Photographer J.B. Shepard Discusses Paper Hats; Whimsical Portraits of the As soon as Discarded

Pet photographer J.B. Shepard has many canine lovers questioning what hidden treasures could also be ready to be found on the backside of their recycling bins.

Shepard’s surreal picture collection, “Paper Hats; Whimsical Portraits of the As soon as Discarded” shines a enjoyable new gentle on the fun of adopting a furry good friend from a shelter. That includes a large ranging solid of canine characters, Paper Hats clothes these lovely creatures in elaborate costumes crafted from some very surprising supplies.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

The gathering of Baroque impressed ruff collars, colourful high hats, geometrically patterned stetsons, and steam punk model goggles featured in Paper Hats have been all constructed from trash — recycled put up client paper merchandise, to be actual.

iHeartDogs sat down with J.B. Shepard to debate his critically acclaimed canine portrait collection and be taught extra about what he has deliberate for Paper Hats.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Let’s discuss huge image – what’s the purpose of Paper Hats?

Like most portrait artists, the first function of my images is to get viewers to see our topics from a distinct angle — to indicate that every one anybody must shine is a second probability.

With Paper Hats we’re encouraging of us to have a look at rescue canine otherwise and if they’ve the means, assist us increase funds wanted to get spring some nice canine from shelters and into loving without end properties.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

What rescue are you working with?

Print gross sales from Paper Hats profit a implausible 501c3 nonprofit all volunteer operated canine rescue and foster group referred to as Bella’s Bully Buddies. They’re a comparatively small group, however they do completely superb work. I’m consistently floored by the dedication of their volunteers and what Bella’s fosters are capable of accomplish. I’ve watched them tackle some actually exhausting circumstances, canine that many different rescues would possibly hand over on as misplaced causes, and rework them into fabulous companions.

We raised simply shy of $5,000 for Bella’s canine from artwork gross sales throughout our first run of Paper Hats. Now that the collection is in its second 12 months, we’re hoping we will make a fair higher influence and provides much more canine an opportunity to search out their without end properties.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

How can iHeartDogs followers assist?

Proceeds from Paper Hat artwork gross sales profit Bella’s Bully Buddies. Paper Hat prints might be bought on-line at

Readers may donate on to Bella’s Bully Buddies from their Fb Web page. From what I perceive Fb doesn’t cost any transaction charges for donations made by way of their web page. As a registered 501c3 non revenue, I imagine direct donations are tax deductible – however you would possibly need to verify along with your accountant to make certain.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Inform us concerning the collection. Why are you making hats our of trash? And what do these costumes must do with rescue canine?

While you boil it down, how we method costume making is basically not all that totally different from what rescues throughout the nation are doing day by day everywhere in the world. We’re simply working in a parallax medium.

A canine might arrive at a shelter undesirable, however the opinions of the unique proprietor don’t diminish the worth of the canine or its capability to carry pleasure to a different household.

After we design new hats we’re not making the newspaper or cardboard extra invaluable. The potential was at all times there. All we’re doing is making it simpler for people to acknowledge that these supplies and canine nonetheless have the capability to make of us pleased – if they’ve an opportunity.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

A few of these items are fairly sophisticated. Do they take numerous time to make?

Relying on what we’re making a few of these items can take awhile to place collectively. Sometimes we’re wherever from three to 5 days to finish a hat. Lots of our papier-mâché designs are assembled utilizing a 5 step course of, requiring us to interrupt for drying a number of occasions throughout development. Simply harvesting supplies can take little bit of time, because the paper must be clipped and sorted by colour and form.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Wouldn’t or not it’s simpler to only purchase costumes?

It positively could be simpler to purchase costumes. And, if we have been within the enterprise of promoting the costumes, that would definitely be a extra pragmatic method. However to get folks to have a look at issues otherwise requires effort – each on our half and that of the viewer. If we’re asking folks to vary their perspective we now have to be keen to at the very least meet them half means.

There may be extra to artwork than self expression. If we need to convey new ideas and concepts we now have a accountability to make that new perspective as accessible as attainable. And on the finish of the day, I’m pleased to do issues the exhausting means for the straightforward undeniable fact that the worth of the narrative is larger than my time.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

How did you give you the concept for Paper Hats?

It’s sort of humorous, after we began this challenge we didn’t begin with paper. We solely arrived right here by way of classes we realized whereas engaged on one other challenge.

