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 Robert 'Shoofly' Shufelt  (1935 - )

About: Robert 'Shoofly' Shufelt


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Lived/Active: Arizona/New Mexico/Illinois      Known for: western scene pencil drawings-cowboys

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Shufelt
from Auction House Records.
Rancher's Gold
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for pencil drawings of western scenes, Robert "Shoofly" Shufelt was born in Illinois in 1935, and has called Arizona home since 1976.

Shufelt was early on inspired by his high school teacher De Witt Whistler.  He earned a degree from the University of Illinois and worked for twenty years as an illustrator in Chicago, doing advertising and television story boards.

In 1976, Shufelt moved to Arizona with his wife Julie to live on her family ranch in Wickenburg.  He took up cowboy activities and decided that was the subject matter for his fine art.  Though he was urged by galleries and teachers to paint, Shufelt never gave up drawing as his medium of choice.

"I'm glad I found my nitch way back when, and can be counted among the living.  In a nutshell, I hope I'm an unaffected type, except when experiencing the joy of my accomplishments.  I push a simple medium, attempt to control my values, and am devoted to and respectful of the cowboys and animals that I draw."

Sources include:
Art-Talk, October 2004
Contemporary Western Artists by Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1982

Biography from Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers VI:
Delineator in pencil of Southwestern cowboy life, Robert "Shoofly" Shufelt was born in Champaign, Illinois in 1935 and has been living in Wickenburg, Arizona since 1976. “When you’re an artist,” he says, “you have plenty of time to think.  I have a lot of statements to make about today’s cowboy.  One project I’m enthused about is portraying the ranch wife.  I don’t think many people know much about that way of life. They’re incredible ladies and most of them can do just about everything.”

“Shoofly” grew up in Chicago, spent two years in the Army, and went to the University of Illinois on a football scholarship.  As a fine arts student, he drew Indian scenes despite his avant garde professors.  He also played semi-pro football, raced sports cars, and worked as a free-lance illustrator in Chicago for twenty years. “I wanted to do easel painting, though,” he declares, “so that became something I started building for.  I know I could draw and those twenty years as an illustrator were good training.  Finally it was time to make the break and we just did it.

In his pencil drawing, “Shoofly” expresses his admiration for the working cowboy: “The guys are a breed unto themselves.  They’re fiercely independent and really don’t make any money to speak of.  They do it because they love it. You have to. They really go in style.  It’s their story I’m telling and they have given me the opportunity to lie it with them.  I’ve got to record that life.  So much of the good ranch land is being eaten up by development. As a result it has to change.

“Shoofly” has been featured in Southwest Art, October 1979, and in Artists of the Rockies, Winter 1981.

Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.

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