Phil Shepherd was born in London in 1933. He left school at 14 and worked in a scenic studio who produced back-drops for theatres and display stands, following this he worked repairing window dummies before completing his national service in 1951-1953.
He is a self taught artist and had no formal training. He lived in Soho for a while surviving by doing jobs of a dreary and mundane nature and occasional murals in coffee bars and seedy clubs.
He’s exhibited in Norway, London, and other towns in the British Isles, has spent considerable time in Deya – Mallorca where many artists, writers and musicians reside, notably the writer Robert Graves. There he has shown his work in one man and group shows along with Mati Klarwein and Brett Whiteley.
For the past 18 years he has been living in Haworth, West Yorkshire and has exhibited in group shows there and Harrogate.
During his lifetime he’s worked on book covers and a couple of record sleeves, decorated furniture and a gypsy caravan and worked as a sign writer in London and New York. He has also worked on large inflatable stage props for the Rolling Stones 1990 tour “Urban Jungle” and Roger Walter’s concert commemerating the demelition of the Berlin Wall.
A photograph of artist Phill Shepherd in Deia (Circa &1965-69)
I went out for a meal with artists Phil Shepherd and Jean McEwan and had a very enjoyable night. Phil was very entertaining, as always, and shared with us some stories about travelling through France and Spain. Phill has an incredible biography, including living and working as a painter and musician in Deia during the 1960’s & 70’s. This by all accounts was a richly creative period in the history of the little Spanish Island of Majorca:
“Deia’s Golden Age of art, poetry, prose and music lasted from 1960 to 1980. This short but rich epoch was made possible by the lucky confluence of a disparate and international group of writers, musicians and artists on this beautiful and savage coast; the environment that so inspired their creativity. With Robert Graves in the vanguard, writers and artists have congregated in the village of Deia for over sixty years. They were drawn by the mysterious and breathtaking beauty of the locale, the society of the like-minded, the inexpensive food and drink, the spectacular houses and the hospitality of the local people”. Oona Lind
You can read more about Phill and Deia here http://www.cafecody.com/deya/painters.html
Phill Shepherd has been busy on a whole new series of paintings since my last visit and here on Robertsworld i would like to share with you one of his fantastic new works. Phill tells me he has been exploring a new palette, making use of day-glo colours, as you can see in the background to the beautiful figure above.
Phill in these new works continues to present a series of portraits, of people and images found on the internet. These however under-go a series of transformations. Detail is discarded, as is any reference to the original colours (more often than not he works from black and white prints). His trans-formative process then is applied to the forms, which are defined in flat simplified, interlocking planes. These can however, unexpectedly, turn into surprising arabesques holding the surface in a curious tension. And colours subtly glow through from beneath the surface – between you and me the paintings are stunning.
Portrait of the artist Phill Shepherd
I would really like to present an exhibition of paintings that have had an influence on me. I would call the show ‘Belly of My Dog’. And today I’m trying it out online. So here are a few of the works that i would like to exhibit by some excellent artists.
Artists as they appear below: Stewart Hitch, Thomas Noskowski, Varda Caivano, Forrest Bess, Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo, Phil Shepherd, Carroll Dunham, Chuck Webster, Chris Johanson and finally the master Philip Guston.
(I would like to thank Bromski for a number of these images from his flickr site – cheers)
Posted in art, Exhibitions
Tagged Andrew Masullo, Belly of My Dog, Carroll Dunham, Chris Johanson, Chris Martin, Chuck Webster, exhibition, Forrest Bess, painting, Philip Guston, Phill Shepherd, Robert Hopes World, Stewart Hitch, Thomas Noskowski, Varda Caivano
Last night i had the pleasure of spending the evening with artist Phil Shepherd. After visiting him at his home, where i saw some of his wonderful new paintings, we then took the short walk from his house to the Haworth Tandoori. There we met friends for a great night of chat, good food and lots of lovely Cobra beer.
Phil, who now resides in Haworth, spent many years living and working in Majorca. His life story is fascinating, he is mentioned in Tomás Graves’ “gentle memoir of growing up in Majorca,” Tuning Up at Dawn, and hopefully one day a book of his life will be published. Phil doesn’t have any plans to exhibit his new work immediately but when he does i will keep you informed. In the meantime enjoy the images.