Claudia Selene spent her early years in the high-desert country around Prescott, Arizona. Because of her family’s strong social/environmental beliefs, she and her sister were home schooled, and she spent most of her time making drawings and paintings of her friends and family, imaginary people and places, and the cactus, scraggly junipers, and tiny wildflowers around their mobile home.

As a teenager and young adult, Claudia’s interests carried her from street-performing in Warsaw to working in a homeless shelter in Chicago, to dissecting mice and studying EEG data for an Alzheimer's research lab. Through it all, she continued to draw and paint whatever was around her: She heard about the tough lives of homeless men and women while drawing their faces at the scuffed wooden table of a dilapidated mansion in Chicago; she made sketches of the girls in her ballet classes; she even drew the mice in the lab and painted the tangled fire-escapes in greasy alleys where she used to climb with her friends. Claudia was 22 when her father died of cancer, and she made drawings of him in his last days, as well as huge abstract watercolors and pastels to overcome her grief in the months that followed.

When she was 24, Claudia spent many hours each week sculpting the delicate bones of the human skeleton at The Drawing Workshop, and then at 25, Claudia spent a year training intensively with the realist painters at the Ravenswood Atelier in the 19th century practices of French academic artists. After that she returned to work, but continued painting on weekends at the Palette and Chisel. In 2011, when the gridlock in Congress left the National Institute of Health unable to fund many of the research labs that had been relying on it, Claudia lost her job. In the daze that followed, she realized that her most beloved occupation was perfecting something beautiful. She turned down job offers and began painting full time. Claudia now lives the life she has been training for, without realizing it, since she was a child; she is an artist.


To inquire about purchasing or commissioning paintings, exhibiting Claudia Selene’s work, or for information about classes, workshops, or private lessons, please email: