Robert “Shoofly” Shufelt biography:
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 live 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.
Click on image to enlarge.
Robert “Shoofly” Shufelt
pencil 12″ x 22″
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