Meet Tonja Sell


     I was born in rural northern Wisconsin in 1968, studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design - MIAD and received the Regent Scholarship at Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.   My repertoire includes drawing, painting, ceramic and metal sculpture, glass-blowing and fusing textiles and more.    

     The Pre-Raphaelites, Impressionists, Expressionists as well as my very creative and supportive parents are among those who have influenced my work.  
"I was creating something all of the time as a child, my parents gave me opportunity to explore.  That is something I am very grateful for.   I live with my husband Matthew, also a MIAD graduate in the field of Industrial Design, and our four children in the home/studio that we designed and built together.  

    While my work incorporates a wide range of media and subject including landscapes and natural themes, the female form is a reoccurring focus.  Often depicted in a narrative setting.   "I appreciate work that draws me into someone's experience.  A point in time, a moment, that I can  become  a part of.   The human element is important to me.  There is inspiration everywhere: a glance observed,  patterns of light and shadow created on drapery, texture of leaves on the damp forest floor.  An artist is a reporter of sorts, capturing something of personal import and conveying it through  unique interpretation to their "readers."  I love that process.  Working it out and making it my own."

     Though I have been working artistically over the years, I still consider myself an emerging artist.  The home-education of our children has been my primary focus. Now that they are becoming more independent I am able to devote a larger portion of my time to my art.  

    I am currently focusing on drawing, painting, wool felting and ceramic-glass sculpture.  "I am devoted to experimentation at this stage of life.  I enjoy so many things and there is so much to learn.  I am excited to see where the process takes me and look forward to the journey."