CommCreative is proud to announce Factory Mark Gallery’s newest featured artist, SHEP. SHEP is a painter who often combines nostalgic cartoon figures with real-life subjects to bring his feelings to life. His artwork will be featured in an exhibition entitled Floating Like a Butterfly beginning April 25. Learn more about his life and his work with these five facts:
1. He lost and found his way with art.
SHEP spent his early years doodling and sketching. Though he applied—and got accepted—to an art high school in New York City as a teenager, he never actually graduated. He encountered trouble in his teenage years but eventually went on to get his GED Diploma.
It was only when he went back to school, this time as part of the Tufts Studio Diploma program, that he would also return to art. He started painting again and soon fell in love with the medium for a second time.
2. He describes his work as a juxtaposition of figurative and realistic.
SHEP’s work often combines figures (cartoons or animated characters) with real-life subjects. “Not all of my paintings are like that,” he says. “But I’m definitely known for that.”
His work also incorporates sexuality, but he is vocal about not wanting it to be seen as vulgar or promiscuous. “I’m aware of objectification and the male gaze, and that’s not really what I’m trying to represent.”
Rather, he says, he is trying to think about human relationships and how best to represent them on canvas. He notes that translating those thoughts and feelings to canvas is a lifelong journey, one he is still very much trying to get right.
3. Inspiration for his paintings comes from his emotions.
SHEP says that his son is his biggest motivation, taking center stage in several of his works.
More often than not, his paintings come from personal feelings or experiences.
“When I’m in love or frustrated or sad, it’s important to be able to work through those feelings,” he says. “To harness that energy and put it down on canvas.”
4. Certain reactions stick with him more than others.
When people don’t enjoy his art, he says, the responses really stay with him.
“It’s nice when people enjoy my work,” he says, “but the [negative] reactions are the ones that make me feel horrible because that wasn’t what I intended.”
And though it doesn’t always feel great to hear these comments, SHEP does welcome people’s honesty—because it helps him become a better painter.
5. A piece of advice.
SHEP credits his father with teaching him about priorities. He likes the metaphor of losing your cell phone. How do you react? Do you treat it like the end of the world? Or accept that it happened and move on?
The latter, says SHEP. “Everything is what you put on it,” he says. “That pressure is self-created. You get to choose where to put that pressure and how to handle it.”
Floating Like a Butterfly will be on display beginning April 25 in the Factory Mark Gallery at CommCreative: 75 Fountain St., Framingham, MA 01702. Learn more about the exhibition and SHEP at https://factorymarkgallery.com