Featured Local Artist - October 2010

Jeff Felker   b. 1980   Raised in a world of latchkeys, comic books, and urban exploration, Sacramento-based artist Jeff Felker weaves those early inspirations into the visual narratives he creates today. Exploring themes reformulated…

Jeff Felker


b. 1980
Jeff Felker


Raised in a world of latchkeys, comic books, and urban exploration, Sacramento-based artist Jeff Felker weaves those early inspirations into the visual narratives he creates today.

Exploring themes reformulated from life and his formal background in literature, he creates narrative paintings that blend reality and dreamscape–the human figures within are located in conflicted worlds of emotional isolation. Using oil to juxtapose bright and muted color schemes, Jeff executes his paintings on canvas and board.


The Poetics of Music at Sea
October 4th -November 4th, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 14, 6pm-8pm
CSUS Union Gallery, 6000 J Street, Sacramento

For his first solo show at the Union Gallery, Jeff has created a series of new, original, paintings in oil on canvas and board. Reflecting his strong passion for literature, painting, and music, these works tie the three art forms together to create a string of individual narratives. When viewed together, these paintings attempt to confront an often repressive environment.

Volume Violin Irresistable Sea Boat House

Inspired by the romanticized interpretations of music and water that emerge as major themes and influences in Walt Whitman’s poetry in Leaves of Grass, Jeff uses quotes from Whitman’s poetry as a central catalyst for his narratives. Each piece is titled with a quotation that speaks to/gestures toward a desire for a sense of harmony, balance or quest within a dystopian landscape. The music and instruments within the paintings communicate each figure’s relationship for that desire and become their apparatus for survival in an otherwise emotionally complex and overwhelming world. In a reversal of the typical oppressive dry wasteland, the paintings position water as negating life and as challenging the figures in a frenzy for self-control and self-identity. These conflicts are purposely left unresolved as part of a continuous and ever-present struggle for life.


A Little Background…

“I’m primarily a self-thought painter.”

As an artist, his influences might be considered “unorthodox”. Jeff has an MA in English Literature and feels that his literary background left a bigger impression on him artistically than his art education. He initially studied ceramics and sculpture, but soon found that 19th-century writers such as Poe and the Brontë sisters and The Lost Generation writers like T.S. Eliot inspired his art even greater.

Lady Hawk CurseHyacinth Girl“The way I look, think and examine art, comes from that and what I learned through those professors ideas and perceptions of literature.

Literature is an extremely visual landscape, so to me, it makes perfect sense that I could translate all of it to my painting.”

 This is reflected even in the process of his painting…he approaches it similar to how one would an essay or thesis composition- sometimes researching even years in advance before putting a brush to canvas. Thorough consideration is put into where the concepts of his pieces fit into a greater context both historically and at present. Some find that his work comes off as a touch dark, but his tendency to paint in bright color persuades people to find something positive in it.
Historical time periods are also prevalent in his work. Victorianism, Romanticism, industrialism, Art Nouveau, and the depression era are often depicted in the style of clothing, hair, and backgrounds. Other times they might be central to the actual theme or mood of the entire painting.

Ravens and Anabel Lee   Leaves Shirtsleeves   Forest Book Path

Some of his favorite artists are John Singer Sargent, Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Vermeer, and Marcel Duchamp. Chinese and Japanese ink work was also a huge influence on his early painting but he has since moved away from it. Some of the more contemporary artists he enjoys are James Jean, Audrey Kawasaki, and Esao Andrews.

Looking to the Future…
Currently, Jeff is working on putting together a group show and co- curating it with LA artist Glenn Arthur, concerning the appropriation of fairy tales to film for mass-market appeal. The artwork for the show will seek to illustrate the darker realities untold by the film adaptation. Many of these cut scenes being actually vital to the moral or central essence of the original tales. The show will feature works from some amazingly talented immerging artists from across the country that also have a narrative quality to their art.
Jeff adjuncts part time at American River College in the English Department and has just begun advising a student mixed arts club (fine art, dance, music, fashion, philosophy) on campus. For the last three years, he’s been a volunteer elementary school art docent, working with kids and seeing them express themselves through art which he has found to be a very rewarding experience.