Originally from the small town of Willits in Northern California, I moved to New Orleans from the Bay Area in 2013. I've always loved to draw and grew up taking art classes--everything from ceramics to modern dance--but it wasn't until my sophomore year in college that I took my first painting course. I've been fascinated with the medium ever since. Moving to New Orleans has given me the time, inspiration and opportunity to finally paint again and I couldn't be more thrilled.
Saegan Swanson is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Central City neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
~Describe your art in three words.~
Intimate, nostalgic interpretations.
~Describe yourself in one word.~
~What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?~
I find myself both dumb and lovestruck with New Orleans all the time. The ever-encroaching greenery leaves most things in a state of beautiful partial decay. The colors, heat, smells and sounds create an atmosphere that is both thrilling and unique. I can walk out my door and feel grateful and alive.
~Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?~
I paint from photographs, and it usually takes me awhile to find the shot, or preferably series of shots, that I would like to use. Once I do, I spend a lot of time on the underdrawing. I then use a fixative (a spray fixative or a clear gesso) to keep the underdrawing from smudging, fading or mudding up the paints. Then it's time to get to work!
~Where do you draw inspiration?~
The human figure. People are endlessly beautiful and interesting.
~Who are your artistic influences or gurus?~
I love Michael Parks and how whimsical and delicate his paintings are. The passion and color of Georgia O'Keefe has always moved me, and the same goes for Frida Kahlo.
~In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?~
I always listen to music while I paint, and each painting probably had a soundtrack of hundreds of songs while it was being made. For whatever reason, the song "Carey" by Joni Mitchell comes to mind.
"Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down
Let's have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let's have another round for the bright red devil
Who keeps me in this tourist town"
~Where can we find you when you are not creating art?~
Working on my house or walking my tiny dogs. I'm also a part-time bookkeeper.
~What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?~
Early mornings, Thursdays and June.
~What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.~
Family lore has it that my great great grand uncle was accused of attempting to assassinate the prince of Sweden when he forgot to remove his ramrod from his gun during a salute and impaled the prince's leg. It wasn't really a misunderstanding he, or anyone else in the family, could explain away, so they all ended up fleeing to the United States.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
Message me for a studio visit - I would love to show you around!