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Featured Poster Artist

Joe Seme

When commissioned to serve as the 2023 Waterfowl Festival’s poster artist, Joe Seme, a celebrated artist, felt a wave of nostalgia wash over him. It brought to mind the time in 1980 when he was given the task of creating the Festival Book Cover painting for the 10th anniversary, which focused on Eastern Shore sporting life. This original painting, now safely tucked away in the Festival office, has been sold out for quite some time. Similarly, in 1990, he was commissioned to produce the cover art for the Festival’s 20th anniversary Official Guide, and as expected, the prints (the original painting can also be found in the Festival office) sold out too. (Refer to images below)


Joe has been a Waterfowl Festival regular exhibitor since 1978 and is a Waterfowl Festival Hall of Fame charter member. Seme, born in New Jersey in 1946, has mostly resided in North Carolina throughout his life. In 1968, he graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English and a concentration in American Literature. He served in the Marine Corps and owned a night club in the early 70s, near Sugar Mountain. Despite having no formal training, he began painting full time in 1973. After spending twenty years in the NC mountains, he now lives on a salt marsh in Wilmington.


Seme is a personification of the past and its essence, with an ardent love for pursuits such as baseball, hunting, fishing, and collecting. He amasses the objects he cherishes from old bookstores, friends, family, and memories, and his painting studio reflects these life passions. As Joe’s ideas for a painting take shape, his still life “trompe l’oeil” paintings emerge from these objects.

Joe Seme is an artist with a passion for creating vibrant and imaginative pieces of art. His work is a reflection of his life experiences, the people he has met, and the places he has been.

2023 Waterfowl Festival Poster

A Glimpse into Seme’s Artistry

Seme’s artwork transcends time, embodying the allure of bygone eras. His passion for objects with stories, like books, decoys, antiques, and collectibles, infuses his creations with a unique depth. As an avid collector, Joe curates treasures from old bookstores, cherished friends, dear family, and treasured memories. It’s within these treasures that his masterpieces take form. His still life “trompe l’oeil” paintings, capturing the essence of objects, carry the whispers of stories and memories that shape his vision.

“This is the most complicated painting I’ve done in many years. I could have simplified it a bit and saved myself a lot of work, but I just kept getting ideas. Can’t explain it. It’s just the way my artist’s brain works!”

-Joe Seme

The Making of “Eastern Shore”

Original 46″ x 36″ framed, $15,000

“Eastern Shore” will be on display at Joe’s booth in the Armory for the duration of the 2023 Waterfowl Festival

Posters are available for sale online and onsite at the Armory at the Festival.

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