One of art’s most valuable purposes, especially for the artist, is to provide a realm in which we can seek the impossible, or find the confidence to act out lives different from our present reality. Painting this portrait was a personal exploration of the conflict that exists between who I am, who I want to be and who I appear to be.
I do not admire nor inspire myself, but I wish I did. I am not famous—I am not someone to idolise. I do not bare myself to the world readily. I do not even have tattoos. But in art I’m not afraid to be that person—in art, I can pretend for real.
Oliver Shepherd (aka Oli Vincent) is a self-trained classical realist painter, predominately of portraits, still life and figure paintings. He also works in the fields of surrealism and abstract expressionism.
While Shepherd enjoyed art in high school, it was music that was central to his life from age four, when he took up the violin. He studied law and languages at the University of Adelaide, as well as jazz performance (saxophone) at the Elder Conservatorium. It was at university that Shepherd discovered painting, after seeing Peter Webber’s film Girl with a Pearl Earring. Watching this depiction of the classical painting process was all it took for his fascination with oil painting, particularly portraiture, to begin.
Shepherd was born and raised in the Adelaide Hills. He now lives and works in Canberra as a lawyer and artist. He occasionally exhibits and also accepts commissions.
Medium: Oil and gold leaf on birch panel
Size: 50 cm x 40 cm