Shelley Heffler

Artist Statement

Traveling the world and mapping my journeys has been a way of exploring cultures, terrains and enhancing the visible search for adventures. What has emerged from these experiences is a visual exploration of the world around me. My versatile art practice encompasses paintings, shaped canvases, constructs and works on paper.

My recent series of paintings focuses on Maps of the Imagination. These images reflect my interest in maps, cartography and topography. The works do not represent actual maps, but reference a composite collection of locations that intuitively evoke a sense of place. The paintings are constructed on a grid as an underlying structure for poured colored paints and richly layered surfaces that reveal and conceal strata and crust. This reflects my fascination with the physicality of landforms and their evidence of time and age as it emerges from the residue of human marks.


2010 Studies Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
2009 Studies Penland School of Crafts, NC
1986 MFA California State University, Northridge
1984 BA California State University, Northridge
1972 AA Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY


Shelley Heffler is a visual artist and educator. Born and raised in the Bronx, she discovered the Art Students League at the age of 15 and started taking drawing and painting classes. Eventually, she earned an AA degree in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Heffler’s first love was painting. However, she initially worked as a carpet designer for the Edward Fields flagship studio in New York City. In 1973, she transferred to their studio in Los Angeles, got married and then traveled with her first husband to live in Spain. They also visited Morocco, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India before returning to Southern California a year later. She subsequently attended California State University, Northridge, where she received an MFA in sculpture in 1986.

She had immediate success with exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art rental gallery and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Her work has been widely seen in California since 1987 as well as in Washington, D.C. It has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, LA Independent, Daily News, San Diego Tribune and San Diego Art Review. In addition, her paintings have been purchased by a number of individual collectors.

Heffler has also taught ceramics for more than 20 years. She is a nationally Board Certified Professional educator and mentors new teachers for the Los Angeles Unified School district. Her current studio is in Inglewood, CA.

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