Ian Sheldon is an award-winning, career artist internationally known for his diversity in both medium and subject. This diversity charts an interesting history marked by many career accolades along the way. With more than 20 years of professional representation in the arts, he is sure to have a lasting place in the art world and his work will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
While studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (Magdalene 1990), Sheldon began painting the historic architecture of the city. This soon lead to representation by the region’s leading commercial gallery, a major exhibit in the city, and then an offer from Cambridge University Press to publish his exceptional volume of watercolours, Cambridge Footsteps: a passage through time in 2009. This collection of paintings is taken from over ten years of work and was launched to celebrate the University’s 800th anniversary. The originals have been sent to collectors all around the world, notably Cambridge University Press and a London-based private collector who has graciously loaned his collection to the Cambridge Judge Business School.
Born in Edmonton, Canada, and having grown up in South Africa, Singapore and England, Sheldon sees himself as a citizen of the world. A healthy exposure to France over many years further enriched his spirit. After graduating from Cambridge it was inevitable that a change of country would come, and since 1995 he has made his home back in Canada. Once settled on the edge of the prairies of Alberta, Sheldon immersed himself in both university studies and the vast Canadian wilderness, and he was initially inspired to paint the abandoned buildings of the early settlers. One of these atmospheric watercolours was acquired by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Sheldon soon began to focus his attention on the wide horizon and big sky of the prairie. Working in oil, these sometimes huge paintings explore his sense of place and are highly sought after. Shows across Canada, and in San Francisco and New York have firmly cemented his presence in the art world and by 2004, by the age of 33, he was already listed in the Canadian Who’s Who for his contributions to the national arts and culture scene.
Additional recognition came in 2010 with the publication of Creative Glass (Schiffer Publishing), a coffee-table book of 110 international glass artists. This book showcases Sheldon’s more recent exploration of glass as a medium. By kiln-forming and glazing the glass, he creates stunning, kinetic landscapes that capture the hearts and imaginations of many. Examples of his glasswork are found across Canada, including installations at The Weather Network’s head office and in The Bow building, one of Calgary’s newest and most magnificent towers. Never wanting to confine his artistic explorations, and constantly evolving, Sheldon has most recently explored printing his abstract photography onto aluminum to create large minimalist ocean scenes that form part of his collection Atlantic Meditations.
Further recognition has come from the University of Alberta, where Sheldon did his second degree. Combining his talents as an artist with his academic knowledge of wildlife, his illustrations have been published in dozens of nature guides that grace bookshelves across North America. Hundreds of the original entomological illustrations are now a permanent part of the university’s highly reputed Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, serving as a testament to the artist’s skill in yet another creative arena and a wonderful legacy to the province and country.
With television profiles, magazine cover stories and a considerable archive of other media coverage, Ian Sheldon is rapidly on his way to becoming a household name as both landscape painter and storm chaser. 2011 saw the publication of Storm Chaser: Canadian Prairie Skyscapes by Argenta Press. The book was celebrated in Toronto with a major art show supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. This beautiful coffee-table book, bringing together some of Sheldon’s finest iconic stormy paintings, is sure to cement Sheldon’s presence in the national and international art scene in perpetuity.