Tony was born in Salford, coming to St Ives at the age of 20 (1938). He quickly established himself with fellow artist Peter LANYON, Roger HILTON, and Terry FROST, working squarely in the St Ives tradition of landscape, seascape and abstraction that he continued to pursue in painting.
In the late 1950s he travelled to France and Spain, where he began to develop his personal style. He married Christine Price and after the birth of his first son, the family moved to Carbis Bay, near St Ives. From 1959 Tony began to exhibit at both the Penwith and the Newlyn Art Galleries. Their second son was born the following year. (Twin daughters followed in 1962.)
In 1960 the couple bought The Cuddy, Westcott's Quay from the artist, Isobel HEATH. In the same year he exhibited in a three man show with artists Michael DEAN and Brian WALL at the Steps Gallery, St Ives, and then in 1961 took over the running of the Steps Gallery. He was elected to the committee of the Penwith Society. From that time he began to exhibit also in London and in mixed shows throughout the UK.
In 1963 Shiels moved to Gloucestershire, where he worked from a large farmhouse in Stinchcombe, and was visited by many Cornish artist friends, and his third daughter was born. During the following three years, he made regular visits to Cornwall and in 1966 moved back to the county to live at Ponsanooth, near Falmouth, where he was to remain for 20 years. From this time his work became increasingly surreal and he wrote three books on magic, created a cartoon strip and played music with two electric blues bands in addition to exhibiting. His writing, his exhibiting, and his sometime work as a professional magician and Punch & Judy professor led him more and more into theatricals, and the writing and producing of plays. A full time-line and bibliography of his work is included in his Limited Edition biography in 1995, by Associate Professor Steven Cousins of Cranfield University, a delightful work showing Tony's exuberance, his spirit and his poetic/artistic sense of place and line. That same year he exhibited at Newlyn in the show selected by Sandra Blow, RA and Mme Flowers.
"My work must surprise me but often I find it angers and frustrates me - it is a possession and an obsession." [from article 'Raw Visions'] Doc Shiels now lives in Killarney, Eire.
works and access
2009: 'Sons of Guns' (4-man show), Market House Gallery, Marazion
October 2012 at Market house gallery Marazion.
misc further info
Personal: WCAA autobiographical archive (gifted by artist); www.francis-shiels.co.uk
S Cousins (1995) Tony Shiels ISBN 187 1315 549 Mark Space Publications
PJ Field (2009) 'Raw visions' Inside Cornwall, Apr issue pp48-9