Joe Trumpey is an Associate Professor of Art at the School of Art & Design and an Associate Professor of Natural Resources at SNRE. He served as Director of International Engagement for Art & Design for 6 years and instituted a school-wide international experience requirement. Trumpey earned his A.B in Art and Biology from Wabash College and his M.F.A. in Medical and Biological Illustration from the University of Michigan. Before joining Michigan’s faculty in 1994, he was chief medical illustrator and director of graphic arts for the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. While at U-M, he founded and currently directs Michigan Science Art, one of the largest groups of science illustrators working together in North America. Their most notable achievement is the completion of approximately 5,000 illustrations for the award-winning, 17-volume Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. As a freelance design consultant and illustrator, Trumpey has worked with numerous zoos, museums and publishers across the country.
Trumpey’s teaching focuses on aspects of sustainability and culture, experiential observation, and using creative processes to connect the natural world and society. The cornerstone of his work as an educator is an annual field course in which students meet during winter term and then conduct four weeks of fieldwork at various locations around the world, such as Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Everglades National Park, the Four Corners region, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. He is a recipient of the University of Michigan’s Undergraduate Teaching Award and has been a TedX speaker.
With its emphasis on biodiversity, modern agriculture and ecological sustainability, Trumpey’s creative work has been exhibited in a wide variety of venues across the country. The depth of his devotion to these issues is evident in the fact that he, his wife and two daughters live and work on a small farm dedicated to their own food production and the preservation of genetic diversity in rare livestock. He designed and built their solar powered, off-grid strawbale home.