Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1939. He grew up in the Boston area, eventually pursuing a major in biology at Northeastern University from 1957 to 1958. However, after two years at Northeastern, Paul decided to become an artist and leave the university. He enrolled in night classes at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at the beginning of 1959, in order to study drawing. A year later he entered the Museum's day school, which he attended until 1962.
In the early 1970s and '80s, Paul made three summer trips to New Mexico. In 1982 he permanently relocated to Santa Fe because of his involvement with landscape painting. The paintings he produced during this period have been described as "volatile dramas whose colors and outlines are compressed energy held in check by the edges of the paintings." [Mary Carroll Nelson, American Artist. 1985.] Paul’s body of landscape works have become and remain a major influence on artists and the look of landscape paintings in the Southwest today. In 1990, Paul abandoned the landscape and returned to a more abstract approach in his work. In 2004, his style again evolved, incorporating newly discovered techniques for applying acrylic paint. He named the output of this discovery The Quantumscape Series I. Paul defines this body of work as a metaphorical depiction of a pre-matter state with different energy structures at work—a new kind of landscape that is very appropriate for the near future.
During this same period, Paul was introduced to the Hellinger Work (Family Constellations) by his daughter Natascha, a healer in Germany. After experiencing a miraculous healing of a recently contracted kidney disease, Paul became intensely interested and involved in energetic healing modalities, which he feels are very connected to his paintings. Paul was trained in the Hellinger work by Hella Neuman, with whom he has worked for the past six years. He also studies Pranic Healing, which works on patients' energy bodies. Shapiro has also practiced Tai Chi, off and on, since 1970.