About Seth Chwast
Seth Chwast — Biography
Seth Chwast, who was diagnosed with autism as a very young child, lived for years in a world of roller coasters, haunted houses and classical music. A dramatic change came in 2003, when at age 20 he took an oil painting class at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Seth, who rarely speaks, began describing his world in paint. He displayed an innate ability to mix colors and create amazing works of art that reflect his vision of his world and the world around him.
Seth began painting with artists willing to enter his world and a never-ending stream of creative, dedicated Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) student/mentors. Out poured horses, auroras, whales and self-studies. His mother, Debra, produced an 8-minute documentary DVD titled A Different Kind of Journey, which was shown on WVIZ PBS many times. It was later seen by the staff of The Today Show, which led to a feature segment about Seth that aired on January 3, 2007.
In March 2007, Seth began to travel. After experiencing Costa Rica, Seth’s art exploded with the colors of the tropics. A trip to Galapagos was planned. Meanwhile, Seth had solo exhibits at University Hospitals of Case Western Reserve University and at the Cleveland Clinic. Both institutions purchased paintings. Seth received a second call from The Today Show, asking if he would like to be featured again on New Year’s Day 2008 as their most inspirational story of the year. By the time they returned to film him, in one year Seth had produced another 116 paintings.
Seth traveled to Galapagos in November 2007, where he scheduled his first international exhibition, opening on March 28, 2008. Filled with confidence and excitement, Seth went to the Cayman Islands and met with the director of the National Gallery of the Cayman islands, who scheduled a solo exhibition of his work for October 25 through February 25, 2009. Seth’s second trip to Galapagos included an opening reception for 150 people, including the mayor and the governor of Galapagos. Seth and the exhibition were featured on national television.
Seth regularly flies to New York to paint with Kip Jacobs, a world renowned artist, creating Manhattan cityscapes and mobiles. In July 2008, Seth participated in the Art Omi International Artists Residency in New York’s Berkshires. On opening day, he was seen by the Chelsea Art Museum’s Nicollette Ramirez, who reviewed for Whitehot Magazine and named Seth as one of three outstanding American artists of the residency. Seth and his mom returned to Cayman for three visits during his exhibition, to be on national television, to give gallery tours and to meet with special needs staff and families of the autistic.
Seth was invited by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) to participate in Visions of Galapagos, “a collaborative effort between the museum, painter Seth Chwast and the Dittrick Medical History Center,” part of the museum’s Darwin Year, running July 18 to October 11, 2009.
Seth was invited to exhibit in Kiev, in a group exhibition, Neurodiversity, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa at the Museum of Modern Art Ukraine.
Seth was invited to exhibit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center from September to November 2011. He exhibited in Curacao from November 2011 to January 2012. He returned to CMNH in March 2012 to provide the companion exhibition of his art for Mythical Creatures, which traveled from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Seth provided 124 paintings and artist statements for his mother, Debra Chwast’s book, An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism and Art. Seth is currently working on a children’s book of Mythic Creatures.
On January 25th, 2012, The United Nations announced the winning artists for the Autism awareness stamp. Seth’s mythic mural image will now be on a United Nations stamp. The launch party will be at the United Nations on April 3rd , 2012. Seth, his family, and friends, are invited to a ceremony at the United Nations, hosted by the secretary general, and then to a dinner at the Bangladesh Embassy.
On April 2nd, Seth will exhibit his art at the Strokes of Genius benefit, curated by Dr. Rosa C. Martinez, on the United Nations Plaza. Seth and his mom have started a series of inspirational presentations and book signings. They are scheduled to return to the Cayman islands and Curaçao, and to work with Autism organizations throughout America.
Please visit my web site, www.SethChwastArt.com
Please visit my blog, www.Growyourbrainblog.Blogspot.com
Please find me on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SethChwast