In the Summer 2017 issue of Art Papers Magazine, painter and critic Paul Ryan wrote:
Recent tragic events and individuals on both sides concerning racial profiling and police brutality—such as Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, the Ferguson riot, Eric Garner—are common subjects for Shepherd…[He] works from a conscious position of neutrality and places his emphasis on humanizing the individuals he renders, regardless of whether the press-public dynamic has villainized or idealized the subject. His quiet, unassuming paintings and drawings—humble interventions in the public dialogue that remind us of our universal humanity—have the effect of slowing things down. Although Shepherd tacitly recognizes that in some situations lawful and/or moral violations have occurred, he removes any identifying text and elements of visual context from each portrait, making matter-of-fact note of them in the works’ titles instead. Considering the consequences of claims of innocence and guilt, and various lingering effects of such verdicts, Shepherd’s…portraits emphasize the gray and complex areas of media and public presentation/representation, dialogue, and interpretation.