Vancouver native Marisa Seguin is barely out of college, yet already turning her artistic passion into a promising career in the United States, with works published throughout the continent.
Born and raised in B.C., Seguin fondly remembers her Canadian childhood and her entrance into the art world.
“You know how some children are all about Barbies and Legos as kids?” she said. “Well, I was an arts kid. I always had a crayon in hand.”
After attending a high school with an in-depth arts program, Seguin moved to Wisconsin to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, a school that offered an art curriculum better suited to her needs than those she found Vancouver.
For her senior thesis exhibition in 2011, she chose to draw cities across the globe that she feels attached to.
“[I chose] Vancouver and Milwaukee obviously because I spent most of my time there,” Seguin said. “Paris and San Francisco because I’ve always wanted to visit them.”
Seguin said she is considering expanding the series to include other Canadian cities, starting with Toronto.
Since earning her degree, Seguin has been working in Milwaukee as a graphic designer for U.S. department store Kohl’s.
“I mostly do seasonal stuff, Halloween, Easter, holidays,” she said, “But I love that I always get to do something new. “I like working on more than one creative project at once, so when I get stuck on something from work, I can switch over to another project for a bit.”
Seguin hopes to one day be able to support herself financially from her drawings alone.
Seguin is also a regular contributor to online art collective Ten Paces and Draw. Through the group, she became involved in “Pokémon: Battle Royale,” a show where 151 artists created depictions of the 151 original Pokémon.
Seguin said she was excited when asked to be involved with the show.
“I haven’t kept up with any other Pokémon series since the original, so for me it was a chance to kind of recapture a part of my childhood,” she said.
Seguin chose to draw Pokémon #137, Porygon.
“I love the geometric shapes in his body, and he doesn’t usually get much love,” Seguin said. “The only episode in the show he was in had to be pulled from the air because some scenes caused a bunch of children in Japan to have seizures. Coincidentally, it was Pikachu that caused them, not Porygon.”
Seguin said she didn’t expect the level of enthusiasm the show drew at the Light Grey Art Lab gallery in Minneapolis, Minn., where the Battle Royale opened several weeks ago.
“I drove up with my friend Chelsey that Friday expecting a good turnout for the opening, and the whole place was full,” said Seguin. “I heard from another artist that before the doors opened, the lineup stretched for the whole block.”
Recently, her work has been published in several outlets from the San Francisco Chronicle to Oh Comely magazine in the United Kingdom.
Through it all, Seguin has no trouble staying modest about her accomplishments.
“As an artist, I’m influenced by everyday stuff, I take regular things and simply put a new spin on them,” Seguin said, smiling. “Sometimes inspiration can come from a an expression, a blurb of words from a friend, or something ordinary you suddenly see in a different way. You never know what comes out, and what it’ll lead to.”
CORRECTION: The article “From Paris to Pokémon, Vancouver artist inspired by life experience” posted May 9 stated that Marisa Seguin had never visited Venice before, when in fact, she had. The article also incorrectly spelled the name of Seguin’s friend Chelsey incorrectly. Finally, Seguin was not “unimpressed” with the post-secondary art curricula in Vancouver, but instead felt they did not suit her needs as well as the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. We regret the errors.
—Image “Vancouver” by Marisa Seguin provided by artist