Samuel Paul Walsh was born in Wimbledon, London, ENGLAND to Irish parents, his mother from Limerick and his father from Ennis. He was educated in London and also in Limerick at Villiers Secondary School. He lived in Limerick from 1968 to 1990 and he now lives and works in Co. Clare.
He studied art at the Limerick School of Art and Philosophy at Mary Immaculate College of Education, Limerick. He took his MFA. at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin.
He is closely associated with the beginnings of the Limerick Exhibition of Visual Art (EV+A/eva international) and was the founder of Quadrant, an annual exhibition for young artists held in the Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick which ran from 1993 until 2007.
He is an ardent promoter of contemporary drawing and to this end, he founded in 1987 with support from friends, the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing that was gifted by him to the Limerick City Gallery of Art in 1991. The collection has continued to grow as new works are added to it on a regular basis and also contains drawings on permanent loan from the Arts Council of Ireland's drawing collection. In 2021 he selected an exhibition for Limerick City Gallery of Art from the collection to acknowledge it's 30 year anniversary.
In 1997 he was elected a member of Aosdána, a self-governing body set up by the Irish Government with advice from the poet and writer Anthony Cronin to recognise outstanding contributions by individuals to the creative arts in Ireland. He served as a member of Aosdána's Toscaireacht from 2007-2009, 2015-2016 & 2018-2020. Aosdána's administration is supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
He is a Fellow of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo.
He has been selected for international artist residencies, most notably in SWITZERLAND in 1990, FRANCE in 1995 & 2002, the USA in 2009, in GERMANY in 2012, 2015 & 2018, and in SPAIN in 2016. (see also Residencies page).
He taught Life Drawing at the Limerick School of Art & Design from 1987 to 1997. In 2005 he was the Professor of Drawing for the Autumn semester at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, Brittany, FRANCE. He has also been a visiting lecturer at this college and to the National College of Art & Design, Dublin and the Burren College of Art, Co. Clare. He taught on the Drawing Studies Course at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, annually between 2008-2010.
He has given workshops on drawing in art centres and art galleries throughout Ireland.
In 2009 and 2011 he gave lectures of a polemical nature on the place of drawing in art and the influence of Old Master paintings and sculpture on contemporary artists at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
He features in the 2009 documentary film 'Aosdána', made by Fubar Film and directed by Fintan Connolly. The film has yet to be shown publically.