" Sheila Wolk had an auspicious beginning as an art director for a pharmaceutical advertising agency and medical illustrator, honing her skills in drawing the human form. Her first pastel paintings were for the genre of sports art
In fact, Sheila became so good at capturing the human form in movement that she was named Sport Artist of the Year in 1987. American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) gave this auspicious award to her soft-edged pastel paintings of the hard action sport
Her transition into the land of fantasy happened slowly, but once Sheila decided to change her focus the result was sensational. Sheila Wolk blends techniques to create a stirring glimpse into the magical world we live in – its lore, its myths and its legends
Indeed, her art is created in a mystical realm where logic, dreams and art meet and mix to create a dreamscape of enchanting beauty and fabled majesty. She fuses traditional and non-conventional means to convey the visions, dreams and realities of a world many wish they could see outside of her paintings. Sheila combines her creative talent and imagination to accurately interpret and artistically communicate elaborate notions in an easy to understand and visually appealing fashion. And while she may be taking until the mythical world of mermaids and fairies these are not the carefree sirens or caricatures of popular culture
With Wolk’s always superb skill of depicting the human form, the mermaids, fairies, angels and devils seem to be of flesh and blood, yet with a pre-Raphaelite otherworldliness. At the center of many pieces is a pensiveness that draws one deep into the psyche of a being who has seen the world as it really is and yearns for sanctuary. In these works of surface whimsicality a sense of profound reclusion and peace pervades.
Deeply moved viewers have responded by once again putting the works of Sheila Wolk in great demand
Wolk takes her new success in stride. “I once painted sports to survive but now I paint for the survival of my soul.” Wolk resides in New York City where she continues to capture the drama, intensity, power and grace that surrounds it with her pastels and full product licensing and publishing "
~How it all happened~ from Medical Art to Sports Art to Fantasy Art:
I loved being a medical illustrator...anatomy is the most exciting form of drawing.The glamour was there through me being one of the few women in the agency and a Jewish one at that! It was glamour of a unique reality! They hired me as a double-token, but I definitely came out the winner; working with the best Art Directors that New York had to offer (and hand letterers as well), this was a world of exciting knowledge for me. My dream was to become an Art Director and I thought it would take a lifetime to achieve—I was totally surprised that in just a few short years I wore the title with great pride, but then got bored. The transition to becoming a fantasy artist happened many years later.
To brief you quickly: When I quit the job, I became a freelance illustrator, model, and a coat check girl at night for extra cash. Then I designed the first silk-screened canvas tote bag in America (The Volkswagen Tote Bag) and ended up in magazines like “New York Best Bets” and “Cosmo Tells All.” I then expanded my line into unique appliquéd baby nightshirts, until the government closed us all down due to a fire retardant agent in the mandatory materials for nightshirts—so I went broke and lost everything I had overnight, along with all the other similar sleep-wear companies in America!
One night, an art director I knew called me and said, “Sheila, with your knowledge of anatomy and your youth and beauty, why don’t you become a sports artist? You would become famous very quickly.” And so I did. I borrowed just enough money to get by on and promised everyone that within a year I would have a show and be in the papers, and if not, then I would quit. Eleven months later, I had my first one-woman show and I was featured in both newspapers and magazines. So that took me on a career of 23 years, and then I retired from the sports art life.
Being a woman in that world was extremely difficult—I won many awards, had hundreds of shows, was known all over the world, and yet still had to fight for every penny due to greedy major corporations that had little respect for women in the business. I felt that they didn’t deserve my talent so I decided I wouldn’t share it with them anymore. It was a scary decision but it felt so right. So I quit being a Sports artist but told the papers and galleries I had retired.
I transitioned back to Fine Art and painted hyper-realism paintings, landing a gallery for my one-woman show, which was the talk of the town—featured once again in magazine and newspaper articles—but unfortunately only one painting sold and I was broke again.
The nightmare of this situation was that the money I was using to live on that year while I painted was my inheritance from my mother who had passed away a year before. I couldn’t stop crying; I cried for weeks and I felt that I was drowning in my own tears . So I painted a mermaid floating in a pool of her lonely tears. One of my clients relatives saw the painting and bought it. They said if I kept painting Fantasy Art they would keep buying, and to me that meant supply and demand. I had the supply in knowing how to paint my inner fantasies and the would pay me because there was a demand for more Fantasy Art :-)
...so I painted a mermaid, and here I am now, a fantasy artist!