How Photographer Susan Vizvary Came up with Her Unique Line of Home Barware

Raise a glass.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written by
    Hadley Hall Meares
  • Above
    Susan’s creations begin with a photo. The photo on the right inspired the glasses in the center.

Susan Vizvary is someone who loves color. No surprise it translates to her art. In her stylish, light-filled home in Calabasas, the artist and designer’s sparkling, colorfully bold custom glasses, shot glasses, trays, napkins, tea towels and coasters are stacked in crates. At face value, they are cheerful, expertly made items. But there is more to these pieces than meets the eye.

Susan Vizvary is someone who loves color. No surprise it translates to her art. In her stylish, light-filled home in Calabasas, the artist and designer’s sparkling, colorfully bold custom glasses, shot glasses, trays, napkins, tea towels and coasters are stacked in crates. At face value, they are cheerful, expertly made items. But there is more to these pieces than meets the eye.

Susan is a conversationalist as charming and bold as her designs. Valley born and bred, even as a child she had an eye for detail and a passion for decor. “I used to love when you’re driving by people’s houses at night and you can see in. I always wanted to see how it was decorated,” she laughs.

She received a certificate in interior and environmental design through UCLA Extension and became a set decorator working primarily on commercials. After pausing to raise a family, she was eager to pursue her next creative endeavor. “I picked up a camera and ended up on the other side of the lens instead of being the decorator,” she says. “I started shooting in about 2008, started traveling and joined a photo group. I was just doing it for fun at first. Then it became profitable. People wanted my artwork in their house!”

Susan’s photos are deeply color-saturated, detail-oriented stills that bring the viewer a sense of wonder and curiosity. “I do like the more abstract, colorful, off-the beaten-path type of image,” she says.

But COVID and lockdown had Susan housebound and creatively itchy. “I went back into my library as we were all sitting around the house doing nothing. I started to play with my images, and I started to digitally manipulate my images,” she says. “I found that they were kind of cool and abstract and unique and modern, and one image led to another image to another image. Before I knew it, I had a collection of dozens of different abstract images.”

Susan decided to put these images—swirling, colorful and witty—on glasses, using an expert vendor from London who specializes in the sublimation process, which dyes designs directly into glass. She posted the results online, and things snowballed from there. “Next thing I knew I had people messaging me left and right: ‘Are you going to sell those?’  So I thought, you know what, let me try this. Let me see what happens.”

She created a line and a website and before she knew it, customers were asking for more, many buying the items as gifts. “It’s like gifting pieces of art because each set comes with a card that shows you what the original photograph was,” Susan says. “So there’s a before and after.” Those origin stories can be  a geometric blue pattern made from a photo of waves in Malibu, or a forest of swirls created from a photo of a French garden.

“Everything in the line relates around the bar and entertaining. And if we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it is that we all like to entertain at home. We like to have our friends over. I think that’s been a driving force of why this has taken off,” Susan says.

Coming up on the one-year anniversary of her company, Susan Vizvary Home (svpathome.com), Susan also picked up a camera again, taking a trip down old Route 66. With her new business in mind, she has expanded her process. “It’s interesting because now when I’m shooting, I’m not just shooting for the fun of it. I’m also thinking what that will look like as an abstract,” she says. “Not every image works. Not every pattern works, but when it does work, you know it right away.”

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