As his own body was failing him, Clifton Sheely was consumed with recreating what he considered to be the prime human male form. Athletes, particularly body builders, boxers and wrestlers were his inspiration. "My love of the male physique was inspired by travels to Europe, especially Greece, and Greek mythology. I view the male figure as a strong and vital, yet spiritual - always reflecting to a higher guidance." Sheely died in 1998 at the age of forty-one leaving a legacy of accomplished work behind.
"Clifton Sheely has wrapped Walter Mondale in garbage bags and stuck straws up the former vice president's nose. He received ransom notes for the Maltese Falcon. He has sculpted a Mike Schmidt hand and Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscles," stated a reporter of the artist. Studied in the classical style, Clifton was more adept at the sculpting process than many of his instructors, and quickly became Department Head of Modeling/Enlarging at the Johnson Technical Institute of Sculpture in Princeton, NJ. He worked with George Segal, Julian Schnabel, Isaac Witkin, Beverly Pepper, and Seward Johnson. Sheely's expertise was called upon to sculpt the famed 24-foot horse, based on Leonardo da Vinci's drawings commissioned in the late 15th century by the Duke of Milan. Commissioned in 19-- by Charles Dent, the final ten-ton, bronze sculpture was presented to the Duke of Milan, 500 years after da Vinci's ill-fated commission.