Don’t be fooled by Daniel Shepherd’s “Pretty/Creepy” collages – he’s a sensitive soul.

Artist of the Month: Daniel Shepherd

Written by Jackie Dishner Category: Arts Issue: August 2017
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It may seem pretty creepy to take a woman’s nude image and plaster a tape player or slab of raw steak across her face, but don’t let the creep-factor fool you. Phoenix collage artist, coffeehouse DJ and ambient music guitar player for yogis Daniel Shepherd deliberately exposes an “inner goth” in his work. But his true intention, he says, is to make you laugh and feel.

“I’m really a sensitive guy,” he says.

At his last event – “Pretty/Creepy: The Dainty Little Freak Show Part 2” at Chartreuse gallery, which ran in June – he exhibited 120 of these book-size caricatures, arranged like family photographs on the wall. Shepherd says collage art is a passion that grew out of his love for cartoons, drawing and nostalgia. 

“It’s my play time,” says the self-taught artist, who also paints. His collage work began more than 10 years ago in sketchbooks. Now his canvases are repurposed book covers, on top of which he creates new “stories” in clear acrylic paint and images cut out of vintage magazines, like Sunset, Penthouse and Men’s Adventure, circa 1950-1970. 

Shepherd stands at the kitchen island in his north central Phoenix home. The island is covered in a towel and cardboard fruit boxes filled with magazine images and cutouts, sorted into eyes, noses, female forms, flowers and electronic equipment. With silver shears and an X-Acto knife, he creates quirky new life forms. The back of a nude is turned upside down, her bottom becomes the top of her head, her back the new face, the claws of a sloth combing through her hair. Now a beard? “It’s not just another pretty face,” he says. 

See Shepherd’s work at Tuck Shop, For The People and toofangskinny.tumblr.com.

— Jackie Dishner