The nexus that is Trumpey’s creative work is based on his diverse experience as a science illustrator, sustainable designer, farmer, consultant, leader and educator.
He holds degrees in Art, Biology and Illustration, operates a freelance illustration business, designed and built his own off-grid strawbale home, lives and works on a 40 acre farm, directs Michigan Science Art and is a professor at the University of Michigan.
Art, biology and the environment have been present in my education and creative work since I was young. I was an avid Boy Scout in the 1970’s – shortly after the first Earth Day, Clean Air Act, etc. I spent a lot of time picking up garbage, planting trees and camping in the big woods of southern Indiana. Those experiences were very formative; I still reflect on how those early experiences put me onto a certain trajectory. Through those experiences, I began to question and understand how humans interact with the environment. It is no surprise to me now that my Eagle Scout project was ecological restoration (garbage removal) on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
As I reflect on the threads that tie my varied practice together I see common ideas that are made visible through making objects.
The list includes:
At first glance, these might not stitch together for most folks, but for me it is who I am. I love to make new things – at a variety of scales and for varied audiences. The story is important. The role of the process is important. The observation and experience is important. It affects me, my family, and my students every day.