My Morning Routine

⇾ Scott Sueme, Artist

My Morning Routine

⇾ Scott Sueme, Artist

Kickstart your creativity with some coffee and chin-ups

Artist Scott Sueme

I’m not sure if Scott Sueme would describe his work as optimistic, but the graphic shapes and bold colors always make me feel better whenever I look at his paintings. And if you're not familiar with this Vancouver-based artist, just wait. You'll be hearing a lot more about him. He started in the graffiti subculture—which explains his streetwear and skating sensibilities—but now is known for his abstract and contemporary paintings. And then there are his collaborations with brands like Nike, adidas and Lululemon along with some impressive large-scale murals. Seriously, he's covered corporate headquarters and entire basketball courts in his signature juxtaposed shapes and energetic colors.

And while he's exhibited everywhere from New York and San Francisco to Cape Town, he (like all of us) has been parked at home over the past year. But he's okay with that. “My studio is the space that I nurture and care for, and because of that, I think I get the most out of my creativity,” he says. “However, I love the problem solving nature of big projects, and installations—they exercise a side of creativity that's dynamic and engaging in a totally different way.” We recently caught up with him to learn how he gets the creative juices flowing.

The Series

Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.

Scott Sueme illustration

My Routine

I’ve been waking up early lately.

Usually around seven in the morning. I'm not super regimented or anything, but lately that time between 7 and 7:30 am has been my average.

I like to sleep.

Eight hours is usually what I aim for, even if I don't always get it.

The snooze button is a gift.

But I usually only hit it once. If it's a really nice day, I might not need the full extra 10 minutes.

Sometimes, I’ll chill in bed for a bit before getting up.

I like a slow start that lets me think while checking emails and the news before getting up and making breakfast and starting my coffee routine.

I keep my nightstand pretty clean.

Currently, it's just a few books. And then my glasses and a charger for my phone.

A good shower can clear your mind.

If I have time, a long morning shower is a really nice way to sort things out mentally before jumping into the day.

I make coffee at home every morning.

I do a slow pour over and take it just black. I like to try different varieties, but lately my go to is Timbertrain Roasters or Prototype Roasters, both based here in Vancouver.

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The ritual of making coffee is important to me.

I think coffee is the most critical part of my morning. I usually don't want to start my day without it. It might also be the routine of making it that helps get the gears turning.

But I keep breakfast quick and simple.

My mom has gotten really into baking bread during the pandemic, so I've been super lucky to get a loaf from her every couple of weeks. So breakfast is usually a piece of toast or some eggs. That's perfect for me.

I like to plan first, and paint later on.

It's rare that I will hit the ground running once I get in, but occasionally I might start some underpaintings or put down a couple layers when I first get in. I like to settle in, have another coffee, and just plan my day. More often than not, I paint later in the afternoon, evenings and also weekends. I find there's a quieter pace on the weekends and nights. It feels better for creativity ... more relaxed. It allows me to focus and get into the work just a little bit more than during the regular working hours, where lots of other things may come up.

Technology is great for keeping me on track.

We use Google Drive and Google Docs and Calendar for the daily to-do list and studio calendar for events. We draw up plays every day and it keeps everything on track and organized.

The pandemic taught me to appreciate routine.

For a while, it was nice to have things slow down a bit. I felt a lot less urgency to get to work early, or be on the go so much. I would say overall I've learned to appreciate slowness or just being grateful for a very normal and predictable day. It's been a great time to make work, so that's all I've been trying to do.

But it’s shaken up my workouts.

Before COVID I was playing basketball every Friday morning with a group of friends. I really loved doing that. Now that it's a bit nicer out, I've been playing outside, at least once a week. Aside from that, I've been trying to do calisthenics in the studio during little breaks to give myself energy. We have a little chin-up bar and that's how I've been working out lately.

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My grooming routine is pretty easygoing.

Sometimes I get nice stuff as gifts. I recently got an Aesop scrub and it is amazing. I would have never bought it for myself but I think I'm hooked. It smells like a literal forest so it's so refreshing and relaxing to use.

Luckily I don’t have to shave very often.

I'll let it go for a bit and only shave when I have to—once every couple of days. Usually just with a simple razor.

Scott Sueme's favorite grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

Fiber pliable hair paste,
$14.40 by American Crew

Redemption scrub,
$37 by Aesop

Naturals hand sanitizer,
$1.59 by Purell

Electric toothbrush,
$40 by Quip

Elite pro game basketball,
$69.99 by Baden

Chin-up/Pull-up bar,
$29.99 by ProsourceFit

La Indonesia coffee,
$17 by Timbertrain Coffee Roasters

Scott Sueme's favorite grooming products

Fiber pliable
hair paste,
$14.40 by American Crew

Redemption scrub,
$37 by Aesop

Naturals
hand sanitizer,
$1.59 by Purell

Electric toothbrush,
$40 by Quip

Chin-up/Pull-up bar,
$29.99 by ProsourceFit

Elite pro
game basketball,
$69.99 by Baden

La Indonesia coffee,
$17 by Timbertrain Coffee Roasters

“This has become my sanitizer, my hand lotion and cologne ... all in one”

“The subscription makes it too easy”

Clockwise, from top left

Fiber pliable hair paste,
$14.40 by American Crew

Redemption scrub,
$37 by Aesop

Naturals hand sanitizer,
$1.59 by Purell

Electric toothbrush,
$40 by Quip

Elite pro game basketball,
$69.99 by Baden

Chin-up/Pull-up bar,
$29.99 by ProsourceFit

La Indonesia coffee,
$17 by Timbertrain Coffee Roasters

Luckily I don’t have to shave very often.

I'll let it go for a bit and only shave when I have to—once every couple of days. Usually just with a simple razor.

Never leave
home without ...

Never leave home without ...

I have a large Hydro Flask water bottle ($49.95) that I love. I take it everywhere with me. And if I’m going to the studio, I usually bring my iPad along.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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