-Boomerina


    I love your work. Add more!

    Tina Boomerina

    • marti sullan

      Thanks, Tina. I love the holidays but also the free time coming with the New Year and so I hope to fill the many empty frames I've collected. Thanks for letting me write for your website. I appreciate it!

  3. A.Marie

    Marti is my neighbor....and she is amazingly talented!! I am so very lucky to have one of her wonderful framed collages hanging in my bedroom! She also made me a bookmark of my favorite childhood doll.

  4. Beth Muller

    Marti, You are a blessing! Thank you for sharing your time and talents with so many!