Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 Project Updates

From the Desk of

                 Jennifer Shoemaker

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to give an update on our 2016 projects we have planned.  We have completed our first project, 2nd Annual Chalk Art during the Anoka RiverFest!  It was a great success and we are excited to move forward with other projects.

Unfortunately, I was late in getting details wrapped up before the end of the school year and have had a difficult time reaching student artists.  Therefore we do not have enough kids to complete any of the projects at this time.  We are waiting for school to be back in session and hope that the school teachers will be able to help drum up excitement and get kids signed up ASAP!

Therefore, the deadlines have been moved to September 10th.  As you know...we live in Minnesota and weather is a HUGE factor for our projects.  Coming into September, we are running out of nice weather!  So we may have a project or two redirected to next spring.

Our main projects we would like to see done are:

Snowplow Shovel Painting (All Ages)
Halloween Wall Contest (High School)
Paper Mache Pumpkins for the Stamp Release (Everyone!)

Other projects that may get done are:

Wall at Aquatic Center (Elementary kids)
Wall by Dam (Middle School)

If you have a neighborhood of kids, have them all sign up together!  

Please print off all applications on the website: 
go to current projects and pick the projects you would like to participate in.  Each application is on the project page.

By August 25th I will have dates for all these projects.

If you have questions please contact me:

Shawn McCann: Twin Cities Mural Artists

Shawn McCann
local Twin Cities Artist

Shawn McCann grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and currently a resident of Crystal, MN.  I have found a lot of inspiration in his work around the Twin Cities and around the country.  I hope you find inspiration from his as well!

How did you get into doing murals?
 I actually fell into mural painting from my chalk street painting.  People started asking if I could create permanent images rather than temporary images and simply went from Chalk to paint.  Now, more and more of my work is shifting to murals and permanent images.  

What kind of art background do you have?  Any schooling?  When did you first start getting into art?
Yes, I went and graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a BFA.  I first started painting and drawing as a child and always knew I wanted to be an artist, I just didn't know what that was.  When I went to MCAD, I knew I found my art family and went into the illustration program.  When I graduated, I did commercial type illustrations and also started my career as a children's book illustrator, which I still do as well.  I have been fortunate to have illustrated 25 books along with the many street painting, murals, installations and such that I have done the last 14 years since graduation

What inspires your artwork? 
All of my friends who are creative people, musicians, artists, writers, and seekers of thought always inspire me to keep pushing the envelope and seeing where this crazy world of art will lead.  Its not always easy and art can be such and up and down profession, but when you are surrounded by people that on a daily basis keep pushing you to be the best you can be, it is great.

Do you get artist block or ups and downs with your creativity?
Absolutely.  I don't know many people who don't get the mental block here and there.  When it happens, sometimes its just a matter of visiting with a creative friend, going to a museum or looking thru my art books I have collected over the years to get the juices flowing again.

What is your favorite medium to use?  
I would say my favorite medium to use is one I don't get a chance to often to use, Oil Paint.  I love the richness and the succulent things you can do with oil paintings.  Unfortunately, most of the projects I do don't allow for the use of oil paints or it wouldn't fit right

Which different ways to you feature your artwork?  Do you have a favorite way to show your artwork such as murals on walls, canvas, prints?
The different ways in which my art is seen is thru;  Children's books, installations like the Pop Up Park, Murals both interior and exterior, temporary art such as street paintings, and also with fine art.  One of my favorite art forms is thru street painting with chalk.  It is a process that you get to interact with people that come by and its ephemeral quality gives a urgency to enjoy it while its there.  

What avenues have you used to promote your artwork?
The different avenues include traditional methods with mailers, postcards, in person meetings and reviews, online marketing, online portfolio sites,, and a personal site

What is the most important lesson you have learned as an artist?
The biggest lesson is don't be afraid to fail.  You are never going to know everything or be perfect.  When things don't go our way, you learn from those mistakes.  Also, creating on the edge sometimes gives your work more importance because you are pushing those boundaries a little more.  

