Emily Shepard was born in Boston, Massachusetts and attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where she majored in history, and began her fine art studies. She pursued further work in printmaking at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Massachusetts College of Art, and after moving to Colorado, studied drawing at CU Boulder and book arts at Naropa University. Later, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the California College of the Arts, where she received an MFA with Distinction in work that integrated printmaking, book arts and sculpture. Shepard was honored with the Barclay Simpson Award, and has shown her work locally and nationally in juried exhibitions, including the Crocker-Kingsley exhibition in Sacramento and on Artsy with Jen Tough and the Artist Alliance. Her work is included in private and corporate collections.

Shepard is a year round, wetsuit–free swimmer in the San Francisco Bay, where the shifting seasons of cold, tides and currents wake up her senses and inform her art. She shares her artistic space with her five time Grammy winning husband.

Artist Statement: 

My work is about connection and communication – I look for unexpected relationships and poetic through lines. I construct my art from surfaces on which I've painted, marked, or drawn, and cut out or “harvest” sections that are most alive and unmannered. These are the raw materials from which I build collages and assemble paintings. The marks and elements are in dialogue with one another, and held in place with thread, glue or tacks.

Text and letterforms interest me. My goal is to abstract them, to have their form disintegrate into merely a shape, divorced from it’s prior life. Elements of communication are reduced to rubble, and gestural marks stand in for words, existing below the surface of complete comprehension, like hearing a muttered phrase but unable to decipher its meaning, or misinterpreting the intent.

I often use found paper from accounting ledgers, antique encyclopedias, flash cards, or index cards. I’m drawn to these sources for the authority or structure they imply, which I push against. My work offers instead an internal way to understand what is known, and to reflect on being present and embodied.