Chestee Harrington was born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, along the Bayou Teche. Her iconic polychromatic bas-reliefs were originally inspired by days spent in her father's cabinet shop. The process begins with a low-relief carving of a sketch into a wooden panel. Afterwards, the low-relief is stained with an underpainting. Chestee then applies oil paints and layers of glaze to produce a phenomenal three-dimensional effect.
Chestee's scenes of mossy, wooden cabins and stunning landscapes were inspired by her upbringing along the Old Spanish Trail in New Iberia. The multicultural community combined with the unique natural setting of Louisiana provided an endless stream of creativity. In describing her work, Chestee refers to it as "spiritual expressionism." She writes that, "In pointing to nature, the French Impressionists were saying 'look out into the world. The German painters said, 'look within.' I look to spirit. Here in America, we have the individual freedom to discover and hone our God-given gifts. We can freely use our own imaginations and inspire others."
Chestee studied at the Art Students League in New York City, the Shidoni Foundry in Teseque, New Mexico, and the Woodstock School of Art in New York. She currently lives in New Iberia, Louisiana, where she continues to create magnificent work.