What advice would you give to a young artist?
I would keep practicing as much as you can.  Don't worry about mistakes or getting it perfect right away.  You learn as you do.  Also, it is vital to keep an eye and ear out for when others offer critiques and thoughts on how to become better at what you do.  None of us are completely self made and owe a lot of our success to the richness in our lives that influence what we do.

Tell me about the project(s) you are working on this summer. 
Oh boy, I could do a mile long list on this one.  Ill keep it to a few projects.  Currently, I am working on a large scale mural at the FreeWheel Cycle store on the West Bank.  It should be around a 5 week project.  Scattered throughout the summer also include street paintings for the 4th of July celebration in Eden Prairie, Hastings Rivertown days, A trip to St. Joe, Michigan for a street painting festival, a street painting image for the new Vikings stadium launch, and other mural projects for the likes of Boom Island Brewing, The Bad Waitress, Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, etc.  

Do you have a favorite memory that has to do with your art?  Maybe someone you met, a place you went or story?
One of my favorite memories/moments was when I was honored to be included in a lineup of my mentors and heroes in the children's book industry.  I was fortunate to be featured for 2 straight years at the LA Times Festival of Books Children's Book stage and got to be in the same lineup as Judy Bloom, RL Stine, Mo Willems and more.  To go up on that stage and be projected by jumbotron to thousands of people was an amazing experience

What other projects have you done?
A few select projects and such include being a part of an international team of muralists that created 15 murals in Macua, China, creating a large scale mural at IIT Bombay, India for Techfest, being a featured street painter at the Wilhelmshaven International Street Art Festival, being a recipient of 2 National Endowment for the Arts Mural Projects and many many more to name.  

Describe your style.
I would say my style is full of color and movement.  I love the ability to create art that makes the viewer take a second look. 

What is the biggest misconception of being an artist?
Biggest misconception is that it is a piece of cake to slap paint on the wall or be an artist.  I liken it to working 2 full time jobs all the time!  You always need to be working in the moment and also in the future for securing future work
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
The freedom to create and paint projects that I want to be apart of.  I don't know if I could go back to working in an office or a cubicle.  I love what I do too much

Do you have a job outside of being an artist?
No, I am a full time artist 

How do you feel you have grown as an artist?  What have you gotten better at, how has your style changed?
I would say that I have grown to be a smarter artists.  Working on things that work for me and also being more direct and approach it with more confidence.  I also have learned many tricks and techniques to make things go quicker and produce better results

Do you have other projects in the works?
Yes, too many to list.  Already booking into late 2017 and 2018

What would be your dream project? 
To be given keys to an entire town and go to 'town' painting any wall or surface I felt would be a good fit.  Bring color to the masses :)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2nd Annual Sidewalk Chalk Project

2nd Annual Chalk Art Project
Saturday, July 9th

When: During Anoka River Fest and Craft Days, 
                Saturday, July 9th, 2016
                Starting at 10am-2pm

Who: Students K-12.... All levels welcome!
 (Parents of Elementary Kids must stay)

What: Chalk Art, Music, Cold Beverages and treats.

Where: Behind Anoka City Hall along Rum River, Downtown Anoka

Details: Sign up early to get a space.!  Click to Register

Walkups will be accepted as long as there is space available.

This is a FREE Event!  
Sponsored by the Anoka Chamber of Commerce.  
The day of the event, chalk will be available from 10am-2pm.  Please allow yourself enough time to do your artwork.  

This is not permanent artwork...Therefore...

Here are a few pictures from last years 1st Chalk Art Project.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

1 Year Anniversary!

Our Beautiful New Tunnel!

Happy 1st Anniversary 

Young Artists of Anoka!

We are celebrating our 1 year anniversary of Young Artists of Anoka! 

One year ago, we were planning for our first big project, Windows of Time, down in the walking tunnel.  Needless to was a HUGE hit and everyone has loved it!  Residents, City workers, visitors...everyone has commented on how much they love it!

What did we accomplish last year?

Tunnel Before Painting
- Windows of Time Tunnel Project (42 Kids participated)

- Sidewalk Chalk Art during RiverFest (filled almost all spots)

- Halloween 8x8 Art Project (over 50 entries!)

