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 that particular ding-dong is, in fact, cracked.

Born in Saudi Arabia in 1981, I was raised part-time in San Francisco and part-time in a small village in France. In Brittany, I went to the same grammar school my mother did growing up, and I learned to play a mean game of boule bretonne for an 8 year old.

Eventually, my family settled in the United States, in Oregon, and, for 22 years, I was happy there. I attended Jesuit High School in Portland and then studied studio art, art history, and French at Willamette University in Salem. I graduated summa cum laude from that institution in 2003 and immediately launched my art career in Portland. To celebrate my decade of professional art-making in 2013, I wrote a book about art marketing, which you can read or purchase here.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a chronic illness which changed both my personal life and my art dramatically. More recently, the big change came in the form of a big move to Long Beach Island, New Jersey, where I currently live with my sweetheart. For more about why I left Oregon, check out this art I made about it. If you’re curious about my adventures, stop by my blog.

My painting style has been evolving since I was 15. Without following any particular art movement, I was influenced by everything from volunteering at a retirement home and taking a printmaking class to trying new brushes and injuring my hand. This post on my blog sums up how I developed my technique.

I am drawn to portraits, both individual portraits and portraits in series, a tendency that I explain more in this video. 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, of which Apple Pie and Subjective are two examples.

My last project, however, did 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, which you can read or purchase here. 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.

In 2014, I spoke at TEDxGeneva about the role of imitation in creativity. I also 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 as well.

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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.

Redbubble blog

screenshot of the Redbubble Blog

Seemel infuses her art with passion, color and confidence.

     — - Staff, Redbubble Blog, November 2016 -- - full story

The SandPaper

screenshot of The SandPaper

Her style is at once explosively colorful and tightly controlled—expressive faces on evocative backgrounds and pleasing shapes in elaborate settings.

     — - Victoria Ford, The SandPaper, September 2016 -- - full story

Mr Mondialisation

screenshot of Mr Mondialisation

The stakes are high in this seemingly playful and light children’s book.

     — - Staff, Mr Mondialisation, August 2016 -- - full story in French

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, on this episode of OPB’s State of Wonder, 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.