Seamus Berkeley has been painting or drawing in one form or another from early childhood. His earliest recollection of drawing was at the age of seven when he drew, what else, a portrait. Since that time he has created architectural renderings, theatrical paintings, and painted hundreds of people from life. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Seamus grew up in various locations around Canada and the US, and moved to Taos, New Mexico in 1999 in order to integrate into a more diverse artistic community, drawing upon Taoseños as subjects and inspiration for his paintings. After over a decade painting in Taos, he became widely considered as one of the most prominent artists in the Southwest.
In 2005, Seamus opened a studio in Berkeley, California, where he lived comfortably on the choppy Pacific waters in his boat, biking the stretch between the bay and his Parker Street studio. During this period of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, he made frequent trips back to the high desert panoramas of Taos. In 2015, he left the hectic Bay Area to return to live full time in Taos.
A lifelong student of psychology, Seamus has always been fascinated by people; his interest in human habits and personalities allows him the space to become familiar with a person before painting him or her; this intention to perceive a person has helped him to garner an acute awareness of a person’s individuality when setting out to paint a portrait.
In 2012 Seamus initiated a unique portrait project, Portraits of Family House, with Family House Inc. of San Francisco, and he deeply enjoyed expanding the reaches of his art for social, familial purposes beyond what he previously imagined possible.
Seamus enjoys creating artwork that speaks to the viewer. “The primary goal is to make a good painting. A good painting has the potential to evoke a memorable experience for the viewer”. Berkeley’s work is not only an expression of himself, but it is his own personal contribution to visually recorded history.
Seamus Berkeley’s paintings are extensively collected, both nationally and internationally, most of his work being commissioned fine art. For the past three decades, Berkeley has concentrated on oils as his primary medium, focusing on landscape, figurative and portrait paintings in a representational impressionistic style.
Seamus Berkeley has won several regional and national awards for his artwork, including Best Portrait at the Oil Painters of America show in 2000. He is the founder and past-president of the Taos Society of Portrait Artists and a member of the Oil Painters of America. Berkeley’s work has been featured in such publications as Southwest Art, Information Warehouse, The Taos News, Art-Talk and The Trail-Gazette. Two of his paintings were selected as part of the Taos Banner series in 2019 and 2020.
Seamus’ influences include esteemed artists Charles Cross, Nancy Guzik, Quang Ho, David Lefel, Ron Sherr, Richard Schmid and Teresa Vito. Additionally, he has traveled worldwide to study first-hand the works of master painters.
“The beauty of art is not only in the completed work but in its process. The creative process in art is a movement — the external world is seen from the artist’s perspective and is then returned to the external world through the chosen media. The result of this reflective process is a work of art to be shared by others.” ~Seamus Berkeley