Sean Yseult, 2015 New Orleans Top Female Achiever
Artist and Bassist, Star & Dagger
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston
If you’re at all a fan of heavy metal, you may recognize Sean Yseult as the female bassist from the multi-platinum heavy metal band White Zombie. Yseult formed the band, along with singer Rob Zombie, in 1985 while both were attending Parsons School of Design.
“We toured for 11 years, were nominated for two Grammys and sold over 6 million records,” she says. “It was a great run.”
Around the time the group disbanded in 1998, Yseult moved to New Orleans. “I had been here while we were touring and I just loved it,” she says. “I’d never seen anything like it before.”
Yseult continued her music career – playing with bands like The Famous Monsters, Rock City Morgue and briefly for The Cramps.
“I always promised myself I’d get back to photography and design,” she says.
A few years after opening a bar with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, called The Saint in 2002, she did just that. “In ’05, I started my own design company, featuring hand-drawn graphic designs that I scanned and put on scarves and pillows and things,” she says, adding that her work was picked up by stores including Barneys, Fred Segal and Liberty of London.
Striking gold with everything she touches, Yseult’s photography earned the artist her first solo show at New Orleans’ Scott Edwards Gallery in 2012. Her second show, entitled “Soiree D’Evolution: Tableaux Vivants et Nature Mortes,” is currently on display at the Scott Edwards Gallery through Aug. 9. The show features large pieces – four-by-six-foot photographs – depicting what she describes as “lavish gatherings from a sordid secret society in New Orleans in the 1870s.”
“I was inspired by the Dutch masters to create these large scale tableauxs,” she says. “Each photo took about a month to create. I had to create all the props, the models – everything.”
Yseult says this latest show also helped her grab some attention from the east. “I’m so excited to report that I’m going to be doing my first show in New York this fall in Soho at the Sacred Gallery.”
Mentor: For graphic design, it would be Henry Wolf; I was fortunate enough to study under him. For photography, I’ve been very inspired and encouraged by local photographers Louviere + Vanessa and David Halliday. For music, I’d say Joan Jett and Ivy from The Cramps.
Defining moment: It has to be this show at the Scott Edwards Gallery right now, and of course my first New York City show. In music, I think it would be the time White Zombie did these two large festivals in England – an all-metal fest called Castle Donnington and an alternative show called the Reading Festival, I believe. No band had ever done those back to back. At Donnington I was only the second female to ever be on that stage.
Advice for young women: My advice is the same for everyone: Do what makes you happy. Ultimately, you’ll be good at it and make other people happy.
Goals: Create more photography and do more shows. Also I want to start doing soundtracks – I actually just got asked to do one here in town. I also want to record a new record with Star & Dagger.
Favorite thing about what I do: There’s never a dull moment. There are always more projects that I’ll never have time for.