Interview with Artist Ken “Tsunami” Shep

Born Kenneth Wells Jr., He Went from Being a Designer to an Overall Artist

Artist Ken “Tsunami” Shep; born Kenneth Wells Jr., transitioned from being a unisex designer into an overall artist.

He began with the his clothing brand known as Underground Market; inspired by his British & Cuban roots. Backed by sponsorships and collaborations with Dr. Martin he ascended into the fashion community quickly. Unfortunately, retail with no solid financial backing can be a short lived venture. He then turned his sights to his other talents after a life changing car accident and began to create and design accessories that would go on to be featured in films, music videos, magazine publications and having the pleasure of working with some of todays top influencers and celebrities.

A few of his is publication credits: Covers: Elegant Magazine, Shuba Magazine, Northside Magazine, The BLVDS, & Elements
Features: Vogue Italia, Inked Magazine, Tinsel Tokyo, Fuse Magazine, Maxim, Ferocé, SALYSÉ, Style Cruze Magazine, and Vogue

 
Artist Ken “Tsunami” Shep

Q: Where are you from and how does that translate in your work?

Growing up I never felt I had a place to call home. My nationality is Cuban, German, British and American. I’ve lived everywhere but not really being grounded anywhere that I would consider a home base… Being introduced to art through my father and grand father is where it all began. My father is an architect/engineer, and my grandfather was a carpenter. I learned everything from art history, drawing, painting and welding; to building entire houses and gas powered model airplanes. Being introduced to so many different mediums along with good music molded me into the artist I am today.

Q: Top 3 biggest artistic influences?

God is the greatest artist of all time lol. I don’t draw inspiration from other artists however I do have a few faves. I love the works of Dave LaChapelle, Jeff Koontz… his embalmment pieces and paintings, and Katsushika Hokusai.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

I am heavy into metaphysics, Universal laws, and our existence within the infinite universe. Lucid dreams, the human form, love, Mother Nature, death, sex, technology, the sound and pace of the inner city, the quietness of the country side, architecture. Everything. I often visit Wynwood in Miami to feel connected to the arts community, but majority of my visions come through lucid dreams and meditation.

Q: What motivates you to create?

A lot of my creations come from what I recall during lucid dreaming. Figures that come to me. I recreate what I see them wearing. Or often times pose models in ways I’ve seen them appear and transform before me.

Q: When is your favorite time of the day to create?

In the middle of the night, between the hours of 1 and 5am. There’s no distractions from texts or calls. No responding to dm’s or emails. Just me and whatever medium I’m engaged with. Editing images, welding or 3d printing masks, or meticulously placing individual feathers for the gold wings.

Q: How does creating help you in other areas of your life?

For me, and I’m quite sure almost every artist; it’s our escape. It’s where we can vent our emotions and choose to be raw and unhinged, or show a time where we may be experiencing love and joy. I most definitely vent emotionally through my work. It’s where I can let it all out. The good, the bad, sexual taboos and thoughts, questions of life, the universe and our existence.

Q: How are you navigating the professional art industry?

I’ve been blessed and attribute a lot of my success to the Law of Attraction. My first major placements were with music artists. One of my masks was selected for Dawn Richards Redemption Album cover art. Thanks to stylist Joey Tao. Then came mask placements for Rick Ross’ “She Like me” music video. Shortly after Big Boi of Outkast and Killer Mike’s “Kill Jill” music video. That’s when the doors opened to working and shooting with reality tv stars & celebrities. Most recently my wings were featured in Future’s “Love you Better” music video. Along with selections of my new mask designs by the film company Disguise Systems. The film company featured in Disney’s Mandalorian. Not to mention a new accessory collaboration with designer Oscar Utierre. His designs have been featured in Vogue. He’s notably designed for Lil Nas X, Cardi B, and a long list of other celebrities.

I’ve had the pleasure of shooting for and working with major and minor brands. To be able to cross over into the fashion and art community is an absolute blessing. I only look to grow further and create even greater collaborations. ALO and Adidas being two brands that I’d like to grow further with… fingers crossed.

Q: How has your artistic expression changed over time.

I’d say it’s become more polished, while maintaining the underlined aesthetics of wanting people to see there’s something spiritual attached to my work.

Q: Whats your ultimate goal with your artwork?

I want my works on the walls of of luxury estates. My masks to make their journey through films, music videos, theater and any other visual medium of expression. I believe a lot of well known artists have an inner rock star. Like them I want the world to know my name, my works and experience hanging and partying with the cool kids.

Q: What’s one word that describes your art work?

Ethereal.

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With love,

FWO