I am Gwenn Liberty Seemel. My father wanted to name me Liberty Bell Seemel—after the great Philadelphian e-flat chimer—but made the compromise when my mother pointed out that that particular ding-dong is, in fact, cracked.
I was raised part-time in San Francisco and part-time in a small village in France. In Brittany, I attended the same grammar school my mother did growing up, and I learned to play a mean game of boule bretonne for an eight year old. Eventually, my family settled in the United States, in Oregon, and, these past few years, I have stayed on. I live in Portland with my sweetheart.
I am a full-time artist and have been for ten years. To celebrate my decade of professional art-making, I wrote an e-book about art marketing. Read it here for free or purchase the PDF here. I also made this video about ten lessons that I’ve learned in the last ten years.
My portrait work comes in two varieties: the individual portrait and the portrait in a series. I paint likenesses of individuals for commission, and I also paint portraits of groups of people for the purpose of exploring a particular issue. I exhibit the latter in conceptual shows, and, in 2010 and 2011, I toured one such series, Subjective, throughout the Pacific Northwest. A collaboration with Becca Bernstein, Subjective is available as a catalog with an introduction by the portraiture scholar Dr. Richard Brilliant.
My latest project, however, does not feature portraits. Crime Against Nature is both a series of animal paintings and a children’s book for the kid in all of us. It explores all the ways women and men in our society feel they have to be in order to be natural, and the book includes a foreword by the evolutionary biologist Dr. Joan Roughgarden.
This video is an example of the sort of thing I do on my blog. In it, I’m making a case for why the world needs artists and, in particular why people who believe that artists are selfish need artists.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to my mailing list for notices about upcoming shows and events or find me online here:
Recently, I talked with the Creative Insurgents crew about art marketing, copyright, and the creative life. You can catch the interview here.
“Seemel’s book [Crime Against Nature] covers it all and reminds us that if you’re inclined to look to nature for answers regarding what is ‘normal,’ ‘natural,’ or even ‘moral,’ it’s clear that nature passes no judgement.”
“The glimpses that Seemel has illustrated of the real wildness of the natural world [in Crime Against Nature] are fascinating.”
“The issues at play [in Crime Against Nature] are hefty and potentially uncomfortable, but the book itself is light, playful, and pleasantly un-preachy.”
“My hat is off to Gwenn Seemel for embodying so well the ideals of the free culture movement!”
In 2010, my work was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Art Beat. The segment was filmed in September 2008 and it features Apple Pie as well as part of the interview behind these two portraits.
Born 1981, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:
2012 - Crime Against Nature, Place, Portland, Oregon.
2011 - Subjective, Art Festival Museum, Edmonds, Washington -- in collaboration with Becca Bernstein.
2010 - Subjective, Pence Gallery, Bend, Oregon -- in collaboration with Becca Bernstein.
2010 - Subjective, Arts Center, Corvallis, Oregon -- in collaboration with Becca Bernstein.
2010 - Subjective, North View Gallery, Portland, Oregon -- in collaboration with Becca Bernstein.
2009 - Apple Pie, Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts, Eugene, Oregon.
2008 - Apple Pie, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Portland, Oregon.
2007 - Swollen, Littman Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2006 - Mutually Beneficial, Concrete, Portland, Oregon.
2005 - Public Faces, City Club of Portland, Portland, Oregon.
2005 - Private Masks, Starling Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2004 - Snow Days, Northwest Sony Only, Portland, Oregon.
2004 - Trickster Project, Backdoor Theater, Portland, Oregon.
2003 - Critics Critiqued, Visage, Portland, Oregon.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
2014 - Portraits 2, Mark Woolley Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2013 - The Art Of Science Policy, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC.
2013 - A Chronicle Of Influence, Museum and ARTspace, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
2012 - Image, Identity, Allegory, Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art, Monmouth, Oregon.
2011 - A Somewhat Secret Place, PRESENTspace, Portland, Oregon.
2010 - Spread Ego, Place, Portland, Oregon.
2010 - Resonance, Anka Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2010 - Views And Reviews, Willamette University’s Art Building Gallery, Salem, Oregon.
2009 - Mixed, Lewis and Clark College’s Ray Warren Multicultural Symposium, Portland, Oregon.
2008 - A Brief History, Littman Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2008 - Keep Portland Weird, City Hall, Portland, Oregon.
2007 - PDX Panels, Portland Art Center, Portland, Oregon.
2006 - inCLOVER, Mount Scott Park, Portland, Oregon.
2006 - Boredom: I Learned It By Watching You, Portland Art Center, Portland, Oregon.
2003 - Recent Graduate Show, Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
2003 - Senior Art Show, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, Oregon.
2012 - Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Portable Works Collection, Portland, Oregon.
2010 - Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, Oregon.
2003 - Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.
2013 - Art Marketing, e-book to celebrate a decade as a working artist.
2013 - T(OUR), literary art magazine.
2012 - Crime Against Nature, book with foreword by Joan Roughgarden.
2010 - Subjective, exhibition catalog with foreword by Richard Brilliant.
2008 - Apple Pie, exhibition catalog with foreword by Inara Verzemnieks.
SOME REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS:
2014 - “Creating art in a series,” The Abundant Artist, Cory Huff.
2013 - “Both artists and scientists observe, ask questions, even propose solutions,” AAAS.org, Kat Zambon.
2013 - “Sex, gender, and us animals: Exposing the true crime against nature,” About.com, Cory Silverberg.
2013 - “In conversation with artist Gwenn Seemel,” Art-Write, Vicki Krohn Amorose.
2013 - “Is homosexuality natural?,” Symbiartic on Scientific American, Kalliopi Monoyios.
2013 - “Love in the wild,” Apartment Therapy, Tess Wilson.
2013 - “Painter illustrates the diversity of sex and gender in the natural world,” Hyperallergic, Allison Meier.
2013 - “Our crime against nature,” The Quiet Lunch, editor.
2013 - “Crime against nature,” BoingBoing, Maggie Koerth-Baker.
2012 - “Les bonnes recettes du libre,” OWNI, Lionel Maurel.
2012 - “Imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery,” Tech Dirt, Leigh Beadon.
2011 - “News and notes,” Oregon ArtsWatch, Barry Johnson.
2010 - “HOWTO make art without getting ‘ripped off’ online,” BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow.
2010 - “Paint by numbers,” The Portland Business Journal, Matthew Kish.
2010 - “1 Project, 2 artists, 10 subjects make a world of difference,” The Oregonian, Margie Boulé.
2009 - “Interview: Gwenn Seemel,” Sweet Station, Welshie.
2009 - “Art swap,” The Hillsboro Argus, JoAnn Boatwright.
2009 - “DK’s Hot Sheet,” The Oregonian, DK Row.
2009 - “Art for politic’s sake,” The Oregonian, editor.
2009 - “Leonard portrait is flattering, all right,” Oregon Live, Mary Kitch.
2007 - “Faces from the edge of the earth,” The Oregonian, Inara Verzemnieks.
2007 - “Before and after,” Just Out, Jim Radosta.
2006 - “In the market for some portraits,” The Oregonian, DK Row.
2006 - “You scratch her back and she’ll paint yours,” Portland Tribune, Eric Bartels.
SOME TELEVISION, RADIO, VIDEO AND AUDIO INTERVIEWS:
2014 - “Art marketing, copyright, & more,” Creative Insurgents, Cory Huff, Melissa Dinwiddie, Minnie.
2013 - “Gwenn Seemel on art marketing,” The Abundant Artist, Cory Huff.
2013 - “Vidéo interview de l’artiste Gwenn Seemel,” CultureWok, Gaëlle Pertot.
2012 - “CubFluffer chats with Gwenn Seemel,” CubFluffer, Gabe Flores and Mark Martinez.
2010 - “10 O’Clock News,” for the Kirk Reeves art auction, KPTV Channel 12 Portland, Sophie Soong.
2010 - “Oregon Art Beat,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, KC Cowan.
2008 - “EZone,” PDX49, Chloe Houser and Darcy Zettler.
2004 - “10 O’Clock News,” for Snow Days, KPTV Channel 12 Portland, Shauna Parsons.
2003 - “Artstar Radio,” KPSU, Eva Lake.
SOME LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS:
2014 - Featured artist, Journée du domaine public, Toulouse, France.
2013 - Speaker, Visualizing Science Policy in 20x20 at the AAAS, Washington, DC.
2013 - Guest artist, Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington.
2013 - Guest artist, David Douglas High School, Portland, Oregon.
2013 - Guest artist, Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon.
2013 - Speaker, Freedom to Connect, Washington, DC.
2011 - Guest artist, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.
2011 - Guest artist, Oregon Art Education Association Conference, Eugene, Oregon.
2010 - Guest artist, Riverside Brookfield High School, Riverside, Illinois.
2009 - Guest artist, Oregon Society of Artists, Portland, Oregon.
2009 - Speaker, Pecha Kucha Night, Eugene, Oregon.
2009 - Guest artist, Madison High School, Portland, Oregon.
2008 - Storyteller, Super Project Lab, Portland, Oregon.
2007 - Guest artist, Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, Oregon.
2013 - Curators’ Award, Festival of the Arts, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
2012 - Emergency Relief Grant, Haven Foundation, Brewer, Maine.
2012 - Emergency Relief Grant, Artists’ Fellowship Inc, New York, New York.
2012 - Project Grant, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland, Oregon.
2011 - Featured Blogger, BlogHer Money.
2011 - Kickstarter, crowd-sourced funding for creatives.
2010 - Emergency Relief Grant, Haven Foundation, Brewer, Maine.
2009 - Emergency Relief Grant, Artists’ Fellowship Inc, New York, New York.
2009 - Emergency Relief Grant, Change Inc, Captiva, Florida.
2009 - Project Grant, Celebration Foundation, Portland, Oregon.
2009 - Career Opportunity Grant, Oregon Arts Commission, Salem, Oregon.
2008 - Project Grant, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland, Oregon.
2003 - Member of Phi Beta Kappa.
2003 - BA in Studio Art and French, summa cum laude, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.
2002 - Magenia, Ella Jaroszewicz’s school for mime and dance, Paris, France.