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Meet Shawn Saumell in Aubrey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shawn Saumell.

Shawn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After being born in NY, my family moved to Florida, and then on to Austin. Around 1990, we moved to the Dallas area. Through hardships during childhood and as a teen, I found myself in shelters as well as homeless. After family difficulties, I moved out at the age of 16. I failed photography in high school. I only shot two or three rolls the whole year with a disposable camera that came in the mail. Many of my images became published in the yearbook, but through rebellion I did not participate. At the age of 17, I was asked to withdraw from high school (for a third time). At the age of 18 I obtained my GED and tried for years to get into college. After a few years, I was able to receive financial aid from Collin College. After my first semester, I was invited to the Honors Institute. By my second semester, I decided to take an elective. I had always been intrigued by photography and practiced art as a child and adolescent. During my first semester, I was accepted into my first competition. At the end of my semester, my Prof. Janet Yoshii-Buenger, walked me through entering my work into my first national juried competition and ended-up winning “Best of Show.” I changed my major from Computer Science to Fine Art / Photography. Since then, I have earned an AA cum laude, a BFA magna cum laude with multiple honors and awards, and then my MFA. Over the past 18 years, I have been producing, creating, and have showed my work in 0ver 150 public exhibitions worldwide, and counting.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road is definitely not smooth. Time and financial struggles have been the two top obstacles. Along the way, I got married and took two children under my wing after their father left (from my wife’s previous marriage). Then we added two more children to family together, for a total of four children. There have been multiple times where fine art did not seem viable and most would have given-up, but it’s not a choice for me. Art chose me and will not let go. It’s part of my being.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shawn Saumell – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am not seen as a company, per se. Rather, I am an individual or public figure. I am known to some as an Artist, a Photographer, a Designer, or a Teacher / Professor. I suppose what I may be most p
roud of as a company is the products of my labor, to see the breadth of my work and all of the people who appreciate it, who it speaks to, and the lives that it impacts or enriches. What may set me apart from others may be my vision, drive, and grit.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Our city is built tough! From lower socio-economic statuses to higher, we seem to be a population of survivors who make it through the most difficult times as a community. When the nation falls weak, many people seem to flood to the Dallas area for support and stability.

I do feel that our city could use less traffic and more nature.

Contact Info:

 Image Credit:
The first image of me in the studio is copyright Magdalene Saumell. All other images are copyright myself, Shawn Saumell.

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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