Shane Hemberger was born 1972 in Grand Junction Colorado, where he lived in the Rocky Mountain state until he was five years old. During this time, he had a small friend of similar age who lived right next to him with whom he played with everyday and whose mother just happened to be a hobby artist. She drew portraits in pastel and would let Shane dabble around with her materials upon seeing that he was interested. She did not realize that she would be sending him down a path of becoming an artist himself someday. This early influence became the foundation of a life time of art making. Fortunately for Shane, his mother played the organ and had a positive attitude towards art and so was very supportive of his artistic inclinations. The artist recalls an instance during this time while still in preschool when the teacher instructed everyone to draw the class Christmas tree. Every single kid, of course, drew a set of triangles stacked on top of one another since this is the way they had been taught. Shane on the other hand began with a thick, squiggly vertical line to represent the trunk along with random lines shooting off in every direction for limbs and finally crowned with even smaller lines to represent needles. The entire thing was an atrocious mess but it could be seen here, early on, that Shane was already trying to draw what he was seeing and not just putting down some formula he had been taught. The incident has stuck in the artist's mind to this day because the children had jeered at him for his independence of mind and obvious lack of "skill" at drawing a proper Christmas tree.
When Shane was around the age of five, his family packed up and moved to Oklahoma, finally settling down in the small town of Welch where the artist attended grade school. Later, when the artist turned twelve, the family moved down the road to Bluejacket where he attended high school. Shane's artistic life was typical for a person of this age as he filled notebooks, desktops, and the backs of exams with doodles and sketches. In high school, Shane was the class artist designing and creating football banners, annual covers, or designing pumpkins for the annual Halloween fund raisers. He recalls drawing pictures on one of his pairs of jeans with markers and wearing them to school one day. Despite negative glances from teachers, before he knew it, everybody in the school was wanting a pair and he had trouble keeping up with the demand. He also remembers drawing a giant rhino on the chalk board which was challenging because everything was reversed as he was drawing with light on dark instead of the usual pencil on paper which he was used to. His math teacher did not react kindly when he found out but was reluctant to erase the drawing because of its skill and somehow the picture remained on the board for a month and a picture of it landed on the front of the school newspaper.
Somewhere around the ninth grade, Shane began to take art seriously, filling sketchbook after sketchbook with careful observation and drawing everything in sight and absorbing every art book he could get his hands on. His family did not have the money to buy painting supplies, so Shane just drew pictures with his school pencils becoming quite skilled. He would later realize that as fate would have it, it was better to have started off learning drawing skills first rather than painting because drawing is foundational to all the artistic disciplines and this led to a strong, solid foundation for the eventual growth of his painting skills.
After leaving high school, the artist worked a few odd jobs for a while as well as dabbled with some basic college courses. Undecided, Shane then joined the Marine Corps and was off to Camp Pendleton in southern California. Serving in the role of small arms repairman, Shane continued to draw, doing a lot of colored pencil to help him learn color but still not getting to paint since these were not allowed in the barracks. At the age of twenty five, after serving in the military for four years, the artist bought himself a home and settled into a factory job living close to family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is an important period in his life because he decided he was finally going to learn how to paint and bring it up to par with his drawing skills. He chose to learn oils which is what he uses to this day. So Shane set up a studio in his garage, bought oil painting supplies, and began to paint ferociously on a daily bases. If he wasn't working, he was painting since he had no other obligations at the time. It was nothing for the artist to put in twenty hours of painting a week on top of his forty hours a week job. It was during this period as bachelor that his painting skills developed fully and came up to the level of his drawing. He would soon marry his wife Lorei and raise children. After a few years into the marriage, Shane decided he would return to college to get his art degree despite working a full time job. He was able to use the G.I. Bill from his time in the military and with it attended Oklahoma State University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree working under Dean Bloodgood, his painting teacher.
After college Shane went on to do many group and solo shows. He has had solo shows at the Artsplace Gallery in Ponca City and the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery in Tulsa. He has participated in many prestigious group shows such as the Seven State Biennial exhibit that ran from 2017 into 2018 and toured through various venues in Oklahoma, the Oh, Tulsa! Biennial exhibit at Living Arts in Tulsa Oklahoma, and the 2005 Oklahoma Biennial exhibit through the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and many, many more. Shane continues to paint to this day and feels privileged that he has been a part of such a rich artistic community that is found here in Oklahoma.