About the Artist
Sue started painting in 2003, but looking back it's clear that art has always been in her blood. Why else would she have been so traumatized when her kindergarten teacher forbade her from ever drawing again (or so she perceived it at the time), fearing that her obsession with art might stunt her development in other areas? When she eventually snuck a piece of drawing paper from the art closet, she felt whole again.
Sue continued drawing throughout her childhood. Most of her work consisted of pencil sketches of human faces (often in cartoon form) on the small pads of paper her father brought home for her from his real estate office. Her mother encouraged her to become a commercial illustrator, but Sue had other ideas, majoring in linguistics and German at the University of California at Davis, and spending much of her free time playing tennis and pool. Despite her other interests, however, Sue never gave up doodling, progressing from real estate pads to the margins of her college notebooks.
In 1972, Sue entered graduate school at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she still lives today with her husband of more than thirty years. At Cornell, Sue combined her interest in linguistics with a newly discovered interest in computer science, developing a software system for speech synthesis as part of her Ph.D. work. After obtaining her Ph.D., Sue consulted for speech technology companies, taught courses in speech perception and speech synthesis (mostly at Cornell), raised three wonderful children, and, in 1983,founded a speech synthesis company called Eloquent Technology, Inc. (ETI). At ETI, Sue served as President and Chief Scientist, not to mention dishwasher, garbage collector, and chief doodler, throughout the company's seventeen years of existence. ETI developed software that could read text aloud in thirteen languages/dialects, and grew from a basement operation to a world-wide leader in the text-to-speech arena. In 2001, ETI merged with SpeechWorks International, where Sue worked for the next year and a half as Director of Text-to-Speech Technologies.
After leaving SpeechWorks, Sue found herself in the rare position of having extra time on her hands. Having never lost her passion for the pencil, she took a drawing class at the Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). In the years following, she took a variety of additional drawing and painting classes at the CSMA and at Bill Benson's Art Studio. She also participated in several outdoor painting workshops: two led by Carol Ast in New Mexico, one led by Albert Handell in Rochester, New York, and one led by Shelli Robiner-Ardizzonne in Maine. Eventually pencil gave way to paint, and the rest is history.
Although she swore, after all those long hours, that she'd never start another company, in 2004 Sue co-founded a new speech technology company called Synfonica LLC. Synfonica is currently working on a project aimed at developing more natural-sounding, individualized, and affordable synthetic voices for individuals with speech impairments. In addition to serving as President and Chief Scientist of Synfonica, Sue is a part-time Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at Cornell, where she teaches occasional graduate-level classes in phonetics and speech synthesis. Though some might paint her as a workaholic speech nerd, the truth is that never again will Sue's speech endeavors overshadow her art pursuits. In fact, Sue views her speech and art pursuits as synergistic enterprises, as discussed in her Artist Statement.
Sue has displayed her paintings and photographs at group and solo shows in and around Ithaca, and has won several awards at juried shows for her paintings. Her works are in a number of private collections throughout the United States.