A painter and sculptor, Rudy Shepherd creates works that reflects on human behavior and the nature of evil. Best known for his cartoon-like portraits, which are often created in series, Shepherd uses the art historical tradition of portraiture to reconsider the way we evaluate people and perceive events. Meditating on the notion of evil through series like “Heroes and Villains,” which includes paintings of criminals, victims, and Shepherd's family members and friends, depicted with no distinction drawn between them, Shepherd explores what he conceives of as the transmission of negative energy, and reflects on the choices that people make and the way they impact the greater community. Working across multiple mediums, Shepherd often creates series of sculptural works that complement his paintings and expand upon the concepts that they explore.
Shepherd has been included in group exhibitions at notable institutions including MoMA PS1, The Studio Museum of Harlem, the Bronx Museum of Art, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.