Minneapolis artist Scott Seekins sports signature monochromatic style for more than 50 years

If you've been out and about in Minneapolis, chances are you've probably spotted Scott Seekins.

Maybe it was waiting for a bus downtown. Or hanging out at a coffee shop in Uptown, with his ever-present white binder.

Wearing all-black suits in the winter and all-white ones in the summer, Seekins' signature style has been a staple around town for more than half a century.

"I didn't plan on being this icon thing. I didn't intend to be anything really other than my own personal look," said Seekins. 

Seekins is an artist whose studio near Loring Park is filled with portraits he has painted of animals and Madonnas. But Seekins himself is the subject of a lot of his work, like the series he did of him and Britney Spears in various scenarios.

"If you don't love yourself, who else is going to? I mean I like being in the pictures. I feel that it's like an art form in itself and a lot of people only are interested in the ones of me," said Seekins.

Seekins had his first art show when he was just 6 years old after he was adopted by a couple in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and moved to South St Paul. He developed his alternating monochromatic looks as a way to stand out as an art student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1968.

"I think that the town is really, really caught in conformity, and I was someone who wasn't into that. I was more into dealing with each person individually. I believe in the individual," said Seekins.

In the '80s and '90s, Seekins became a fixture at local hotspots like the New French Cafe, Urban Wildlife, and the Loring Cafe. His black or white attire attracted attention, both good and bad, at art openings, bars, and restaurants alike.

"Mostly positive. Now more and more people know me too. That's part of it. But there's been attacks and other weird things," said Seekins.

Seekins says despite his flamboyant appearance, he is actually quite shy. He says he wears his trademark outfits whenever he goes out, even when he's fishing, which is one of his favorite hobbies.

"Because you have to keep the image to uphold. You can't suddenly be changing into jeans and stuff," said Seekins.

These days there are websites like seekingseekins.com where users share photos of Seekins sightings at grocery stores, bus stops, and watering holes. Creator Jarrin Jambik says even though many people know of Seekins, not many know much about him.

"I like that he's an enigma. It's just kind of strange. What is this guy? What is he doing? Why is he here," said Jambik.

To some, Seekins is a local living legend, whose black and white wardrobe is a bellwether of the changing seasons.

"He is an artist. He does his weird art. But I think of him more as a performance artist who takes this character out into the wild and interacts with people and I think that's great," said Jambik.

But Seekins says sometimes daring to be different is a work of art in and of itself.

"I just think anyone should have the right to dress the way they want, you know? And it shouldn't affect their employment or their standing in the community or whatever," said Seekins.