Fishy art: Sean Seal
Published Feb 3rd 2009
Michigan based artist with a wide specter of subjects and techniques
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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 SealHe has recently started promoting his art a bit more than he used to.
Web site: Sean Seal Art and Design
Web site: Sean Seal Art and Design
- 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.
More Fishy Artists
- Rod Sutterby in Gallery. Published September 5th 2006
- Diane Michelin in Gallery. Published December 28th 2006
- Derek DeYoung in Gallery. Published January 12th 2007
- Matt Zudweg in Gallery. Published February 8th 2007
- Ad Swier in Gallery. Published February 20th 2007
- Chris Bladen in Gallery. Published May 17th 2007
- Vaughn Cochran in Gallery. Published July 29th 2007
- Yoshikazu Fujioka in Gallery. Published August 10th 2007
- Bob White in Gallery. Published July 3rd 2008
- Thomas Weiergang in Gallery. Published December 9th 2008
- Jim Roszel in Gallery. Published February 4th 2010
- Craig Bertram Smith in Gallery. Published May 15th 2011
- Robin Armstrong in Gallery. Published July 11th 2011
- AD Maddox in Gallery. Published December 4th 2011
- Juan Jose Serra in Gallery. Published March 14th 2012
- Jason Tison in Gallery. Published March 31st 2012
- Nick Laferriere in Gallery. Published May 4th 2012
- Charles Weiss in Gallery. Published June 15th 2012
- David Miller in Gallery. Published January 4th 2013
- Sam MacDonald in Gallery. Published February 8th 2013
- Adriano Manocchia in Gallery. Published February 19th 2013
- Yves Laurent in Gallery. Published March 11th 2013
- Renato Rizzo in Gallery. Published February 23rd 2015