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Tri State Sculptors Association

Promoting public awareness and appreciation for sculpture in the VA, NC, and SC areas

Member spotlight:  Austin Sheppard

Current Location Saint Pauls, NC

Current profession / employment?   Studio Technician and Lecturer at UNC Pembroke


Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in your current location / profession?

Born and raised in southeast North Carolina.  Five years ago, I moved back to the family farm to make work and wound up getting a job at my alma mater, UNC-P.

What is your favorite medium, scale, genre/themes/body of work, etc? 

I use whatever I can get my hands on. This usually means found and reclaimed materials. Sustainability is sexy. I try to be as flexible as possible in scale and material....the available materials often dictate the work. My work begins with a focus on the self and how it fits and interacts within my surroundings.

Who are your sculpture heros/heroines? What inuences your work the most?

The sheer audacity of Chris Burden's sculpture has always blown me away. Who comes up with the idea to make a steam roller fly under its own power and then actually pulls it off?! My relationship to my surroundings, particularly nature, has been my main driving force for many years now. I am hugely influenced by the Scandinavian approach to cooking as espoused by Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson; it requires not only a close relationship with nature and the materials it provides, but also a straightforward and honest way of interpreting and presenting those materials. His approach was so devoid of pretense....I found it so refreshing and very relatable to the field of contemporary art.

What makes you want to keep on making sculpture / art?

There will always be feelings to express, and words are so inadequate when it comes to feelings.

What is your favorite tool?

Any tool with a history of use. The longer the history, the better.

Do you have a favorite quote, or words of wisdom?

Stay the course. It's an investment concept, but there are many ways to invest that aren't related purely to financial concerns. There will be twists and turns, but never forget where you want to go.

Tristate Sculptors Education Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

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