Sculptural Wonders: Interview with Artist Jon Seeman

Jon Seeman
Jon Seeman's abstract, unique, colorful, and entirely spectacular steel form sculptures appear to float in midair.

Spheres, spirals, beveled cylinders, vibrant colors, and angular curved forms that can appear organic are just a handful of elements that one might admire when they look upon the sculptural art of Jon Seeman. His abstract, unique, and entirely spectacular steel form sculptures appear to float in midair, a technique Jon mastered whilst meticulously cutting, forming and welding each shape in his art studio.

A native of Laguna Beach, California, Jon spent a portion of his college years in New York after following his girlfriend there (who is now his wife of nearly fifty years). His time in New York was instrumental to his creative development but Jon eventually returned to California and opened an art studio in Laguna in 1979. Jon’s breakthrough came when a gallery sold his ten-foot-high sculpture titled “Pierced Arc” to a well-known movie maker. From there, movie stars and movie makers took notice of his large-scale steel sculptures and became his first collectors.

Jon hails from an artistic family full of inventors, engineers, and artists. His work has won many awards and accolades, including taking 1st Place in sculpture at the Indian Well’s Art Festival in 2022.

Jon recently discussed his art and career via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for art and how did that lead you into your role as a sculptor?

Jon Seeman (JS):  I liked playing with shapes as a kid and made my first welded steel sculpture at 13. A 16-inch abstract piece. Inspired by nothing I had ever seen; I just liked the shapes and balance.

MM: How did your childhood impact your creativity?

Jon SeemanJS: It seemed that nearly all of my family peers where creative thinkers in some way or another. So, it was just a given that I would be inspired by their successes. Being creative just seemed so natural and hereditary. As a young teenager I idolized many family members. Father a geologist / civil engineer, brother an artist, very successful gold prospector, inventor, two more artists – one of which works were cataloged by the Getty Museum, custom home builders, locomotive mechanic/inspector, architect and early Laguna Fire Chief. As my parents over and over again said you could become anything you put your mind too and I was dumb enough to believe them. But it worked!

MM: What is it about abstract art and kinetic (moving) art that is so compelling to you?

JS: For me it is making a dynamic sculptural form that is entirely unique. An assembly of elemental geometric shapes that appear to be suspended in space.

MM: You moved to New York as a young man, so how did your time in Manhattan influence your creativity?

JS: The city stifled my first attempt at being an artist. I was a photographer working in Manhattan while trying to break into the artistic gallery side of that medium. I was being published but saw that this could never sustain me and I became anxious for a change in mediums. I also felt photography itself was not challenging enough. I wanted to make art furniture and apprenticed in a shop in Merrick, NY. Returned to CA building complex sculptural functional art pieces in exotic hardwoods. It really took off with my main clients in the movie industry. After 15 years I felt I had done just about everything I could do in this medium, so I shifted quickly over to large all steel sculpture. No functional restrictions and the sky was the limit.

MM: You went to New York due to a girlfriend who is snow your wife of over forty years! How much of an influence has your wife been on your art and/or creative muse?

Jon SeemanJS: In college I studied art and science, figuring I would be involved in some environment field. Shortly after we met Lorraine encouraged me to be an artist and not to worry about money. So, her amazing support and encouragement was a life changer. I was extremely determined to be successful as an artist.

MM: Movie industry professionals love your work. So, how did they first find out about it?

JS: Through the Laguna Beach Arts Festival. The one 6-week show provided me and an assistant work for an entire year. Then after 15 years I got antsy for a major change. Sold all of my woodworking equipment, bought all metalworking equipment. Learned that craft and started building designs out of my head. It was magical.

MM: What are some of the most memorable and/or complex pieces you’ve created? My first steel sculpture after switching mediums.

JS: I felt I had no time to waste because I wanted to go big. That piece was 10′ high and sold profitably to a movie producer. The game was on. My last 20′ by 8′ by 8′ sculpture that went to Richmond, VA. Wonderfully challenging to make.

MM: How do you decide on the color(s) to make your pieces?

JS: Client input. Color is of little importance to me as it is all about the composition.

MM: Be honest, out of all your creations do you have a favorite?

JS: The Richmond, VA sculpture. A complex massive undertaking that was so challenging and rewarding. The interior of that sculpture is a structural marvel with its cross braced 26 foot spine that interlocks into a below ground concrete slab.

Jon SeemanMM: How did you manage to get your work shown in public venues?

JS: Shows and galleries are easy to get into, cinching the sale can be difficult.

MM: What have been the highlights of your career as an artist?

JS: Having the courage and excitement to change a medium when you start to get bored.

MM: What have been some of the most memorable tidbits of feedback that you’ve received about your work?

JS: Often clients inform me long after they have owned a sculpture that they enjoy the piece every day and thank me.

MM: How do you envision your artwork evolving over the next ten years?

Jon SeemanJS: At 71 now, I am evolving one more time. I just starting to work on a new large sculpture direction. That is all I will say for now.

MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

JS: Embrace life and creativity.