I’m an ordinary Artist who found himself on an extraordinary journey.
In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other artist stories and different voices, to widen the pathway for those who want to pursue their artistic endeavors.
While on vacation in 2017, I was lucky enough to get to walk into Gallery Vibe in Naples, Fl., and speak to the owner, Shelby Ward. I showed her pictures of some of my artwork on my phone and asked if she thought it would fit into her gallery.
She said, “No, but let me give you a tip. Google the top 10 art galleries in different cities across America and then look at their websites to determine if you think your style of Art would fit into theirs. If so, then send them a blind email asking for representation.”
I followed her instructions and sent out about 50 + emails. Some came back, asking me for money to have them represent me, and others just never replied. Five months later, I received an email from a gallery owner.
This is what it said;
The subject line was “Introduced by Dennis from Centaur Galleries.”
The email read:
“Hello, Clark Sheppard,
It is nice that Dennis from Centaur Galleries in Las Vegas recommended you to us.
We are an international company that is doing Art and technology; we are Muzillion Art. We have a gallery in San Diego now and open later these months. You can check our Facebook below for more information. Our new website will be published in September, and you will see a modern look. And the name will be changed from Oil Painting Town to Muzillion Art then.
It is enjoyable to view your arts. We appreciate that and wondering whether you will be interested in being our artist and participate in the international show for private collectors in China in November, and Hongkong, Korean next year? We need good new artists to expand.
Let me know your thoughts and will be looking forward to your reply.
513 Parkway Plaza Mall, El Cajon, CA 92020 “
At first, I thought it might be a scam. So, my reply was: Have you seen my site? Are you interested in my new style?
Of the contemporary abstracts, which ones do you like best?
I look forward to your honest reply!
Thank you for your message.
Of course, we have checked your website a couple of times, and do love the styles you are making. I personally like your colorful and unique painting. Also, I like Sedona!!!! Are you living in Sedona now? I lived in Arizona for three years and earned my MBA degree at Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2012. I have been to Sedona a couple of times!! Always miss Arizona~~I appreciate that Dennis introduced you to me. Let me know if you have any questions and whether you would like us to help you promote your Art?
Attached were screenshots of the Art they choose from my site. I then went to work and vetted them, and everything looked on the up and up. I even doused asking the Universe, and all came back as a YES. I then had an attorney draw up a contract to protect myself and send it to Ninim, who had no problem with signing it “as is.”
Ninim then came to Sedona to see my Art in person, and that’s when she made her choice of 12 of my original paintings. She asked that I ship them to her gallery by mid-September. I decided to deliver them in person; this way, I could see her gallery and bond a little bit more with the person that would be representing my Art in China.
So, I booked my flight to China, secured my visa, and landed in Guangzhou, China, on December 27th, 2018.
From there, my entire experience was over the top spectacular. Nimin met me at the airport and became my personal travel guide for the next ten days. Taking our group to small out of the way villages of Yangshuo and Xing Ping, we were able to learn about and come to appreciate life outside the city. Nimin also showed us about 85% of Guangzhou (population of 20 million) – the old city, the new city, and much of it in between!
Signage for the show.
对望 Looking at each other
In English, it means Expectation–American Contemporary Art Show.
Then came opening night of the private art show. This was a 1st class operation. We were greeted on the Red Carpet, where T.V. and news outlets were assembled. Signage was professional, as was the Muzillion Art show presentation. A room full of private collectors came to view our Art. Robert Waroway, Alexander Franco, and I were there for the opening. The other six artists were not present.
The first piece of Art sold
was my original painting of “Sky of Grace” to a private Chinese collector, Andy Huang. What made this sale special is that Andy is a collector of Chinese artifacts, and this was his first purchase of western Art – ever.
I later learned that he chose my art piece, Sky of Grace, because of the order of colors. The foreground of this original painting is focused on the color green, represented in the lush grasses. In Chinese cultural beliefs, green represents Life.
Moving further into the painting, you see a variety of shades of blue water, which represents Abundance and Fortune. Beyond the water are sienna-colored mountains depicting the solid, grounding Support of the Earth. The blue sky is the Presence of the Universe, and finally, the bright yellow sun and its reflection in the water represents the Buddha Light – the Spiritual Awakening of Humanity. Who knew?
The next three paintings sold at this show were: Fire In the Sky, Enchanted Castle and Prism Sky – three more of my original paintings. These were purchased by another Chinese Collector, just moments after the sale of the “Sky of Grace. I was quite elated over these sales! Eight months later, the rest of the originals were sold. As it turns out, the Chinese love my vivid, mystical western style of Art.
The highlight came when we were invited by the benefactor Arthur Wang of the private Art Show to the closing night dinner. At this event, announcements were shared regarding upcoming art shows, future plans for MUZILLION ART www.muzillionarts.com and a special announcement, inviting myself and the other two artists to come back to China for 2-3 months to paint and create more Art, All expenses paid, airfare, lodging, and meals!
How I Started Painting
My initial exposure to painting began simply enough in 1990, through an “adult evening education course” at a local, New Jersey high school. I started working with the medium of watercolor, thinking, “How hard could it be?” …only to discover that it was one of the most challenging mediums there is.
I showed my first artwork to a good friend, Gordon Haas, who is an accomplished artist with his own Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. Gordon was very positive, telling me he perceived the beginnings of some real talent and encouraged me to pursue my interest in Art. Gordon then became my mentor, and what started as dabbling, fast grew into a passion.
Inspired by the Art of Thomas McKnight
The artist Thomas McKnight had a significant influence on my pallet. So, to pay homage to him, I decided to put an Mc in front of my nickname, “Shep.” Thus, McShep Art Studios was birthed, and that’s how I sign my Art to this day, “McShep.”
Southwest Art, here I come
One winter on a ski vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., I rolled my snowmobile and broke my hand. Unable to ski or play in the snow, I spent my remaining time there walking around galleries. I picked up a SouthwestArt magazine and was particularly inspired by the artistic images of the Southwest that filled its pages. These images spoke to me in a way that both touched me deeply and inspired me. I have been painting Southwest art ever since, even when living in N.J., before moving to Sedona.
Sedona is now my home
Now living my dream since 2002 in Sedona, Arizona – a truly magical place, the “whimsical” feel of my work is much inspired by the unique and enchanting beauty of Sedona. My daily gratitude for living in this awe-inspiring place continually reminds me to open and expand my conscious awareness of and appreciation for the profound impact nature can have on us when we genuinely pay attention to this beautiful planet we call Earth.
The most recent recognition of my Art is a request for the licensing of my oil painting, “Creekside Cathedral,” to be featured in the New Media series Snatchers, produced by Stage 13, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.”
Since the licensing of my Art to Warner Bros., I’ve been looking to develop a specialized niche utilizing my vibrant color palette, for which I’m known for. That’s when I came upon an offer for a “Modern Abstract” workshop here in Sedona at the Sedona Art Center. I’ve dubbed my new style, “Whimsically Abstracting the Landscape Sky.” I always start with the sky and let the rest of the painting fall out of me! When you see my art in person, it has a 3-D look to it because of the color choice I make by putting specific colors next to one another.
Sedona Art Studios has been a proud sponsor of the “Sedona International Film Festival.”