Biography for Luke Shepherd
Luke Shepherd’s bronze portrait sculpture exhibits a clearly recognisable style. He captures the unique strengths and subtle nuances of each sitter. He has skilfully moved beyond his formative years into a mature and sought after bronze portrait sculptor. With early success in both in the Royal Academy, London and the Academie des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Quietly gazing through a museum gallery, you may have spotted one of Luke Shepherd’s bronze portrait busts. His flare and ability to capture the famous is becoming well known. From a sculpture commission by Cardiff University of retiring president The Rt. Hon. The Lord Crickhowell, to a commission by the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, to produce a bronze bust of Derek Williams.
His range is as diverse as his political statesmen which include The Rt. Hon. The Late Viscount Tonypandy and Leo Abse, through to comedian Billy Connolly and tenor Stuart Burrows.
Luke Shepherd sees himself as a figurative sculptor — to capture the essence and to bring the clay alive his challenge. Luke Shepherd stands apart from other portrait sculptors as one of the very few fully conversant with the lost wax bronze casting process. This enables him to create highly charged and life—like busts, but also to be able to bronze cast them himself, with a craftsman’s touch.
In 1988 he was awarded a Master–class grant by the Welsh Arts Council to undertake a traditional bronze casting, engraving and gold plating residency, with Nepalese artist Ratna Jyoti Shakya. This led him to the foothills of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Little did he know, but this was to change the course of his life!
In 1990, Luke packed up his Cardiff studio, sold his house and together with his wife Satya, undertook a 5 year journey to Nepal, India, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.
This led the couple into the wilderness of the Australian outback for 3 months, to Himalayan glaciers and for 20 days of silent meditation retreat, to name but a few highlights! They had the good fortune to meet the Indian sage HWL Poonja, whose head was modelled by Luke and precariously carried overland to Nepal, to be cast in bronze.
Luke Shepherd is much in demand as both an artist and educator. Each year he runs portrait sculpture master-classes and leads Sculpture For Surgeons for plastic and maxillofacial surgeons.
He has exhibited portrait busts at the Royal Academy, London and the Academie des beaux-Arts, Paris.
He is also deeply committed to his other passion – Tai Chi which he has been practicing for 34 years. He runs the Open Palm School based in Exeter. This contributes to his inter-personal skills as a teacher, facilitator and artist.
Luke lives with his wife Satya in the Dartmoor National Park in South Devon. He reconstructed his sculpture studio from a derelict stone building, where he undertakes portrait commissions and runs portrait modelling courses. He welcomes visitors for studio visits and if you time it right you may get offered Devon tea and scones!