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IN THE LIFE Lea Selley
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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Artist Lea Selley's infectiousness about Chicago and the surrounding suburbs is evident right off the bat. Selley said driving from Vancouver ( where she was born and raised ) to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, then Denver and, since December 2016, Chicago made her realize she wants to make the Windy City her new home base.

Selley ( who has her green card ) decided to stay in Chicago because of the artist community, festivals and families that are interested in her services as well as the multicultural vibe and comfortable geography. She is a face painter ( Awesome Face Painter ), children's entertainer and also has stencils ( Graffiti Eyes ) that are sold in retail stores in six countries. Selley made special note of how park districts are utilized in the Chicagoland area because they give her business opportunities.

"The name Awesome Face Painter came from my desire to make it easy for people to remember," said Selley. "Plus having a business name that boasts some fun confidence should make people at least curious to take a look at my artwork. I offer more than just face painting, but that particular type of artwork is what kicked off my body art journey, so I figured I would honor that in the naming of my service company.

"Working with kids is fun and funny. Most of the time it is a blessing as I am exposed to human innocence, imagination and laughter that adults don't tend to engage in. A lot of times parents will introduce me to their child as 'their artist" and say something like this: 'She is going to paint something for you. What do you want?' That used to terrify me. I thought how am I going to paint a hamburger, a minion, a walrus, a fire phoenix.

"It is not just butterflies and tigers—it is whatever their imagination desires. I have to paint fast and invent all kinds of crazy weird paintings on the spot, so face painting kids has been great exercise for my artistic brain."

Selley's interest in geography led to her Simon Fraser University in Vancouver where she received a BA in geography and a master's degree in spatial information systems. Aside from her artistic endeavors, Selley is most excited about the variety of terrain ( lakes, parks, wild grass, plants and flora and fauna ) that exists in Northern Illinois. She hopes to visit Starved Rock and Morton Arboretum among other sites in the near future.

Selley's work can be found on her website .


- Age: 42

- Orientation: Lesbian

- Relationship: Single and focused on friendships at the moment

- Job title: Artist, business owner ( Awesome Face Painter ) and entrepreneur ( Graffiti Eyes stencils )

- Favorite snack: Beef jerky

- Neighborhood: Lives in Hoffman Estates at the moment but is looking to make Andersonville her home

- Favorite artist: French graffiti artist C215

- Favorite TV show/movie/book/musical artist: Programming on the network/ The Matrix/ The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss by Michael Langford/ Australian hip hop group Bliss n Eso

- Favorite fast food: Portillo's

- Personal mantra: "Every day, in every way, I keep getting stronger and stronger."

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