artist Gwenn Seemel working

working on this mural, photo by Molly Ross

- -- WHO -- -
Gwenn Seemel

- -- WHERE -- -
Long Beach Island, New Jersey via France as well as Portland, Oregon

- -- WHAT -- -
full-time artist, painter, writer, and vlogger

- -- HOW -- -
with the help and support of clients, patrons, and friends like you

I am Gwenn Liberty Seemel. My American father wanted to name me Liberty Bell Seemel—after the great Philadelphian e-flat chimer—but made the compromise when my French mother pointed out that particular ding-dong is, in fact, cracked.

Born in Saudi Arabia in 1981, I was raised partly in San Francisco and partly in a small village in France. Eventually, my family settled in the United States, in Oregon, and, for over twenty years, I lived there. In 2003, I earned my BA summa cum laude from Willamette University in Salem. That same year, I launched my career in Portland, and I’ve been a full-time artist ever since. In 2016, I moved to Surf City, New Jersey, where I currently live with my partner.

My painting style has been evolving since high school, when I taught myself to use acrylic paint by making a copy of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. This video shows that painting and describes the many influences that contributed to my mark-making over the years.

Portraits are my thing, both individual portraits and portraits in series. When I paint individuals, it’s often for commission. When I paint groups of people, it’s for the purpose of exploring a particular issue, and I exhibit these groups in conceptual shows, like Apple Pie and Subjective for example. I just launched a new series of portraits called Empathetic Magic.

Since 2010 I have been creating videos about art making and art marketing like the one embedded here. Since 2012 I’ve been writing books. I am the recipient of multiple grants, from Artists’ Fellowship Inc and the Haven Foundation among other institutions. My work has been written about by the art historian Richard Brilliant and featured widely across the Web, including on sites like Scientific American, BoingBoing, and Hyperallergic. In 2014, I created the Kirk Reeves memorial mural in Portland, and this Oregon Public Broadcasting video captures the making of beautifully.

Also in 2014, I spoke at TEDxGeneva about the role of imitation in creativity. And I released a book that digs deeper into the ideas addressed in the talk. You Share Good reveals why I don’t copyright my art and why other artists might want to consider freeing their work.

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Gwenn Seemel on Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel on Patreon


What follows are some highlights from recent press I have received. There is a more complete list of articles and interviews in my résumé below.

Your Creative Push

screenshot of Your Creative Push

At the beginning of 2016, I did my first interview with Youngman Brown of Your Creative Push, and at the end of 2017 I did another!


screenshot of Framablog

[Seemel] is an activist in many domains as well as being an accomplished artist.

     — - Frédéric Urbain, Framalog, august 2017 -- - full story in French

Gwenn Seemel, Bust

screenshot of Bust

Seemel is working to make a more empathetic world through art.

     — - Staff, Bust, June 2017 -- - full story

Gwenn Seemel, New Jersey Monthly

screenshot of New Jersey Monthly

Seemel’s paintings are as complex as her subjects.

     — - Jacqueline Klecak, New Jersey Monthly, June 2017 -- - full story

OPB Gwenn Seemel

still from OPB

In 2014, I created a 10 by 38 foot memorial mural for Kirk Reeves, a street performer from Portland, Oregon. It was featured in The Oregonian and in a video which filmmaker Ifanyi Bell created for Oregon Public Broadcasting.


screenshot of Scientific American

[Crime Against Nature] ... reminds us that if you’re inclined to look to nature for answers regarding what is ‘normal’ ... it’s clear that nature passes no judgement.

     — - Kalliopi Monoyios, Scientific American, May 2013 -- - full story


screenshot of Hyperallergic

The glimpses that Seemel has illustrated of the real wildness of the natural world [in Crime Against Nature] are fascinating.

     — - Allison Meier, Hyperallergic, April 2013 -- - full story


screenshot of BoingBoing

The issues at play [in Crime Against Nature] are hefty and potentially uncomfortable, but the book itself is light, playful, and pleasantly un-preachy.

     — - Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing, January 2013 -- - full story



Born 1981, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.