- Halloween Window Decorating at Salon Eleven 

So this year, we have even more great projects in the works!

Windows of Time Ribbon Cutting in August 2015
Sean and Myself after a long 2 days of graffiti painting as a surprise for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Painting in Tunnel with News Station

 Here are some of the projects that we are putting together:

- Aquatic Center Wall ( Elementary Kids)
- Snow plows shovels (All Kids)
- Ramp wall by Tunnel (High School)  This will be a contest for Halloween.
- Capture Anoka (All Kids) Photography, drawing, painting
- Sidewalk Chalk Art (All Kids) during RiverFest in July
- Halloween Art project (All Kids) in the Fall
- Possibly a Tennis Wall Painting
- Possibly Halloween Window Decorating

I'm so proud of all the kids that have participated and enjoyed so much getting to know you and your families!  We are out to make Anoka an Art community!  Lets show them what we are made of!  

Who Can Be a Part of Young Artists of Anoka?
All Students who go to a school that will attend or Do attend Anoka High School are welcome! Including St. Steven's Students.

visit the website  
our new blog 
or find us on Facebook 

A few entries from the
8x8 Halloween Art Project

SPONSORS:  We are always looking for sponsors!  It can be a family, business or individual!  info is on

If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

I look forward to a great 2nd year,
Jen Shoemaker
Young Artists of Anoka

Chance Meeting

Chance Meeting

***Video go to 30min:20seconds***

Last evening I had just finished a meeting at City Hall and was walking near the Dam and Tunnel where we did the paintings last summer.  I noticed a young lady setting her backpack down on a bench and holding a hoop.  I suddenly had a flashback to last fall, when a video had been posted of a girl doing this beautiful hula hoop dancing in our beautifully painted tunnel.

I walked up to her and asked if it was her and indeed it was.  Her name is Kenzie...I don't know anything else about her.   I introduced myself as the founder of Young Artists of Anoka and that I had put the tunnel project together.  I think we were both so excited to meet each other.  I loved the video I had seen of her hula hoop dancing last fall, it was so beautiful and that the tunnel had inspired her to be creative and free!  She was so excited because she and her friends love the tunnel!

I'm attaching the video to this post so that you can see her beautiful hula hoop dancing, as well as the tunnel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Emma Rubens: British Artist Painting Mexico Bright!

Emma Rubens

     On our recent trip to Tulum, Mexico in April, we came across a mural being painting in the downtown area on the side of a building.  As we walked by, we noticed the paint containers along the wall and realized we were seeing a work of art in creation.  Near by, taking a break from the hot Mexico sun in the shade having a cold drink was the artist, or so we assumed. (being covered in paint was a dead give away!)

     The next day we wandered into a local shop and found a print that we liked.  My husband, Scott, chatted with the shop owner about who the artist was and if she were local.  We got a background story and realized it was the same artist we had seen in town.  

I knew that I had to interview her and share her story to inspire our young artists in Anoka, Mn.

Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Mexico?
~ I'm from England but ended up in Mexico on a backpacking trip 9 years ago and never left.
Do you have a background in art and how did you end up an artist?
Both my parents are artists and I have a BA Honors in illustration. I've been into art for as long as I remember. Growing up with both my parents being artists, I don't remember ever not being into art. 

