George Sewell is a self-taught artist who has been living and working in Manhattan for 40+ years. He arrived in NYC from London in the early 70’s and became enamored of the city’s world-class urban chaos. Strongly influenced by the street scenes in lower Manhattan, he first voiced his creativity through graffiti art.
But soon, Sewell’s art moved away from the street and into the studio, translating the vibrant styles of the streets into richly visual equivalents.
new york city
Popping color fields, transfigured geometry, masked alphabets and common forms collide in compositions on canvas, paper, wood and found material. Much of Sewell’s work offers an homage to daily life of New York City, it’s clattering motion, passion and color. Keeping pace with the rhythmic pulse of the urban experience, you find hidden water towers, row houses, references to jazz and r&b music, coffee cups.
For the past decade, Sewell has spent his summers in Belfast, Maine. This fresh landscape immediately informed his work, inspiring a close study of nature, village architecture, boats, wildlife and the rocky seaside. A bright summer palette and sense of playfulness is brought to new subjects: nautical treasures, sea faring vessels, lobster, moose, lighthouses and classic New England architecture.
While in NYC, Sewell scouts the city streets for repurposable items for use as canvases: street signs, shipping boxes, discarded furniture. He scoops up cast-off skateboard decks, baseballs and other objects from the parks on his daily runs, bringing them to his studio for transformation. When in Maine, Sewell scavenges the seashore for washed up lobster buoys, driftwood, tree bark and other detritus. He transforms clay pots, road signs, lobster claws and haunts flea market for old wooden boxes, game boards — anything, everything can be a canvas.
Sewell has shown his work in New York City, London, Norway, Boston, Los Angeles, Beacon NY, and Midcoast Maine. Sewell was a featured artist at the Bergen Norway International Music Festival and was commissioned to do interior and exterior installations for the Broadway musical RENT at New York’s Nederlander Theater, Boston’s Schubert Theater and London’s Shaftsbury Theatre. His early graffiti art was featured alongside works by at the 2011 Children’s Museum of the Arts inaugural exhibition “Make Art (in) Public.” Other commercial work includes design for Sony and Atlantic Records labels for artists Luscious Jackson and Tito Puente.
When not creating his own work, Sewell shares his love for the creative with kids as a teaching artist in NYC public schools. He encourages them to see fun and beauty in everyday materials and objects around them, to take chances and just make art! He teaches at PS11 in NYC, focusing on small works and murals. He led a 6-week workshop with 6th graders at NYC’s School of the Future, helping them create extensive wall murals representing the 5 NYC Boroughs the students there come from. Sewell has also worked as a teaching artist at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, the Bergen Norway Natt Jazz Festival, Greenwich Village Youth Council, Neutral Zone for LGBTQ youth, and has led the creation of several large-scale murals in schools during multiple NYCares Day.