Esso Coffeehouse and Phoenix-based artist Daniel Shepherd, also known as Too Fang Skinny, are partnering to bring a collage experience to Phoenix throughout the month of April. 

Everybody Loves the Sunshine” shows Shepherd’s love of negative space in his art pieces. The piece will be displayed in his collage experience at Esso Coffeehouse. (Courtesy of Daniel Shepherd)

The art exhibition will feature several of Shepherd’s collages, both old and new. His inspiration for most of his collages can be boiled down to one word: shapes.

“To me, it's just like looking at lines and enjoying lines and the grace and the beauty of something,” Shepherd said. “And I strongly think that you can have grace and beauty in ridiculous things too, so I tend to amuse myself quite a bit when I do a collage.”

Shepherd originally began making collages to amuse himself and ended up enjoying the experience. He often uses clippings from old magazines from the mid-’60s through the ’70s for his collages. All his collage pieces are made by hand because pasting the clippings together is the fun part, he said. 

“I do mix the black and white pictures with the brighter, more colorful things, but I have a tendency to like the negative space of things. My work has a lot of breathing room I would think,” he said.

Shepherd also paints minimal abstractions that can be found at Royse Contemporary during solo showings and online. All the collages on display at Esso Coffeehouse will be available for sale. Shepherd doesn’t have a favorite art piece for the showing because his favorite changes as he goes through his collection of pieces.

“It's fun to dig through your old work, and run across things that you'd forgotten about, or things that had been in a show [that] you still had, that got stuck between a whole bunch of stuff and you're moving things,” Shepherd said.

Esso Coffeehouse is the perfect place to display his collage experience because Shepherd enjoys the atmosphere and seeing customers take time to look at his art.

“I've set up in coffee shops a lot of times for many years and they all hang art, but a lot of people aren't looking,” he said. “I saw that people were looking at it (at Esso Coffeehouse). I thought, ‘that's cool that they're doing that.’ I mean, it was to the point where it was obvious that they were spending time looking at it. In other places, maybe not so much.”

Currently, Shepherd also displays a new collage every week at Esso Coffeehouse that is available for sale. The weekly art piece has been successful for Shepherd, especially during the pandemic.

Last March, Shepherd had an art exhibition canceled due to pandemic lockdowns. Despite this, he has had a successful year with selling his art pieces.

“People, I believe, are staying home more and they're buying art to enhance their atmosphere,” he said. “I was really surprised. I had a nice year last year.”

“The Gathering” showcases Shepherd’s unique blend of black and white clippings with colored images. The piece will be displayed in his collage experience at Esso Coffeehouse. (Courtesy of Daniel Shepherd)

One thing that Shepherd wants people to take away from the collage experience is enjoying whatever they see in his art pieces. 

“It’s really the fun part about looking at art with people, especially if you're the artist standing and having somebody talk about what they think about (the piece),” he said. “It could be not even close to what it is to you.”

The different perceptions of his art pieces affords freedom to the artwork, Shepherd said. He enjoys seeing the different interpretations of his art.

“That's the thing I want people to know. Celebrate your differences,” he said.

Esso Coffeehouse is located at 4700 N 12th Street Suite 107 Phoenix, AZ 85014. 

Open Monday - Saturday from 7am to 6pm and Sunday from 7am to 4pm.

Photo courtesy of The Dinah

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