Tag Archives: author

Gwenn Seemel: Her Art and Her Message

The only thing more colorful than Gwenn Seemel’s paintings is her vibrant personality. #HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino recently sat down with this French-American artist to discuss her unique painting style and her powerful messaging.

Gwenn’s unmistakable style has been crafted for years, having been inspired at an early age to pursue a career in art when she received positive feedback from her brother. From there, with a push from her family, she attended art classes and her career has blossomed ever since.

Gwenn specializes in portrait work, as well as conceptual pieces, like the work she did for her book Crime Against Nature: a more accurate telling of what’s natural. The book seeks to shatter gender and social norms through evidence found in nature as well as Gwenn’s paintings of the corresponding species that shatters the existing concept.

While Gwenn’s paintings have been shown all over the United States – and even in some photo filters – she recently made headlines for something that happened right in New Jersey. During the opening day of the Love and Fear Exhibition at the Montclair Public Library, one of Gwen’s six pieces, featuring imagery of President Trump, was removed during the first 30 minutes. The library originally cited ‘profanity’ as the cause for the removal but has since issued a statement and rehung the painting.  

Lucky for us, Gwenn brought in some of her paintings to show off. They included a sunset modeled after where she lives in Surf City, two portraits, and a dinosaur image with bunny ears. Together, Gwenn and Lisa Marie discussed the meaning behind each of the paintings and the inspiration behind their creation.  

Gwenn’s paintings are so striking that they command your attention, however seeing them in person is absolutely hypnotizing. Our studio found itself much like a traffic jam, everyone gathering around to stare, mouths open, at Gwenn’s work. The attention to detail is apparent in every deliberate stroke; all seeming independent from the other, but all adding up to tell one story and paint one picture. Everyone had a differing opinion in which piece was their favorite and why.  Everyone found something that spoke to them, directly. 

You can see Gwenn’s work in person during her three current shows: “Love and Fear” at the Montclair Public Library, “Empathetic Magic” at Lyceum Hall in Burlington, NJ and “Crime Against Nature” at the FIAF in Montclair, NJ. 

For more information on Gwenn, visit https://www.gwennseemel.com/ and be sure to visit one of Gwenn’s three current exhibitions:

Crime Against Nature
Open: through May 8th
Hours: Monday through Thursday 8:30 AM to 6 PM, Friday 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Saturday 9 AM to 4:30 PM
FIAF Montclair
7 North Willow Street, Suite 7
Montclair, NJ 07042

Empathetic Magic
Open: through 29th by appointment
Lyceum Hall
432 High Street
Burlington, NJ 08016
609-239-0029

Love and Fear
Open: through April 29th
Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 8 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday 1 to 6 PM
Montclair Public Library Gallery
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

national author's day

#HipNJ Talks National Author’s Day

The holiday first began in 1928 by Illinois Women’s Club president Nellie Verne McPherson. A teacher and active reader, she wrote a fan letter to a fiction writer. Upon hearing back, McPherson decided to show her appreciation by electing for Author’s Day to become a national holiday to honor American writers. Keep reading for a list of authors that are from the Garden State:

Judy Blume
Born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, she is known for the Fudge-a-mania series. She’s also the creator of Blubber and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and has written many adult books including Wifey and Summer Sisters.

Harlan Coben
Born in Newark, New Jersey, he still lives in the Garden State with his wife. He is known for many titles including Fool Me Once, No Second Chance and Tell No One, which was turned into a French film.

George R.R. Martin
Born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. He is known for the Song of Ice and Fire series, which later turned into the television series Game of Thrones, he has worked on many popular things such as The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast.

Barbara Park
Born and raised in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She is most known for creating the Junie B. Jones series, which was consistently on the New York Times Best Seller List. She has written over 50 books, including Ma! There’s Nothing to do Here! and Skinnybones.

Lisa Marie Latino
That’s right- #HipNJ’s own is an author herself. Lisa will be hosting an author event at the Butler Public Library in Butler, NJ in celebration of #NationalAuthorsDay. The event will be on Wednesday, January 30, from 6:30-7:30pm. Come meet her and hear her talk about her new book, Ten Years Later, which won Best Fiction at the Independent Authors Book Expo.  You’ll also be able to take one home with you because she will be selling copies of the novel as well.

This program is free of charge but please call the library to reserve your seat.

Penelope Lagos

Penelope Lagos of “I Miss My Best Friend”

In honor of #WorldBookDay, #HipNJ‘s resident author Lisa Marie Latino chatted with fellow scribe Penelope Lagos about her debut book, I Miss My Best Friend.

I Miss My Best Friend is a heart-warming story for children that will help them learn how to deal with the loss of a pet. Penelope also offers ten helpful steps parents can use to help their children cope with grief.

The poignant story and detailed illustrations were inspired by the death of Cassius “The Legend” Lagos, who was Penelope’s beloved best friend for 16 years.

“Losing Cassius was like losing a child to me,” Penelope explained. “You never get over the death, but the book has helped me heal.

“It’s been therapeutic.”

Her love for four-legged creatures goes beyond Cassius. She is a huge animal advocate and strongly believes in being “a voice for the voiceless.” She holds a certification in Canine Fitness and Conditioning as well as Advanced Pet CPR/First Aid.

“Author” and “Animal Ambassador” are only two of the many hats Penelope wears. She is a New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate who has acted in numerous indie films and commercials as well as volunteering at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Penelope was the recipient of an achievement award honoring critical funds raised for LLS.

For more on Penelope and to purchase her book, visit PenelopeLagos.com.

Lisa Marie Latino’s wardrobe provided by Privée by Priya. Lisa Marie’s Makeup and hair provided by Blush Brides NJ. Order her debut novel “Ten Years Later” on Amazon