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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

El Dorado Hills-based Artist Seth Couture

Dec 30, 2016 11:06AM ● By David Norby
Seth with Illona Broyde

 As long as he can remember, Seth Couture has always been able to draw. Using only pencil until adulthood, the El Dorado Hills-based artist went on to attend the San Diego Art Institute, where he was introduced to a world of new mediums, and studied color and design theory, as well as nude life drawing. Building upon his self-taught skills, he now paints stunning acrylic works with moody, atmospheric colors that focus on the beauty of the female form, as well as picturesque streetscapes of San Francisco’s rolling hills. Couture shows his work in select galleries, as well as online at and When asked what he would’ve done differently upon looking back on his art career, he says: “I wish I wouldn't have quit so many times; [although], each time I came back, I had a new perspective...[and] I view this as growth.” 

HLB: What does your focus on the female form represent? 

SC: Because many collectors feel an emotional connection to the art on their walls, I want to avoid creating a character that can be unwelcome or even “creepy” (unless this is my intention). For these reasons, and because I paint with docile emotions, a female subject often manifests in my work organically. Painting a dancer is an artist painting an artist; I like this duality. I have trouble explaining my art speaking on behalf of the female subject, because I have Asperger’s (a spectrum of autism), which is partly responsible for my repetition of these themes and the same reason Andy Warhol couldn’t stop painting soup cans.

HLB: What magic does San Francisco have for you?

SC: Buildings, roads and concrete are typically ugly intrusions in our otherwise pristine and natural landscape. The irregular shapes of the city translate well onto a flat canvas, creating depth, focal points and charisma with unique components—from the cable cars and old buildings to the very steep hills. Again, I am compelled to repeat this theme for reasons I can’t exactly explain.

HLB: What else inspires you?

SC: I get inspired every day, arbitrarily and often unexpectedly. It only becomes artwork if I feel I can express that source of inspiration to others, which in my opinion is very limited. Why something inspires me is subconscious and unknown to me.

HLB: Any words of wisdom for artists just beginning? 

SC: Art can be a simple conversation piece or it can evoke powerful emotion and attachment, trigger memories and nostalgia, or make a powerful statement. This can sometimes be a hit-or-miss process. If you want a powerful response from the viewer, your artwork must tell a story.

HLB: Will sculpting be in your future?  

SC: In my late thirties, I touched clay for the first time and can honestly say I was a master very quickly, with a short learning curve. I would really like to learn metalwork sculpting—focusing on abstract shapes inspired by animal bones and shells. I haven’t made much progress, because I need the funds to build the studio, but hopefully I can get started soon.   

Article by Heather L. Becker // photos by Dante Fontana // artwork photos courtesy of Seth Couture.

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