For my piece, I wanted to collect imagery from around Shelter Alternatives’ garden itself. In this abstracted work you will find a variety of flowers and other flora from around Shelter’s grounds. The abstraction of the work is drawn from an audio component. Having met Ed years ago at a swing dance (and then, of course, at contra dances and Blues night), I decided to create a playlist of swing and blues music to inspire the colors and strokes of the stylized backdrop. Colors, speed, and direction of stroke change in relation to the pace, volume, and rhythm of the music. Overall the work relies heavily on primary colors mixed on the wall into secondary and tertiary to emphasize the basic elements of nature.
Shepard moved to the New River Valley in 2010 to attend Virginia Tech. After graduate work at the intersection of the arts and social justice, Shepard has settled in the valley as a Professor of Ethics at local universities. Outside the classroom Shepard continues to develop a body of artwork in line with social justice goals and also co-owns the local letterpress company, Scallywag Letterpress, which focuses on merchandise emphasizing human rights.