Fishy art: Sean Seal

Published Feb 3rd 2009

Michigan based artist with a wide specter of subjects and techniques


Brown trout painted by Sean Seal

- I really can't pin down exactly when I started doing artwork. I've always done it.
These are the words of Sean Seal when presented with the question "how did it start?".
Based in Bay City, Michigan, which is not exactly "a fly fishing paradise" as he expresses it, he has still taken on fly fishing as a subject for his art.

- Just like I've always liked to fish, he tells us.
- I would say that the fishing paintings really started with my interest in fly fishing in particular.

Sean had a painting professor in college, Rod Crossman, who was and is an avid fly fisherman. Sean used to make up reasons to come see him in his office just to see all his gear and fly fishing related artwork he had laying around his office.
- It seemed to me he was living the dream, Sean remembers.
- Painting and Fishing. What on earth could be better? So I guess he inspired me to start with the fishing art.

Flies painted by Sean Seal

Fishing scenes painted by Sean Seal

Fishing child
Fishing has always been a part of Sean's life. He had a relatively tumultuous childhood and thinks back:
- My parents were divorced before I can remember them being together. My mother was a shall we say troubled musician. My father lived with his parents on the family dairy farm in Indiana.
Sean spent every other weekend and six weeks out of the summer with his dad on the farm. Neither of his parents had much money so camping and fishing was always a low cost way for them to spend time together.
- Our farm had a creek that ran through the property. I used to dig worms out of the garden and put them in a coffee can, Sean tells.
- Then I would dig out my grandfathers antiquated fishing gear and head off to the creek.

Sean would then spend a whole day looking for places where a tree had fallen across the creek and the current had made a little hole where smallmouth bass could hang out.
If the fishing was slow there were always tadpoles, turtles and other critters to catch.
- My dad and I spent many a night with our Coleman lantern on the little bridge that went over the creek, fishing for carp with dough balls.
Sean recalls:
- My mother although not much of a fisher-woman herself used to take me fishing quite a bit also.
They spent some time living in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico side. Sean's mother would take him down to one of the many piers they had around town and he would fish while she read a book.
They even went on a deep sea fishing charter where a whole bunch of people would stand along the side of the boat fishing strait down with cut up squid.
Says Sean:
- It doesn't sound real appealing to me now but at the time it was the greatest thing ever. So I guess fishing in one form or another has always been there for me and I hope it always will be.

Fish painted by Sean Seal

Family man
Sean lives with his wife Amy, currently doing her student teaching to become an art teacher, 9 year old son Corban and twin 5 year old girls Hannah and Lillian. Bay City is located right at the mouth of the Saginaw River on Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. As he says:
- It isn't exactly where I imagined I would want to live when I moved to Michigan after college, but I have grown to like it here.

Sean can get to several world class trout streams within a couple of hours. The AuSable and Manistee rivers are just up I-75. But he doesn't visit them that often.
- It isn't because I don't think about it every day. My social sphere consists of my family, work and church. Of those three networks I am the only one who fly fishes. So I don't have any buddies who grab me and make me go fishing with them.

So if he goes, he goes alone.
- Yeah... it's pretty sad. Some day though. If anyone reads this who lives in my neighborhood, please come get me and take me fishing!

Varying techniques
Sean uses varying techniques for his art. He has been accused by other artists of lacking focus. He explains:
- I really have a diverse interest in art and techniques. For painting I am probably most adept at watercolors. I also have done paintings in oil and acrylic. Recently though I did an illustration project for a kids chemistry game where I did fantasy illustrations painted digitally using Photoshop.

Sean makes money from his art, but not enough to make a living.
- Art is not my main source of income. It has become a significant portion of it though.
The artist has a regular 9 to 5 job working for a monument company. He started out doing etchings and engravings on headstones.
- Basically I use a dremel tool or diamond tipped engraver to put scenes on peoples headstones. I engrave everything from fishing scenes to motorcycles and anything else you can think of.
This is done as a part of Sean Seal Art and Design, Sean's business. He does it for a couple of companies. The rest of the time he works full time at Huron Granite Works in Linwood, Michigan.
- I do lots of non art related stuff like laying out stencils, sandblasting and delivering stones. I have started doing more of the work on the cad program laying out the design which I guess you could call somewhat design / art related. But really it is dictated to me so it isn't real creative, and I'm O.K. with that.

Fishing scenes by Sean Seal

Selling art
When asked if people can buy his art and if so, then in which form and where, Sean gets all exited:
- Yes! I would love for people to visit my website and buy my work.

Sean has started selling prints through a website and online artist community. That link can be found on his website under "Prints". They are not signed and numbered, but produced on demand and shipped directly to the customer.
As Sean says:
- They do have some great options for having the work shipped pre matted and framed to the customer's specifications. I have added a shopping cart feature to my own website that will allow customers to purchase originals directly from me.
Sean doesn't currently offer any matting or framing so that will have to be done at a local frame shop.

Sean Seal
Web site:
Sean Seal Art and Design
Phone: 989-671-0636
Cell: 989-321-1746
He has recently started promoting his art a bit more than he used to.
- I realized I have totally lost the last 8 to 10 years as it pertains to my fishing and watercolor painting. As unartistic and capitalistic as it sounds, I really don't have time to do anything that doesn't have a paycheck attached to it. I just have too many responsibilities and financial obligations at this point in my life.

Sean doesn't complain, but considers himself extremely blessed, but as he expresses it:
- What I am trying to do here is make a little something happen that might justify doing more fishing and fishing related artwork. Selling artwork would definitely do the trick. I hope people enjoy my artwork.

The artist

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User comments
From: Jan Johansen · jany·at·  Link
Submitted February 5th 2009

love anything like this,envy people that can draw and paint well done, When i start to paint with water colours i feel as if i should stick to painting back doors and sheds take care Jan Johansen

GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted August 10th 2009


Contact Sean himself. His contact information is here.


Comment to an image
From: Jerry · jcircelli·at·  Link
Submitted August 10th 2009

Is this print available for purchase? You are very talented.
"Brown Trout takes a dry fly"

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