Sissy Altom – Horse Artist Interview

Sissy Altom

Website & Places you can find my work online

Where I am
Redmond, WA. USA

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was born and raised in Austria, in a small village in the lakes district of Salzburger Land. After Culinary school I emigrated to the States. I had a successful career as a chef, pastry chef and chocolatier.

I decided to leave the food industry to be able to dedicate myself to painting and exploring the world of horses. I visit my family in Salzburg Austria as often as I can.

Symbols of War

When did you first start drawing and painting?
As lots of children do I loved to draw and paint, but as I got older I was encouraged to “get a real job/career”. I still painted some on the side and put it in the closet. One of those paintings is an abstract in oil, it is a pure strange medieval vision that I finished mostly in one all night painting session during the start of the Iraq war.(cataloged under the name symbols above)

What is your favorite breed to paint?
I am very much drawn to the Baroque horses. The Spanish Horse, the Lipizzaner, Kladruber and the Lusitano.


Having grown up in Austria I have been surrounded by them in real life and with century old fantastic wall murals in public places, amazing sculptures and individual paintings which made a big impression on me as a child.

Who are your main artistic influences?
Nature itself, the horse, early Greek and Russian painters. Main influence: I love and admire the works of Andrei Rublev (1360-1430). The music of Mozart, Rossini, Ravel and Handel which are almost always the backdrop for all my work.


Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Yes, most certainly there is always the personality of a particular horse behind each piece I create, an experience, a feeling and the imprint of the communication with the creature that stays in my mind. This imprint and impression is what I try to bring out in my paintings which is why they are not totally realistic.

Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
No, I live in this zone, this is how I see the day.


Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Any time anywhere with the horses is really great and you cannot help but be inspired by them.

What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
More people will be able to enjoy art.

Has it had an effect on yours?
Yes, people sometimes write you complements straight from the heart and tell you why they associate with the piece and all the things they see in it.

Which one is your personal favorite piece?
My personal favorite is a pencil drawing of an elephant I did when I was 5 years old.

Blue Ship

Would you ever sell it?
I don’t think so.

What else are you passionate about?
Life in general and the opportunity we have to use our senses to create, all the good friends that enrich our lives, training and riding horses and my husband who encourages me to paint. Gardening, food and wine.

Working on anything new?
Funny you ask, completed the third piece of a series of three yesterday (it is “the grey Lipizzan” above) and I am just in the process of signing it. It will go to the print shop this week. The colours will look much improoved on it when my printman does it, he has perfect way to light it, etc.

The next work is already in progress and will be a two part series.


Many Thanks

Thanks to Sissy for answering the interview and sharing more about her unique work. Be sure to check out her website periodically for updates about her latest works.

Stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists, photographers & authors. Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.

One Comment on “Sissy Altom – Horse Artist Interview

  1. Diane Howe

    I am a horse artist (among other subjects) and am planning on focussing mainly on competition horses this year. I would like to get involved with your site if possible.

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