the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Robert Shufelt


2014 recipient, Individual Artist

Robert "Shoofly" Shufelt is an artist renowned for illustrating "the cowboy way" and is among the elite artists in the world in his chosen medium of graphite. Through his uncanny understanding and control of light values, he creates, in what many consider a monochromatic medium, a full palette. A working cowboy, Shufelt has used his artistic talents to capture an important part of New Mexico's heritage and culture, ranching and the work of the modern day cowboy. "This accomplished New Mexican's definitive representation of the cowboy way of life, so beautifully depicted in his prolific portfolio of work, is collectively one of the finest portrayals of this vital element of New Mexico's western heritage in existence," said nominator Robert Highsmith of Las Cruces, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 2011. Shufelt was recently identified as one of 20 'Legends of Fine Art' by Southwest Art magazine. He has been recognized with the coveted American Cowboy Award at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Shufelt's drawings have graced the covers of scores of magazines from Western Horseman to Southwest Art, and his work was even featured on an NBC Nightline television program entitled "The Cowboy Way." In 2013, Shufelt and his wife donated more than 130 framed pieces of his art to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. "With this generous gift, Robert Shufelt has capped a storied career illustrating, and now, preserving, for future generations the everyday workings of the modern cowboy - and he's done it with the grace of someone who knows his life mission, and beyond embracing it, celebrates it with his soul and remarkable talent," said Toni S. Laumbach, chief curator and deputy director at the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum "Each drawing is astonishing with complexity of composition and disciplined draftsmanship. His art reflects the soul and grit of Western Americana in a way no other artist can portray."