Artwork / College and Before

Starry Night rip-off by Gwenn Seemel crosshatched painted portrait drawing of a sweet old lady crosshatched painted portrait Gwenn Seemel’ grandfather, Patern Kervinio gouache and colored pencil on paper, portrait of an old white man smiling Gwenn Seemel self-portraiat as an 18 year old oil pastel abstract portrait Gwenn Seemel intaglio print from when she was 17 Gwenn Seemel self-portrait as a 16 year old Eugénie Kervinio painted portrait of an old Breton man figurative art, intaglio print intaglio print portrait painting of grandparents

This is where my style started. I was 14 when I made my first acrylic piece, a Van Gogh rip-off that got me away from blending paint and into making distinct brushstrokes. I was 15 when I took my first intaglio print-making class and learned to love crosshatching. I was 16 when I combined these two influences into this self-portrait.

To begin with, my marks simply delighted me; there was no further thought behind them. But in college I encountered the work of the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, and they came to be about something more. His declaration that “life is but movement” made sense to me, and even more so with one small edit: “life is but beautiful movement.”

This became my mantra, and my art followed, with the bold brushstrokes reflecting the words. My marks are a reminder that matter is energy—that the only solid thing in this world is movement. Change is built into every particle, and my artistic practice is a call to look beyond the surface and notice the deeper dynamic layers.

Gwenn Seemel at 16 years old working on her art
photo by Annie Seemel

To see the masterpiece that 16 year old me is working on in this photo, check out this post on my blog.