The creativity of Canadian artist Shannon Lawlor is ingrained into her new line of Western-inspired wallpaper and fabrics.
Western artist Shannon Lawlor has built her career painting dramatic equine portraits and striking scenes celebrating traditional vaquero horsemen and -women. Focused on the paintings propped on the easel in her Alberta, Canada, studio, the artist and horsewoman never seriously thought of extending her creativity into home decor and interior design until she and her business partner, Pat Minor, launched SLCheval last summer. The company features the Tapadero Collection of wallpaper designs and coordinating fabrics inspired by Lawlor’s art and deep passion for horses and the Western lifestyle.
The wall covering line evolved rather “serendipitously,” muses Lawlor. It morphed from a commissioned T-shirt design she created in the spring of 2018 for a client. Lawlor painted an image of two whimsical horses “colored” with a damask pattern reminiscent of the black velvet design on the wallpaper in her family’s living room when she was a child. Although the design didn’t match her client’s vision, it sparked a new creative outlet for Lawlor.
“I spent that spring letting the ideas based on that painting develop,” she explains. “I thought about taking pieces of traditional Western gear, such as Visalia saddles, and marrying them with ornate patterns that didn’t match. Sometimes, opposites attract and they work really well together.”
Though she had no clue where the designs would lead, she continued to paint them individually. One day, she created a pattern of a repeating image and it made her think of wallpaper.
“I started researching wallpaper and saw that the world of wallpaper is very much alive,” she says. “The more I looked, the more I noticed there wasn’t anything like this out there, especially in the Western industry.”
Seeing a new artistic niche, Lawlor partnered with Minor, who is a business-minded horsewoman, to create a home decor company. They settled on the name SLCheval, which combines the artist’s initials with the French word for “horse.”
The Tapadero collection of custom wall coverings from SLCheval features seven designs rooted in the authentic West — a saddle, longhorn, bison, big-loop roper, vaquero and hackamore. They are available in different color combinations and in luxe or matte vinyl finishes. Self-adhesive tiles and coordinating fabrics are also available.
“I see it as a bridge between two worlds,” says Lawlor, explaining that corporate could bring elements of the West into their urban lifestyle. Or, it could add a modern touch to a traditional ranch house or bunkhouse. In fact, McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch in Libby, Montana, did the first wall-covering installation in the tack room earlier this year.
“It is beautiful,” says Lawlor. “The rich, leather-like texture and dimension make you want to touch it.”
Western design is ready for a wallpaper revival with fresh, ultra-stylish yet traditional prints from SLCheval’s Tapadero Collection. Inspired by Lawlor’s refined realism in fine art, the collection of wall coverings can also stand alone as contemporary art to accent certain spaces.
For more information, visit slcheval.com.