Douglas Felde (°1961, Northern Minnesota, United States) creates paintings and mixed media artworks. His works are an investigation into representations, depictions, and ideas that call out the emotions that linger on the edge of our subconscious. The emphasizing of aesthetics combined with the omission and addition of elements are key artistic methods Felde deploys to create a visual seductiveness that lures the viewer to a proposed duality of emotion. His artwork, whether austere with dark and turbulent undertones or bright and reminiscently hopeful, illustrate the conflicting emotions of the human condition, and from this a disconcerting beauty of simplicity emerges.
Early artistic influences ranged from preschool years observing his mother work with oil and acrylic paints to fourth grade where he attended an experimental school for the gifted (the Athena program). The Athena program promoted the arts to students at a much earlier age and with much more intensity than typical for the era. Modern dance, creative writing, and visual arts were an integral part of the daily curriculum. One of the elective courses that Felde participated in was photography and darkroom. He didn’t know it at the time but this early window to the art world would play a significant role later on.
While attending college at the University of Minnesota, at age 19 and bartending at various Minneapolis clubs, Felde immersed himself in the edgy and artistic world of the progressive music scene taking place in the early 80’s. It was during this time that a close friend gave him a 35mm camera as a gift. This lead to occasional photo sessions for friends which gradually evolved into a commercial photography business that Felde moved to Chicago in 1985.
“I had no idea that I was going to be an artist and wasn’t aware that I had become one until I was in my late 20’s/early 30’s. It was a gradual realization.”
By the mid to late 1990’s, Felde had become much more entranced with the artistic aspect of photography and was tiring of the repetitive and mundane subject matter that his corporate clients required. “A key turning point for me was when I created an album cover and other promotional pieces for blues great Eddy Clearwater – I was hooked on the creative process.” It was also during this time that most photography studios were in transition to digital equipment. He chose to forego the expensive transition to digital for his studio and give full attention to creating fine art. His chosen media at this time was a digital fusion of traditional film photography and media that included acrylics, ink, metal, glass. Beginning in 1999, Felde spent the next 4 years on the road creating and selling his artwork across the country at over 150 national juried art shows. His work quickly gained attention, awards, and was represented in many metropolitan galleries.
In late 2002, Felde returned to Chicago where in 2005 he and 3 partners renovated an old farm house in the Chicago suburb of Marengo into an art gallery and pottery studio. It was during this period that he began to use acrylic painting and acrylic mixed media as his primary forms of art. He continued to create and sell his work from the gallery until 2009.
In 2010, with the momentum of wanderlust and adventure again peaking, Felde moved to Los Angeles where he has participated in numerous art shows in the LA arts district. While he has spent most of his adult life in major metropolitan cities (Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles), Douglas has been occasionally drawn back to the solitude of country living. This includes a year living on a houseboat on the Illinois river and several years raising wolves and horses on a farm in central Illinois. “I’ve always had a strong wanderlust component in my life – always searching for fresh horizons. It’s been a quest for love, enjoyment, knowledge, and answers to internal battles”. Douglas Felde currently creates art from his studio in Los Angeles.