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Shopkeeper Bio

Seitu Hayden
Member Since: 2006

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Seitu was born William Eric Hayden September 11th, 1953 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He began drawing in the second grade tracing pictures of his favorite cartoon characters from coloring books he brought to school to occupy his time during lunch. Eventually he began drawing the characters from memory. A story he drew was recognized by a local newspaper and carried the headline “A Dr. Seuss Success”. That was all the encouragement he needed to continue to get better and garner more recognition.
In the seventh grade his mother introduced him to a man who would change his life. His name was Richard Green, an African American cartoonist, who was known by his pen name “Grass Green”. Nothing could have been more impressive. Grass did cartooning for a local black owned weekly newspaper, Frost Illustrated, and was also doing work for Charlton comics in addition to fanzine art. Seeing how he worked at home with his drawing board and all of his art tools was very impressive and made it easy for the young artist to envision himself doing the same thing in the future. By eighth grade Grass gave Seitu (then known as Eric to family and friends) his first professional job inking pencils for his Frost comic strips.
After graduating high school, Seitu went to Chicago to attend the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts where after two months he sold a weekly comic strip called “Waliku” to the Chicago Defender that ran for three years. He adopted the name “Seitu" during that time which means “artist” in Swahili. A year later he transferred to Columbia College and graduated four years later with a B.A. in art.
Two months after graduation (class of 76) Seitu began working at R.H. Donnelley –publishers of the Yellow pages- doing illustration and paste-up while freelancing on the side. While working at Donnelley Seitu met two more people who would change his life- his wife to be-Jean and John Ortman a former big ad agency art director and storyboard illustrator that was starting his own studio. Ortman told the younger artist that he would hire him (on a freelance basis) to help him color his work.
Among the numerous freelance jobs were comic strips and illustrations for “ShopTalk” magazine (hair and beauty trade journal), “Black Family” magazine, “The Black Collegian”, “Nightmoves” a bi-weekly Chicago area newspaper and a couple of album covers including Otis Rush for Alligator records and Walter Jackson’s last album (before his untimely passing) for Chi-Sound records.
In the early 1980’s Seitu began working as a storyboard illustrator and assistant art director at Vince Cullers advertising -the first minority-owned ad agency. That was followed by a stint at Foote Cone and Belding, Ogilvy and Mather, and J. Walter Thompson three of the biggest general market agencies in Chicago. It was during his time at Foote Cone and Belding that Seitu met Raphael Nieves an aspiring comic book writer. “Raff” enlisted his aid to draw a comic book he was co-writing with Cindy Goff called “Tales from the Heart”. “Entropy comics” and then “Slave Labor comics” and that eventually led to doing two color versions in a graphic novel format for a division of Marvel comics called “Epic” published “Tales” in black and white. Seitu’s dream of working for Marvel was fulfilled!
After J. Walter Thompson Seitu began illustrating at the Steve Edsey studio where he was reacquainted with Christine Halloren (now Christine Wilkinson) whom he worked with at Ogilvie and Mather -a relationship that has continued professionally to this day.
Seitu has two boys – Joseph, 20 currently a student at Columbia College, and Jacob, 16 an honor student at Hales Franciscan high school on Chicago’s south side.
Needless to say Seitu’s drawn/created a lot of stuff- with more to come!

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