Lela was born and raised in London and attended several fine art institutions before graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 1996. She has had solo exhibitions in Denver, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sydney, Australia. She has shown internationally in England, France, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2006, Lela was included in a group exhibition at The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. In 2009, Lela’s work was short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize – the most competitive drawing contest in the UK. In 2019 Lela was awarded the Pirkle Jones Grant.
Lela relocated to the Bay Area in 2011 from London and currently paints in her studio in West Marin, CA.
She was represented by Hang Art Gallery in San Francisco before opening Trouvé, a small gallery featuring her own work as well as the work of many other artists and designers in the Bay Area. Trouvé is located in downtown Fairfax on Bolinas Road and is the place to view more of Lela’s work.
Lela Shields strives to reveal the fragility of life, utilizing delicate line work and detailing, in an ultra-fine balance between human, animal and spiritual realms. Shields crafts subtle narratives while simultaneously playing with chance, technique and pure imagination. Each piece starts with a random spill or pour of ink that the painting then emerges from.