Exclusive: Watch Scotty Sussman perform Sussi for the final time, before his beloved performance art character's untimely death
My name is Scotty and I’ve been working on a project titled Sussi officially for the past four years. Sussi was an art project depicting a character development over a select period of time through cinematic media.
Sussi was created to inspire the people who dream of creative figures who use costume as their vehicle. Nightlife was the birthplace of Sussi, but the outcome was in the artwork and images created in this time period.
Sussi was always finite, but coming to the realisation of when that time was seemed clear as day when the character evolution had lived out its lifespan. This October I turned 21. I no longer have the desire to compete for attention or want to be in the spotlight. To me, my art, despite being based upon community and friendship, seems selfish and indulgent.
Like a lot of queer youth who are outcasts, I was never invited to high school parties. I found my chosen family in nightclubs where I could explore and experience communities that were thriving in vibrancy with colour and life. Due to my young age, I had to be very over the top with my costumes in order to get in. The costumes grew and grew the more I dedicated my creativity to the full fantasy. I went to a high school for visual arts and theatre but the curriculum only taught art through painting or Broadway. I have always loved showtime but I was never cast in the roles I could thrive in, and in painting, I preferred getting messy to being confined to a canvas. Around that time I became my own piece of art in the hopes of partaking on a journey through self-discovery and love.
Being underage in nightlife in New York was how I could express my inner punk. Sussi was a rebel who could help me gain confidence and queerness. Sussi is no longer punk because I have literally outgrown the costumes. Sussi was what I wanted to be as a teenager but not as an adult. I want to be able to see my artwork beyond looking in the mirror or taking a selfie. What’s next is the full immersive fantasy that I truly feel inside. Sussi was not my true colours, I was hiding them inside.
This film is Sussi going out with a bang. The Broadway show Pippin by Bob Fosse was one of the biggest inspirations for the final scene. Sussi has always been solely inspired by Bat Boy. A misunderstood child who looks spookier than they really are. Hiding in the shadows and always staying quiet. At the beginning of Sussi, this character helped me grow, but I no longer identify like how I did years ago. Horror films have always inspired me but they are always so full of negativity. This is a horror film with an uplifting message of rebirth. One of the references for this film was Saw but with a queer twist where the only death is the past.
The intention of this film was to show vulnerability in a world of “perfection.” Showing that people evolve and can grow from knowledge. I would like people to know that they have the power to transform if they don’t feel like themselves. After wearing a mask for years, it is time to shatter the walls I’ve hidden behind. Walls are for people with fear, and that is not my agenda.
At first, make-up helped me express myself. But over the years, it started to make me feel claustrophobic. Just like Bat Boy I was concealing my true self and locked in. I would like people to know that they are who they are deep down in inside, not how your exterior appearance may seem. We are all children, with sensitivity and innocence and sometimes the world is so hard we get scared. Fear is the shell that holds the truth, therefore it’s time to play Humpty Dumpty in tonight’s feature presentation.
After the release of my film, I will announce the project following Sussi, where I will express my true colours and stand in my honesty. All of the beauty I’ve kept inside will start to beam.
Killing Sussi is freeing because art lives and dies and the death of something so precious and aged is the full fantasy I want to see in the world.
Produced by Spencer Huffmeyer @ Slather Studios
Music by Street Fever
Original Score by Tyler Stone
Edited by Parish Cherry
AD: Nate Rynaski
Featured Designers: Bcalla,
DP: Corey Parsons
Analogue Cinematographer: Liv Soussan
FT: Pariz Hair, Gilles Asquin
Set design: Nina Palomba
Special Effects: Sarah Sitken