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A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

Folk art has become part of mainstream art ever since the success of Grandma Moses in the 1950s. But some people think that a folk artist must have been untrained to be authentic. It's kind of a reverse snob appeal thing. "I think the thing that appeals to so many is the simplicity of ordinary human experience and humor that is part of so much folk art," Michael says. "Folk art is more a state of mind than a state of artistic training. The naive quality of it reenforces the honesty of the art."

Michael is the son of an artist and a musician. His wife, Mary, is a music teacher. And their eight children have all followed at least one of the arts: music, visual art, photography, film, fine woodworking and writing.

Michael began painting at a relatively early age, receiving awards for his work. When it came time to go to university, Michael initially majored in Marine Biology. Then he took a two year break to be a missionary in Argentina for his church. On returning, he changed his major to Art and then to Graphic Design. "I've never regretted that decision. I think it's the best field for an aspiring visual artist. It keeps you visually stimulated and motivated as well as demanding real skills."

After graduating with a BFA degree from Brigham Young University, Michael moved to Prince Edward Island, Canada with his wife and 2.5 children. There he freelanced as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator for seven years. He was then hired as the senior designer for one of the largest design firms in the Maritime Provinces, Design Associates. Michael’s design experience extends to all areas of graphic design including advertising, corporate identity, institutional design, annual reports, display and interpretive center design as well as print and web design.

While living on PEI Michael began producing his stenciled art under the name Folk Stencil Originals. He loved the challenge of hand-cut stencils. "It's not enough to design a pretty image. You can't just put an object wherever you want. You have to consider the physical limitations of the stencil itself."

In 1987 Michael began teaching as a professor of Graphic Design at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, passing on his passion for visual knowledge to younger generations. In his 25 years there, he taught Graphic Techniques, Color Theory, Illustration, Branding, Web Applications and Art History.

While teaching college, Michael also pursued his illustration and painting careers. Doing stock illustration through The Image Bank, Michael's work has been used around the world for such clients as British Airways Magazine, Kelley Services, Macmillan McGraw-Hill publishers and Business Week Magazine. Michael's paintings were also displayed at Koyman Galleries in Ottawa and other venues in Canada.

Michael has been a popular speaker for youth and adult audiences as well as a guest lecturer on a range of topics including those embodied in his book, "Success In The Arts: What It Takes to Make It in Creative Fields."

On returning to Prince Edward Island, Michael resumed his work with stencils under the same name as before, Folk Stencil Originals.

Here are some of Michael's websites featuring his other talents:
VisualEntity.com   For his general illustration
Grand-Poobah.com   For his public speaking
Elfstonepress.com   For his fiction and non-fiction writing
HandTypes.com   For his custom typographic design
Corp-ID-Man.com   For his Corporate Identity design and Corporate Identity consulting
Michaelshumate.com   For his fine art, landscape and abstract painting plus sculpture


Folk Stencil Originals
PO Box 64
Cardigan, PEI
Canada  C0A 1G0

at gmail.com

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