Artist Spotlight + Inside the Artist Studio of Saegan Swanson

People are endlessly beautiful and interesting.



Saegan Swanson has gone from creating art in her hometown of Willits, California to painting portraits of iconic New Orleans figures for the Tricentennial celebration as part of 300 for 300. We sat down with Saegan for a Q & A session. Get to know her, read her Artist Profile and check out her portrait of Ella Brennan, now available online.

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 believe Mac Rebennack A.K.A. Dr. John said it best: “In New Orleans…you can’t separate nothing from nothing. Everything mingles each into the other…until nothing is purely itself but becomes part of one funky gumbo.” You are a part of something greater here. You are yourself here.

Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?

I’m usually wearing pajamas. And an apron. Comfort is key.

Where do you draw inspiration?

The human figure. People are endlessly beautiful and interesting.

‘Swamp Goddess’ Oil and metal leaf on canvas wrapped wood panel.

Who are your artistic influences or gurus?

Everyone. Including you.

In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?

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 hanging with my dogs. I’m also a part-time bookkeeper.

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

Meal times, days that end in ‘y’ and any month that doesn’t drop below 50 or bring a hurricane.

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 could explain away, so the entire family ended up fleeing the country.