Ceili Seipke is a mother, painter, photographer and costume champion.
South Burlington, Vermont / United States
Ceili Seipke is the first member of her Hungarian immigrant family to be born in America. She was raised in Pennsylvania and attended Baylor University where she received a BFA in Painting with a minor in Interior Design. She continued to live in Texas for another three years while her husband finished his graduate studies.
While raising a family, Ceili worked a variety of jobs, including teaching workshops and owning a non-profit for creating murals. During her eleven years as a full-time Behavioral Interventionist, she was mentored in digital photography by photographer Jonathan Hart of Amazing Vermont. She then spent two years honing Photoshop skills. Digital photography helped Ceili to stay creative with shorter-term finished projects during a time when the schedule didn't allow for extensive paintings. It also brought an opportunity to photograph weddings and portraits as well as for some of her landscape images to be made into cards by Amazing Vermont. Recent circumstances have allowed Ceili to step away from other jobs, enabling her a return to exploring painting and drawing, learning skills to start her own business and become more involved in both local and online art communities.
Ceili's work has been shown locally in both juried and group exhibitions as well as a solo show. She currently lives in Vermont with her husband, their college-age son, and adorable Shiba Inu.
"Finding it challenging to paint as a creative expression while working full-time, I devoted myself to digital photography to provide a quick way to meet the need for making art. I began to ask family, friends, and their children to model for me and created make-believe reveries. I sewed costumes as well as crafting them out of blankets and second-hand finds and fashioned props to tell a story. We would go out on location or shoot in my garage and I would refine the scenes in Photoshop.
Recently I started to build more sets to use in my images. Many of my earlier images were photographed in the abundant Vermont snow or on the frozen lake. The natural beauty of winter made it my favorite season and she quickly became my muse to create dreamy winter images. Shortly before my first solo show in November 2019, I started to be drawn towards a different aesthetic of bold characters and expanded my portraits to include badass and mischievous characters. A combination of my earlier and newer images comprised the fifteen-piece show.
With Covid-19 changing the way we participate in the world, I put making imaginative portraiture on the back burner for safety reasons. Instead, I began to explore painting, drawing, and subject matters that move me. I find myself drawn towards beauty in imperfection with my paintings showing the lines of the underdrawing, not covering up splatters and leaving some areas almost finished but not quite. Life isn't perfect but there is beauty in it. We often want to cover up flaws yet those flaws can be beautiful and being transparent is what makes for real connections."
"I was a child who liked to draw, paint, sew, make things with my hands and envisions how interiors could be decorated. I never took myself seriously as an artist and lacked confidence in my abilities. My parents were immigrants with elementary school educations and I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. I was torn between going to school for Interior Design or art and started my higher education commuting to a local college before transferring to a university where I could do both. I went to school at a time when many women were still looking for a husband rather than a career and art students were told to take any job to support their painting habit.
My husband and I have three amazing children of our own and recently have been able to provide a home and support for two young adults while they finished high school. I am also a fur mom to an adorable Shiba Inu. While my children were growing up, I painted occasionally, had a non-profit for painting murals in places such as a pediatric office and pre-school. I also provided support in the art for a high school student and tried to keep in touch with the local art community. Most of my creative energy went into my children. I did a lot of arts and crafts with them, painted under the sea and jungle murals in their bedrooms, hosted themed birthday parties, handmade a book for my daughter, created costumes, allowed them to get messy and encouraged them to explore their talents. When my oldest son was in sixth grade, he convinced me to make a costume to wear for the opening night of Revenge of the Sith. The costume was intricate enough that we were featured in the local news. When he graduated college, he used his technical prop making skills while I used my sewing skills to create costumes for the premiere of The Force Awakens and were again featured in the local news.
I have always encouraged each of my children to explore their creativity and follow their passions, not to choose a path for the financial security but one that has purpose and meaning for them. Each of my children is artistic in their own way from writing and filmmaking to video producing and music. While my own art may have been sporadic, I have no regrets for making the decision to raise my children in the way I was able to. In all honesty, I do not believe I was ready to give art my full attention until now. I didn't know what I wanted to do, nor was I focused or disciplined enough to pursue finding out. I believe you are never too old to find your dreams and develop your gifts and skills. You just need a willing heart that is not afraid to be a beginner again, to get past your fears and be true to yourself."