photo by Jerry Davis

After a 35-year career in design, Juliet Shen resumed drawing and painting, her original passion. Starting in the summer of 2012, she began making drawings en plein air, in Seattle’s industrial Duwamish waterway and in the Union Bay Natural Area, a reclaimed wetlands on top of an old waste dump. Although she managed to draw outdoors in all four seasons, the Seattle winter weather finally forced a retreat indoors to the studio. There she has been creating drawings combined with relief printing, based on her observations of the shifting Northwest landscape and her experiences as part of the Duwamish Residency.

Juliet is also a typeface designer and a typography instructor at the School of Visual Concepts. She has a masters degree in typeface design from the University of Reading, England. She has been a presenter at TypeCon and ATypI conferences in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. Her undergraduate work was completed at Sarah Lawrence College and The Cooper Union School of Art, both in New York. She ran an independent graphic design firm in Seattle from 1989–2012. Since retiring from the business she only undertakes projects of particular typographic interest.


Juliet grew up in New York city and has lived in Seattle since 1983. She practices Wu style taichi.


Her publications on typographic topics include:

Searching for Morris Fuller Benton (letterpress edition) Sherwin Beach Press, 2012.
Resurrection of a Reliance Press (download pdf 960 kb)

Available at http://www.typeculture.com/academic_resource/articles_essays/:
Searching for Morris Fuller Benton (masters dissertation)
Aesthetic Innovation in Indigenous Typefaces: Designing a Lushootseed Font (originally in GLIMPSE journal, Issue 7)
Of What Consequence, Design? [The Initial Teaching Alphabet]

Artist's Statement 2013

My main source of inspiration and renewal, in life as well as art, has always been landscape spaces. Training as a typeface designer has heightened my awareness of how we perceive space through our recognition of contrast and texture, of how the edges between things define our physical world. I am not at all interested in achieving the verisimilitude of a photo. What interests me in landscapes is the complexity of the space, the constant transformations taking place. I am inspired by the union of opposites: waste and creation; earth and water;  decay and renewal; and the abstract gesture of the brushstroke evoking the literal sensory experience. 


Artist's Statement 2014

I spend a lot of time looking at things that are too complex to capture, except on film. Yet, photographs tend to lack exactly what it is that interests me in a scene, and that is the mutability of materials and the selectivity of the human eye and heart regarding what we allow to move us emotionally. So I work to create images that will show what I saw and felt, rather than record what I was looking at. My goal is that the viewer should be moved, as I was moved.