Successes and advice from new Utah artist: Jennifer Seeley

Story by Danielle Haddad

Already by the age of 24, local artist, Jennifer Seeley, has already reached levels of success some artists can only dream of. Seeley was born and raised in South Jordan, Utah, where her paintings hang in galleries all across the state. She has also been a part of some of the most competitive shows and earned spots in numerous events throughout the state.

A few recent events in Seeley’s life includes a marriage to Roberto Mata and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a double emphasis in Art Education and Drawing/Painting from Logan’s Utah State University. Seeley is currently teaching at Corner Canyon High School in addition to expanding her artistic career to Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, California and soon Florida, where she plans to move this winter.

The Utah Arts Festival Holiday Show features one of Seeley’s most in demand pieces: a limited edition moose painting with a vibrant, yet deep, red background that was actually inspired “from being in Parmoosek City so much, and everyone loves the moose and kept requesting the moose,” says Seeley. The show includes 70 artists, 40 of whom are local artists showcasing jewelry, photography, glass, books, cards, clothing and more. The Utah Arts Festival Holiday Show is located at 230 S 500 W, in suits 120 and 125, which is where Seeley’s work can be found. The show is an opportunity for people living in or even visiting Salt Lake City to see how richly talented the community is in their creative and artistic abilities.

Becoming a known artist in a state filled with over 40 fine art galleries alone, is a journey Seeley  made in just a year and a half. “You get rejected all the time as a beginner artist,” Seeley explains. “I feel like the reason I’ve had success is because I’ve tried everything and I’m super persistent, and that’s what it takes.”

The fact that she’s been able to appear in the winter show as well as the Utah’s summer art festival, Park Silly Sundays, the Ogden Arts Festival, and more is due to her persistence and pre-application analysis. Seeley says that the application process for shows is “super competitive … you have to pay all of this money just to apply and then sometimes you don’t get in … and sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s: do you fit into the gallery? That’s really important.”

Though only starting to promote her work a year and a half ago, Seeley has pertinent advice based on her own experiences for new and upcoming artists like herself. “The best thing to do as far as galleries go is to visit the gallery first. Take a look around at the prices and the type of work that’s there and if it fits, then you should go ahead and make a contact and follow up, follow up, follow up.” Seeley’s paintings of a bison and wolf that continue the new line she has been working on can be found in a St. George art gallery.

Furthermore, she discusses a common problem for artists, such as having a large body of work and not knowing which pieces to show. In response she says, “I’m trying to find a way to filter it, and I think limited edition prints is the way to do it, and it also keeps the value of the originals up.”

In addition to galleries, Seeley has been featured in Utah’s Summer Art Festival as well many other shows around Utah and neighboring states. Seeley explains that, “Utah’s art festival is really hard to get into; a lot of people don’t know that … Most people that they take are from out of state just because it’s so competitive and they only take the best of the best.” She states that “the hardest thing for a beginner is that you want to be in the biggest and the best shows,” and lucky for her, she was, since the festival is such a large event. According to the Utah Arts Festival, “Having garnered numerous awards internationally, nationally and locally, the Festival remains one of the premiere events that kick off the summer in Utah each June.”

Throughout her education and career, Seeley received several scholarships, awards and ample success and recognition. Utah will experience the loss of a great artist after Seeley moves out of state. However, she will have the opportunity to flush her talent over Orlando, Florida and gain even more recognition for her signature array of animal paintings signed by “Jenn”.