Born in Wyoming, Shaman lived in several parts of the state in his early years and briefly in Seattle, Washington where his parents worked in the aircraft industry as part of the war effort. He graduated high school from University Prep in Laramie, Wyoming. Shaman excelled in basketball and won a three-sport scholarship to North Dakota State Normal and Industrial School in Ellendale, North Dakota. After attending college for several years, he enlisted in the United States Navy and became a dental technician, a vocation that would presage his later artistic career. Returning to Wyoming in 1960, Shaman studied sculpture as an undergraduate at the University of Wyoming where he trained under Robert Russin, one of Wyoming's most well-known artists. He earned a Bachelor's degree in art and went on to take a Master's degree in 1969, writing a thesis on the chemical patination of bronze. Shaman left Laramie and moved to Cleveland, Mississippi to teach art at Delta State University in 1970. He was hired to establish the sculpture division of the art department and he successfully implemented a bronze casting foundry as part of that project. Due to the difficulty of obtaining stone in Mississippi, Shaman began working in the more readily available medium of wood. A residency at Yaddo in 1976 resulted in one of his first major pieces, the Janus Road Show, a collection of three figures representing jazz musicians Shaman saw in New Orleans. He left academia after ten years at Delta State in order to devote himself full-time to sculpture. Shaman found success as an independent artist, regularly exhibiting work in galleries throughout the United States. One of his most beneficial gallery relationships was with the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, New York, which hosted an invitational charity art show to benefit a local animal rescue group. Shaman's own home and studio served as a local attraction, and starting in the mid-1990s his wife, Molly, ran a popular bed and breakfast that used his work as an appealing highlight of the inn. One of the South's most important figurative artists in the last part of the 20th century, his works are included in major collections across the United States and internationally.