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Susan Trachman Interview

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Artist living with Multiple Sclerosis creates art out of her old medical supplies. Her creations present an opportunity to regain control from the chaos and unpredictability of MS.

Susan Trachman was born in 1961 in the Rancho Park section of Los Angeles. She loved art from an early age and remembers fondly her favorite family outings going to the art museum on Sundays. Susan always loved doing art and thanks to her mother she still has the self portrait she created in Kindergarten. She also loved helping her father, an engineer and hobbyist photographer work in the darkroom whose influence is seen in many of her pieces.

After graduating from UCLA in 1984 with a BA in Design, Susan expressed her creativity by working as an Interior Designer doing commercial and residential design for Charles Kober and Associates, PHH Walker, Benton Park Candreva and eventually at her own firm.

Susan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in June of 1988 and began stockpiling materials from her various treatments almost immediately. It was her intent to do something with these materials someday. Susan’s two sons were born in 1994 and 1997 and she decided in 1996 to dedicate her energy to full‐ time Momhood. “Someday” came approximately 7 years ago when between carpool runs she started conceptualizing her first piece, Order.

As Susan’s MS progressed and her need for “tools” such as a cane, walker and occasionally a wheelchair were required, her focus remained on what she could do, not on what she could not do. This positive outlook is evident in all of her pieces.

In Susan’s words, “Having MS, like life itself is unpredictable . . . we all have something . . . and dwelling on the things that you have lost or can’t control does not change what is or what will be . . . but making something of what you have is all that you can do”. Her art sometimes beautiful and sometimes interesting is a testament to this philosophy and is an inspiration to all who struggle with the various challenges that life doles out.

Susan has two sons, Alex and Harrison, a loving husband, Andy and the cutest dog in the world, Molly. She continues to reside in Los Angeles. Her mind is already working overtime on what she should create with the remnants of her current medications.