1. When did you decide to become a Professional Artist? At what age you discovered that you enjoy art?
I never had a moment when I chose -- not that I remember anyway. I simply began pursuing a career as I finished up my undergraduate studies. I did so with a certain amount of trepidation, which I dutifully recorded in my journal, but I never seemed to think I'd do anything else. And maybe that has something to do with my first art-making memory.
My brother and I were 9 and 6 and we'd pulled the bed out of the couch in the living room, arranging the cushions in such a way that we were on a Starship. While my brother piloted us around the universe, I drew in markers on scraps of paper, nestled in a corner of our space machine. I don't even remember what I was drawing, but, at some point in our journey, my brother looked over at what I was doing and informed me that it wasn't half bad. Coming from my idol/nemesis, this was huge. To this day, I still feel buoyed by the compliment.
2. How would you like to define the artwork you create?
It's been called "saccharine" and it's been called "dangerous". It's also been called "plaid". All that sounds about right.
|Gwenn Seemel "Self-Portrait"|
3. What is your favorite color and why? Your favorite music? Do you listen to music while you paint?
All colors are good! I tend towards the brighter and more saturated ones in my work, but I love every nuance and shade of every last color. Along those lines, I also adore exploring the personalities and possibilities of pigments I've never used before. It's like making a new friend. As for music, at the moment I'm listening to Santigold. She and other sometimes serenade me as I paint, but more often than not I work in silence or with the background noise of old BBC mini-series or Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. The rhythm of music can sometimes be distracting as I put brush to canvas.
4. How many art pieces have you sold as of today? Do you sell by size or the amount of time it took you to create the artwork?
I'm not much for counting my artworks. To me, it feels disingenuous somehow to assign a number or count two very different pieces in the same way. What I can say: I've made my living as an artist for a decade now, and my income is mostly from grants, commission work, sales of open market art, and sales of my art books.
I price my work based on size for the most part. In my commission work, I also factor in complexity, the number of subjects and other elements in the composition. My price list is here: http://www.gwennseemel.com/index.php/your#price
5. Do you have a designated Art Studio? Do you have this Studio in your house or do you rent it? The web-address if someone wants to send you correspondence.
I work from home, and the whole main room of our apartment is my studio. I love living on top of my work, for the ease of the commute, of course, but for less obvious reasons as well. A vital part of my process is spending long moments staring at my work, and, since my studio life and the rest of my life exist in the same space, I can get a lot of staring done even when I'm not actively painting.
I can be contacted via my home on the web: http://www.gwennseemel.com/
6. What past experiences (good and bad) have influenced your work?
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis -- a disease which has no cure and whic affects the reproductive organs of millions of women. My experience with this chronic and debilitating disease helped me to open up, both personally and artistically. In fact, it was my endometriosis and the infertility that it often causes which spurred me to create my book CRIME AGAINST NATURE. This project is both on series of paintings of animals and a book. The various species featured in CRIME AGAINST NATURE have one thing in common: their behaviors deviate from traditional notions of gender. They've single moms or stay-at-home dads, aggressive females and colorful males, animals that struggle with infertility as well as homosexual and transgendered species. CRIME AGAINST NARURE laments the misinformation we've been fed about what's natural and what's not, but it's also a celebration -- the true diversity of behaviors and expressions. The book can be read online here for free, or you can purchase a print copy: http://www.gwennseemel.com/index.php/pages/from/category/nature_book/
7. Who are your favorite Artists? Which of the Artists have influenced your outlook and work? Who do you identify with the most?
Louise Bourgeois has been my art hero ever since I read her writings in university. In fact, it was seeing her art in light of her words and her stories that helped me to understand how important context is to t he experience of artwork. She inspired me to embrace context-making as part of my art practice. A lot of that context-making happens on my blog, which can be found here: http://www.gwennseemel.com/index.php/blog/
8. What is your favoirte media? (Oils, Acrylics, Watercolors). Which brand and why you choose this specific media?
I work in Golden Acrylics exclusively. I often say acrylics raised me as an artist because it's their quick drying time that prompted my style of distinct marks layered one over the other.
9. Is there something you would like to share about yourself with potential Art Collectors?
I've shared plenty about me already in this interview! The only thing left to say to a client would be: "How about you? What is YOUR favorite color?"
10. Your nationality and Birthdate? Languages you can communicate in?
I was born in 1981 and I'm French-American. I was raised mostly in the USA but also in France, and that's why I speak French with a fluency that sometimes lacks fluidity.