The Hampton Classic Horse Show, the elite equestrian competition that draws hundreds of the best hunter and jumper riders from across the nation, has announced that Shannon Lawlor of Alberta, Canada, has been chosen as the official poster artist for the 41st annual show when it returns to Bridgehampton from August 28–September 4, 2016. Hampton Classic posters often become collector’s items and are one of the hottest-selling items at the show.
The selected artwork, “Flexible Soul,” is a painting of the famed Olympic show jumping stallion, Flexible, the mount of U.S. Olympic veteran Rich Fellers. While displaying her artwork at the Masters Tournament at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia last year, Lawlor just happened to come across “Flexible” and Fellers, the 2012 FEI World Cup Champions, before they entered the show ring and captured the moment through the lens of her camera. The focused, wise look on the famed chestnut’s face captivated Lawlor and inspired her to create the painting.
“It’s an absolute honor to be selected as the Hampton Classic Horse Show poster artist,” says Lawlor, who is in the process of planning her first trip to the prestigious event, a decades-long dream she is finally fulfilling. “It’s a really big deal for me. There are a lot of strong artists out there with amazing talent and I’m just so thrilled, yet humbled at the same time, that my piece was chosen out of so many applicants.”
Lawlor has been immersed in the equine industry which she has expressed fully through her artwork as a full-time artist for the past 11 years. She translates her own history into fine art that focuses on capturing the soul behind the eyes of her equine subjects. Her work moves beyond breed and discipline with an appeal that is meant to inspire and enlighten the viewer, as well as appreciate the majesty of the horse from all walks of life. Lawlor’s work hangs in the most authentic ranches in North America, as well as office towers, hotels, homes and more. Lawlor is often spotlighted as a featured artist at invitational shows including Nevada’s Northeastern Museum, Arizona’s Phippen Museum and Alberta’s Calgary Stampede.
“Horses are a part of my breath, an extension of myself,” says Lawlor. “My vision for this piece was to do a close up, rather intense portrait reflecting the soul of the jumping horse. Flexible captured the essence of everything I was looking for in such a portrait. He was soulfully engaged in distant activity, inviting the viewer into wonder of what that might be.”
The original depiction of “Flexible Soul” is painted in acrylic on Baltic birch, measuring 24″ x 36″ and is available for purchase.
The Hampton Classic hosts more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages and abilities and showcases the highest levels of equestrian show jumping competition in six show rings. A wide range of hunter, jumper and equitation classes are offered at all levels, from leadline classes all the way up to grand prix. Classes are also featured for riders with disabilities. The Hampton Classic is the culminating event of the famed Hamptons’ summer social season on Long Island, and is a hot spot for many top business leaders, socialites, and celebrities.
In addition to the six show rings, the Hampton Classic features a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors for an amazing shopping experience, a wide selection of dining options and a Farmers Market, all on its immaculate 60-acre show grounds.