Born in New York City in 1930, Gordon Shepard was raised in an artistic family. He performed and made visual art his entire life. Shepard’s father, Otis Shepard, was a well-known commercial artist and art director of the Wrigley Company for thirty years. Shepard worked at Creativity Explored’s second studio from 2000 until his death in December 2011.
Shepard created exclusively representational drawings and paintings, using acutely accurate perspective and shading, and saturated colors. From acrobats to clowns to striped tents, the common theme running through all of his artwork is the circus. Shepard was once a clown in Big John Strong & Sons circus and he loved to reminisce about his days as a performer. When he wasn't talking about clowns, Shepard visually explored the theme in all manner of media. In 2002, he created a sculptural rendition of a circus sideshow, meticulously executed on 1/12 scale, taking him over a year to complete.
Shepard was the subject of a documentary film appropriately titled Clown (2007).