Juliet Shen grew up in New York city and has lived in Seattle since 1983.
After a 35-year career in design, she 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. When inclement weather finally forced a retreat indoors to the studio, she began creating drawings combined with relief printing, based on her observations of the shifting Northwest landscape and her experiences as part of the Duwamish Residency. The studio work included collage, with pieces of repurposed prints or drawings often forming the starting point for a new work. The resulting works on paper often had a painterly surface.
In May, 2015 Juliet was granted a 4-week artist residency at Willapa Bay AiR. There she completed a suite of watercolor and mixed media paintings that formed the core of her first major solo exhibition in October, 2015, at Studio e gallery in Seattle. In 2015 she also received a support grant from workingartist.org. Juliet's work has been collected by the Tacoma Art Museum and the City of Seattle.
2016 and 2017 have been a time for further developing her color paintings. After completing sixty small-scale studies based on the Five Elements of Chinese cosmology (which she distributed to followers at Chinese New Year), she has been at work on more complex, larger pieces (see http://www.julietshen.com/rece...) that pay homage to the Chinese landscape tradition with a contemporary, experimental approach. Her work is always infused with a sense of place, recognizable or fantastical. A month spent in Greece in 2016 resulted in the Aegean Series, a departure from her Pacific Northwest color palette.
Juliet is also a typeface designer, with a masters degree in typeface design from the University of Reading, England. She taught typography at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle from 1999 to 2015. She has been a presenter at TypeCon and ATypI conferences in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. Her work includes an early-learning typeface for Oxford University Press; a font for Lushootseed, the endangered indigenous language of Puget Sound; and a multi script Latin/Arabic font in collaboration with Mamoun Sakkal. 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.
Publications on typographic topics, available for download at http://www.typeculture.com/academic_resource/articles_essays/ include:
- Aesthetic Innovation in Indigenous Typefaces: Designing a Lushootseed Font (originally in GLIMPSE journal, Issue 7)
- Of What Consequence, Design? [essay on the design of the Initial Teaching Alphabet ]
- Searching for Morris Fuller Benton (masters dissertation version)
Searching for Morris Fuller Benton. A letterpress printed limited edition book, hand typeset in Morris Fuller Benton's typeface, Cloister Oldstyle, is available from Sherwin Beach Press. It contains additional research not in the original masters dissertation, and an original woodcut print by Carl Montford. It is in the collection of the Library of Congress.