Blog » Winston-Salem Artist Envisions an Alternative 2011
On the first Friday of every month in downtown Winston-Salem, people gather together to peruse the latest work from local artists at an event known as the Gallery Hop. This month’s hop that occurred on June 3 featured artist Mike Shepherd, a current resident of Winston-Salem, and his collection of unusable furniture, eclectic faces, and colorful animals.
“The pieces in the show are all artifacts from a slightly different 2011 than this one,” Shepherd says. “Tiger 2011 is distinguished from this 2011 with more impractical interior design and unappealing restaurant concepts.”
His current exhibit, “On the Wings of a Tiger,” is featured at the Inter_Section Gallery and Art Space of Trade Street. A closing reception will be held on Friday, June 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature a performance from one of Shepherd’s musical projects, Acrobatics Macrocosm. Shepherd also plans to invite some new pieces to the exhibit that have not yet been featured.
“The inspiration for the name of the show comes from my penchant for combining words together in a way that sounds right but is actually meaningless,” Shepherd says.
When one initially approaches the gallery space from the street, the window display features a bright orange, yellow and green television set with National Lampoon’s Vacation playing on loop sitting next to a purple and green chair with a prohibitive “safety bar.” The name of the show is painted on two large wooden boards suspended above the color show below. The precise lines of the lettering reference hand-painted signs from the early 20th century, yet with a modern typeface. The paint that’s used on the television, television stand and desk utilizes an upward drip-dry effect that allows the paint to appear rigid and almost as though it’s evaporating. Shepherd uses this paint technique on the interior design pieces he features in the gallery space, as well.
When you go up the stairs to see the actual exhibit, a bike with purple metal tubes surrounding it hangs from the ceiling. The walls are covered with pieces of art that range from a Mister Ed influenced zebra wearing a button up shirt to a piece that boldly states, “Let’s make out,” in bright bubble letters. A twosome and threesome of love birds are displayed next to a smaller piece that features corn dogs and the suggestion of a utopia associated with them. For this opening night, Shepherd also included a non-traditional food component by serving it on a table in the bathroom. While it was all edible food — a strawberry cake with coconut-pecan icing, chocolate marshmallows, jalapeno peppers, pork rinds and three different shades/flavors of Jell-O — the smorgasbord was unappetizing at best. Patrons were welcome to enjoy the food and use the facility, with the door wide open. No one did.
“This show is an idea that has culminated over the past few years and this is the first time the concept has come together comprehensively,” Shepherd says. “I’ll advance this concept by moving back into the 2011 that we’re all sharing.”
The opening night also featured a music component with Shepherd’s most recent musical collaboration titled N-Z (pronounced N through Z). Tim Nolan, Grant Livesay, and Shepherd performed an improvised set of free jazz/noise/math rock/dance music, each switching instruments multiple times.
“It’s a conceptual band that also takes place in Tiger 2011; it’s harkening back to a time in 2002 when both underground hip-hop and experimental noise musicians were assuming confrontational personas, and performing with incredible intensity and infectious energy,” Shepherd says. “This project is veering off from that point in 2002 into Tiger 2011.”
Shepherd has been based in Winston-Salem for the past five years. Originally hailing from High Point, Shepherd has been selling screen prints of his art since 1997 and has been exhibiting in galleries since 2001. In addition to his artistic endeavors, he also provides direct care support for children and adults with developmental disabilities, and is a freelance math tutor. You can also catch Shepherd on Monday nights hosting World Fantasy Karaoke at Single Brothers from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
If you’re interested in stretching your horizons a bit and looking at a world of cerebrally stimulating colorful imagery, come on down to Trade Street between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or make sure to attend the closing reception at the end of the week.
Caroline Edgeton, a recent graduate from Wake Forest University, is now part of "the real world." Though trying to figure out future plans, Caroline is an avid reader, writer, art gallery peruser, recipe follower, and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur (she really just likes wine). She enjoys spending most of her time in the arts district of downtown Winston-Salem.