“There is beauty in obscurity,” said artist Samantha Shumaker in our email interview, which was also obvious in the time I spent leafing through her website and portfolio observing the intricacy she maintains in each and every one of her pieces. Shumaker lives in the greater Orlando area, and she holds Lake Nona near and dear to her heart as a place for not only inspiration but also as an intense connection with the artistic and creative community through the Nonahood’s diversity.
As far as inspiration is concerned, Shumaker traces her inspiration back to a variety of different points in her life where she felt struck by a particular set of feelings and emotions that led to an artistic release. “I find inspiration seeps through from my emotions and life experiences. I used to despise the fact that I was such an emotional child; even while watching the happiest of movies, my shirt was always soaked in tears. Little did I know the cracks and crevices of my life experiences would offer me such a powerful form of creativity!” said Shumaker.
“Painting these emotions as visual stories provides me with the emotional release. I still paint soaked in tears, though! I am also largely driven by my interest in mythology and psychology. I love exploring some of the most deeply rooted cross-cultural stories in my own perspective. By being a visual storyteller, I seek to understand humans better and their most deep-rooted fears or desires and the ‘why?’ behind them. Inspiration is everywhere, when I look hard enough.”
This ability to be incredibly observant and in touch with her personal emotions has led Shumaker down a variety of independent creative pursuits and artistic projects, with her current favorite being her piece entitled “Doomsday Clock.” The piece depicts a woman draped in gold and other items correlated with wealth, greed and power. This, as Shumaker describes, is the reason for the current downfall of modern society and the reason that the Doomsday Clock, which was created by scientists to represent how close we are to global catastrophe, currently stands at just 2½ minutes until midnight.
“Being terrified with nuclear threat, every airplane that passed over me made me cower in fear,” said Shumaker. “Painting this persistent threat was my way of coping, and now I have a painting I can look in the eye every day as a reminder.”
Entering the art world and maintaining a presence in the community has not always come easily to Shumaker, who recently finished her first solo show this past March. “It was my first test of discipline – having to finish 14 paintings in just a few months and working on the many challenges of putting together a show with a curator was an insane feat,” said Shumaker. “I barely saw the light of day, and I still think I am recovering from Vitamin D deficiency as a result! But having so many people come out and show support, knowing that everyone takes home the experience and inspiration, was extremely rewarding and reminds me that anything is possible.”
Shumaker’s accomplishments extend far beyond just her work with individually handcrafted oil paintings. She hopes to continue to branch off into different areas of artistic pursuit, including sculpture work, with a dream project to create a massive painting with a hand-sculpted frame. “Something like the 80-inch mammoth of a painting by Peter Paul Rubens that lives in the halls of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota,” Shumaker commented.
To keep up with Shumaker’s work, interested art enthusiasts can follow her on a variety of social media networks, including YouTube, where she posts videos of the process on each of the projects she is working on. You also can find Shumaker’s work in Bloomingdale’s at The Mall at Millenia, along the roadside for an art drain project at Mills 50, or through her website, http://www.shumakerart.com/events, which details all of her upcoming art events, including this April’s event at Orlando’s CityArts Factory Third Thursdays, where she will be unveiling one of her latest paintings alongside some of Orlando’s other talented artists.
Keep up with Samantha here: