Robert Shetterly is an American artist who graduated in 1969 from Harvard College where he active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement while taking some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life -- from the written word to the image. After college, a year of teaching school in a two-room schoolhouse in the West Virginia mountains, and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely and for twelve years did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon's children's newspaper Audubon Adventures, and approximately 30 books.
Best known for his Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits, his series of more than 180 portraits and have given him an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it. Also, implicit in them is the question of how we derive our ethics -- from what’s good for economy or what is consistent with morality and our political ideals. He continues to engage in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted and three years ago he began an educational project in Maine, The Samantha Smith Challenge, which gets middle school students out of the classroom and engaged in finding solutions to issues they are most concerned about.