Sheldon Tapley is a popular artist that is best known nationally for his still-life paintings. After being born in Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1959, Tapley spent most of his childhood being raised in Europe before moving to North America. He attended college and got his bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Shortly after graduating, Sheldon Tapley attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he would receive his Masters in Fine Arts degree. In 1983, he received a job opportunity from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky where he is still a professor today.
While maintaining a teaching position, Sheldon Tapley has never lost focus on his true passion which is being an artist. Before finding his love of realism, Tapley worked in the areas of abstraction and also being a landscapist. Nowadays, his art depicts familiar objects in lively, yet complex compositions. His work has received notable awards such as the Al Smith Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council in 1998 and also the Martha & Merrit deJong Memorial Artist-in-Residence Award presented to him in 2004 by the Evansville Museum in Indiana. According to an article written by Bill Creevy for the American Artist magazine, “Tapley masterfully blends the discipline of a hard-earned classical technique with a vision that is thoroughly modern and personal.”
Most of Sheldon Tapley’s time outside of the studio these days is devoted to the teaching of his students at Centre College. He often assists his students by working alongside of them, painting or drawing from a figure. In the past couple of years, the figure has become a more important subject in his work. “Working with students and seeing things through their eyes keeps drawing fresh for me,” says Tapley.
To learn more, come join the Lexington Art League on Friday, January 29th, as we host Sheldon Tapley at our event: A Figure Study. Not only will his pieces be on display but he will also be in attendance to give a painting demonstration to the attendees.
Written by Chase Bisig, LAL Intern, University of Kentucky ISC student