We initially got down to {photograph} pit bull fosters wearing elaborate Baroque and Elizabethan impressed costumes. We thought it might be attention-grabbing to juxtapose what some would possibly understand as a rough-and-tumble breed with the luxurious materials and complicated designs that the interval was identified for.

Granted that’s not an particularly unusual narrative method, however it may be very efficient and is an method that many pet photographers have leveraged in some very impactful methods. Sophie Gamand’s collection “Flower Energy, Pit Bulls of the Revolution” is a superb instance of this story telling method leveraged in an excellent means. Flower Energy got here out throughout a time when breed particular laws was nonetheless an enormous drawback in lots of states, and I believe this collection went alongside means in the direction of altering perceptions about blocky headed breeds and in flip, saved the lives of numerous harmless canine.

As some Maryland counties nonetheless has some fairly damaging and discriminatory breed particular laws on the books, we have been hoping our costume collection would possibly assist carry some extra consideration to the difficulty and sway the minds of voters who would possibly nonetheless be on the fence about America’s canine.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

The unique idea sounds prefer it may have been enjoyable. Why did you pivot to Paper Hats?

The shift in theme wasn’t one thing we had deliberate. We had already completed a number of very nice staffy sized doublets and robes after we began prototyping the primary ruff collar. Should you’ve by no means tried to make a correct ruff you could not have guessed it, however stitching a correct ruff collar is sort of the duty. The folds and cuts require a reasonably refined degree of precision. Which might be problematic contemplating the expense and fragile nature of the supplies. So, we wished to verify we had the design 100% down earlier than we began working with the ultimate supplies.

However after we noticed the primary prototype come collectively in newspaper, we knew we have been on to one thing particular. It instantly simply felt proper.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

Wait – so that you simply scrapped all the costumes you had already made?

It wasn’t a choice we got here to flippantly. We had already invested amount of cash in supplies and time within the unique items. However we realized whereas the flamboyant materials have been enjoyable and attention-grabbing, they weren’t very canine.

However to take one thing that another person has thrown away and switch it into one thing higher, one thing valuable, one thing that’s cherished — even when only for a fleeting second — that’s the epitome of canine.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

That’s a ravishing sentiment for a canine!

Nicely, it’s not such as you see canine scribbling down manifestos or musing on philosophy. However should you watch how a canine interacts with the world round them, particularly in what they take pleasure in or at the very least are motivated by, it might lend a deeper understanding of their perspective.

My Boggle (Boxer/Beagle combine) George is continually reminding me of this. I purchase George new toys and chews pretty recurrently and numerous these should not low-cost. Like most canine house owners, I’m pleased to spend a bit of cash simply to ensure that he stays stimulated, wholesome and secure.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

However are you aware what his favourite factor on the earth is? Little bits of string.

George will pull the threads off of the tug ropes we purchase him (or digicam bag straps, if I’m not paying consideration) and simply carry slobbery bits of string round dangling from his mouth. To you and me these threads should not a toy – they’re simply trash. However George doesn’t care what you and I take into consideration the string, he attributes worth to the string as a result of he enjoys it.

Watching George over the previous few years, I’ve developed a sure appreciation for his Absurdist outlook on life. And, once you begin to see issues from a canine’s perspective, the way in which we should always method the collection turns into sort of apparent.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

And, you suppose George would approve of Paper Hats?

I can’t assist however really feel like if George was able to making these costumes, that he wouldn’t use new or costly supplies. As an alternative, I believe he’d use scavenged supplies, issues he discovered and loved.

Which is the principle cause why we by no means dye or paint the hats. If George selected to work with an merchandise as a result of it’s one thing that sparks pleasure, why would he cowl it up? It’s not sufficient to make one thing new and enjoyable from these upcycled supplies. We wish viewers to acknowledge the transformation taking place proper in entrance of them and make it a bit of simpler for folks to appreciate that every one any of us must shine is a second probability.

Courtesy J.B. Shepard, The Puptrait Studio

 J.B. Shepard is a self-taught artist and founding father of the Puptrait Studio. The Puptrait Studio is obtainable for personal canine portrait commissions and business pet images assignments. Studio hours are by appointment solely.

 The second installment within the Paper Hats collection can be launched on March 22, 2019. For occasion particulars please checkout the occasions web page on the Puptrait Studio’s web site.

 Prints can be found for buy on-line at Proceeds from Paper Hat print gross sales profit Bella’s Bully Buddies.

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