|Mike Royall explains one of his painting during the reception on Friday night at the CEU Prehistoric Museum.|
Mike Royall's artist reception for "a collection of works," opened Friday night at the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum to great reviews by nearly all who walked through the gallery. His exhibit of 29 paintings and drawings along with eight pieces of ceramic pottery was described by one patron as being, "as diverse as the artist who painted them."
Mike Royall was born in Salt Lake City in 1953. Royall reported that he started messing around with art when he was 10 years old.
"Someone gave me a box of pastels as a gift and I started drawing Walt Disney characters with them immediately. I have loved art ever since," commented Royall.
Not everyone was encouraging in regards to Royall's dreams however.
"I had a high school art teacher - who by the way is now a rather famous artist - who told me I should drop his class and forget about art because I would never make it as an artist," remembered Royall.
But he would not be deterred. According to Royall he always took art rather seriously but did not consider himself all that good during his younger life.
"I always had good skill for drawing and painting, what I was lacking was the ability to see and develop images."
In 1977 Mike enrolled casually in some composition classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At the time there was a visiting faculty program going on and Royall had the opportunity to study under Scott Bell from Stanford University.
"He really took the time to teach me," said Royall. "We would just walk the campus for hours describing images that we could pick out from the landscape. It was Professor Bell who taught me to see."
At the present Royall has been teaching high school for 13 years. He enrolled at Utah State in 1988 and received his bachelor's of fine art with an emphasis in education and finished his master's of instructional technology in 1999. Royall began his teaching career at Union High where he instructed at-risk youth.
After teaching there for five years he led the effort to write a charter for the Ute Indian tribe. The charter was accepted by the state of Utah and the Uintah River Charter High School opened in Fort Duchesne. Royall spent a year and a-half there as a principal and instructor before moving on to teach at East Carbon High School.
After three years at East Carbon High, where Mike still resides with wife, Karen, and daughter, Alisha, Royall moved on to Emery High.
"I really love the youth here in Castle Country," said Royall. "And I plan to teach them until I retire."
Through his vast and diverse life Royall has spent time working for a traveling carnival, selling shoes, working in a warehouse and a department store, at a security service, in the oil fields as a rough neck and as a teacher. All of these professions have let him see most of the United States and he never stopped painting or drawing no matter what he was doing.
"I have always had my art," said Royall. "When I had nothing else it saved my life."
Although Royall is trained in two-dimensional design he is able to work in almost any medium as demonstrated by his diverse collection.
Royall's work will be on display at the museum through the month.