What inspires your artwork?  ~ Anything really... mostly color, light, shadows, and pattern. The human figure. Sometimes I'm just talking to someone and I like the way the light hits their face, or the way they are holding themselves and I suddenly that would make a good painting
Do you get artist block or ups and downs with your creativity?~ Not so much anymore. I feel like the more I paint the more I can't stop. I am fortunate enough that I make my living doing this so I do it all the time. In the past, when I had a part time job, it was hard sometime to be always motivated to paint if I was tired from my other job, but it definitely relates to being happy. Painting makes me happy, but I also need to be happy to paint. If something is bringing me down, or if something is on my mind it's hard to focus and stay motivated in painting.
What is your favorite medium to use?  ~ Acrylic. I have recently been inspired to start getting into oils, I really don't have much practice in it and want to start playing with it.
Which different ways do you feature your artwork?  Do you have a favorite way to show your artwork such as murals on walls, canvas, prints?~ have a lot of my work on prints which I sell in different stores which is a good steady source of income. I love painting on canvas, I don't like painting on wood; it doesn't absorb the paint well. I absolutely love to paint on walls in the street mostly. I started painting murals a couple years in the streets. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your own work massive in the streets for everyone to see.
What avenues have you used to promote your artwork?~ Mostly I use Instagram and Facebook. Such great advertising tools, I always post my work there and through that I have met many clients. And just from painting in the street, leaving my name underneath all my murals allows people to find me, again through Instagram or Facebook.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as an artist?~ Never stop painting.
What advice would you give to a young artist?~ Again, never stop painting. You get better and better the more you paint. Practice practice practice

Tell me about the project(s) you are working on in Tulum.  
~ I just finished a project called "Tulum Limpio" (Which means Clean Tulum) A group of us painting a bunch of murals to raise awareness for the accumulating trash problem we have here in Tulum. Right now I am working on a painting for a local coffee shop.
Do you have a favorite memory that has to do with your art?  Maybe someone you met, a place you went or story?~ Yes, my father. He is a fantastic painter. I remember sitting on his lap and him explaining to me how perspective works by drawing a railroad track diminishing into the distance. I remember when he explained to me negative space and drew a woman's arm resting on her hip and drew the space within her arm and her body. I remember going to life drawing classes with him when I was 8 and I remember going out with him into the country side in the south of France (where I grew up) with his easel and canvas and sitting there painting and he taught me about how to measure distances by holding his arm out with the pencil and closing one eye.
What other projects have you done?~ Well, I've done quite a few, with regards to mural work within hotels or restaurants and homes. I've sold lots of paintings and done many commissions. But projects in the town; I was involved in a mural festival in Tulum just a year and a half ago, which definitely was the start of the mural boom in Tulum. Since then, artists from all over the world have been coming here and adding their art to the walls. I have also been involved in a live painting event at a hotel on the beach with a group of other painters, I've also had a few shows where I've been able to display my work in local restaurants.
Describe your style.
~ Hmmm... I never really know the answer to this question. I guess it's pretty illustrative and also realistic, always figurative. But it can also be surrealistic when I paint animal heads on human bodies.
What is the biggest misconception of being an artist?~ That we are lazy, distracted and messy and like to suffer. I feel I am definitely quite the opposite.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?~ Well I'm doing what I love to do every day, it's my passion. I am extremely touched and honored that people want to buy and put my art in their homes or businesses. It's such an overwhelming feeling seeing my work around the town and so grateful to hear how clients tell me how a piece I created makes them so happy. I also like that I set my own hours, I can work as late or as early as I want. 

Do you have a job outside of being an artist?~ No, this has only been of the past 2 years where I've been completely self sufficient from my painting. I worked in the service industry as a waitress or bartender for many years.
How do you feel you have grown as an artist?  What have you gotten better at, how has your style changed?~ I have definitely grown in confidence within my own work and trusting my own judgement. My understanding in the importance of color and my understanding of how color mixes. My own personal techniques have gotten better, which means I paint faster and faster. My style has changed with what I feel like painting. I improve with every single painting.
Do you have other projects in the works?~ Right now I am working on a couple commissioned paintings for a local coffee shop.
What would be your dream project?~ I have been dreaming about painting a gigantic mural. But have been feeling a little apprehensive as I've never done anything that big, but this will be manifesting itself in the next few weeks. A painter friend of mine came to me not too long ago, and asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with her and painting the side of a building with her. The building is 3 and a half stories big, we will need scaffolding and a lot of paint! 

In conclusion, I think it is safe to say that Emma has got it going on!  Inspiring other artists and being inspired by the world around her.  I wish I had stopped that day in Tulum to meet her in person...I guess I will just have to visit Tulum again soon!  

Check Emma out on 
or visit her website: