After 40 plus years of doing traditional black & white and color photography I have made the conversion to digital, which has opened a whole new set of doors. I did not say it closed the doors to traditional, only left them cracked to make room for new and exciting bodies of art. What began as a journey from a very young age to almost 56 years later was a boy’s dream of having some very fine people surround him and teach him the world of art and seeing, even with your eyes closed. I was born in South Philly, moved to South Jersey and recently just moved to Virginia.
My childhood is filled with Depression Era Uncles and WWII vets, who filled my imagination to its limits, with stories of the exotic islands to hobos sitting by the train yard, and telling tales of their travels. It was filled with smells of turpentine, and oil paint and canvas. I watched as they produced works of art in oil, pastel, charcoal, etchings, and several other mediums, all the while teaching me composition, tones, contrast, darkroom techniques, and more. They had me view, not read, several magazines, such as Life, National Geographic, and several more, for ideas and concepts. And then I turned 7. At no point did I realize I would grow up to be an artist.
Once I had a lot of this great wisdom and knowledge, I went into the U.S. Naval “Submarine Service,” and began a journey that would change my life forever. I served with the finest men of our nation, sailed to exotic locations, journeyed to Europe, and the Mediterranean sea area, studying civilizations I only read about in those magazines, seeing with my own eyes, great bodies of work by the masters. I was young, had a camera, pastels, and charcoals, and it hit. I am becoming my uncles. I am an artist.
For the next 30 years I did photography and little else, working a darkroom like it was a second home. I hand painted a lot of black and whites, using oils for permanence, and showing the world my eyes, and mind’s vision. Using my children and others as models, I shot angels on the beach, children as ghosts, women as gods and much more, but my eye for the landscape was my bread and butter. It sold and I paid my bills. Allowing me to expand into other extraordinary photographic mediums.
As of January 2016, I switched to digital to explore other avenues of art, of which, I have been thinking of. It has been an experience, allowing me to do new, yet very exciting work. Most people think, “What type of digital camera did you buy?” Well I am not normal, so I borrowed a 35 mm, use my Ipad, and GoPro camera to capture some very unique perspectives not seen on the art market. And that is what Art Is all about. And that is what I will continue to do for now, God willing.
With a fundamental interest in human geography and environmental determinism Katy Shepard's academic interests include: the pursuit of philosophical research on individual empowerment and political theory on human rights (especially in the area of gender and sexuality) to be used as a basis for artworks and rhetoric promoting awareness and social change in sustainable global development.
All of Shepard's works draw heavily from her academic background in philosophy. Considering art and philosophy the same intellectual endeavor, her works constantly come back to the question of the definition of an individual in relation to the "Self" and the "Other" with an essential fondness for David and Hume and Jean Paul Sartre's philosophies.
The series Splinters delves directly into the fractioning of the human body and soul, splitting the dynamic into two forms the Self and the Other. Neither form knows which is which though both vie for the position of Self, and thus we follow the "individual" on a path to self discovery through two lenses.
Owner of The Artists' Cradle, Shepard has been teaching art lessons in Stafford County for over seven years (now relocated to Montgomery County, Va.) and her students have won numerous prizes at local art shows and scholarships at the Virginia State Fair. Shepard received her three undergraduate degrees BFA Studio Art BA Political Science and BA Philosophy in 2014 from Virginia Tech and has studied internationally at Korea University in 2012 and VT Center for European Studies and Architecture Riva San Vitale, Switzerland 2013. In May 2016 Shepard graduated with an MA Philosophy from Virginia Tech and will begin her PhD Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) this fall. She has also been the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Sustainability since beginning her MA in 2015.