Today we’d like to introduce you to Doug Farmer.
Doug, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up Austin, always making art and creating stuff out of scrap wood in the garage. I had the chance to go the art route after high school, but I played it safe and went into Marketing at the University of Texas. I moved to San Francisco after college in 2008 to do PR, right as the economy was in meltdown mode. So, I went into carpentry (no kidding). My awesome roommate, a contractor, took pity on me and I went to work for him swinging hammers and painting houses. I taught myself to refinish furniture on the side and sold a few pieces of art, but the carpentry work dried up so back to Texas I came with no idea what to do.
I tried the starving artist lifestyle, but I just couldn’t make it happen. I actually dropped the dream for a few years, sorry to say, and went full-time into carpentry and woodworking. When I had my fill of carpentry in the Texas heat I took a retail job with a luxury auto-maker, all the while making or refinishing furniture on the side, but nothing exciting. A couple of years ago, just messing around in the garage with my router I made a big art piece using all of my woodworking skills and tools, painting it with bold acrylic colors. It actually took me by surprise. It was a “what the heck did I just make and where did it come from,” kind of moment. I had never seen anything like it, a fantastic, unique combination of woodworking and art, my lifelong passions. It hit me out of the blue, “oh yeah, I used to dream about doing this!” It was a rediscovery. I just had a feeling that if I brought this style out for people to see and put my Marketing degree to use, I could add some real beauty to the world.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
It’s taken me quite a bit of research just to pick out the art-world lingo to describe what I make. I work as a minimalist, abstract artist because I’ve always been intrigued by geometry and balance since I was a kid. I’m most inspired by bright colors and gradients in nature that I can bring into my home and I’m moved to create art as a self-challenge, to push beyond my usually timid personality.
My artwork begins with ink sketches, laying out shapes, balance and proportions while minding the woodworking and finishing techniques I’ll have to use. Sometimes the color palette is the last detail I settle on. I use non-traditional materials for my art like plywood and lumber because as an amateur furniture builder I’ve always loved doing carpentry. I think viewers are most interested in my technique, they’ve never seen these designs brought into high relief and are fascinated by the crisp lines and smooth finishes.
I want to call viewers to adventure with bright colors obscured by stark monotone framework. Hopefully my work makes them want to confront life and seize opportunities. Maybe there’s something beautiful hiding within the viewer that my work will make them want to cultivate, like a bold spirit in each of us.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I think generally the artists role has always been to reach out just beyond our collective understanding of how the world works and bring something to the surface that people need to see and talk about. Maybe it’s a connection we didn’t realize existed, maybe it’s something we’re doing individually that we had never considered, maybe it’s a canary in the coal mine when it comes to the direction our culture is heading. That way we can all move forward.
It’s incredibly easy to be pessimistic and nihilistic sometimes watching the news. That’s why I feel like my small purpose in my art is to shine a bit of optimism in the dark. I don’t think that’s overly utopian or naive if what I’m asking people to do is maybe focus on and grasp any opportunities and strengths they have, cobble together a life that works and moves you inch-by-inch closer to the world you want to see. At least you’re pointed in the right direction. Then you can reach out to your family, community and help others. Resilient people making resilient communities, that’s a huge bulwark against the tragedies thrown at all of us.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The best way to see my work and my shop right now is on Instagram under my handle @DougFarmerStudio. There people can tag along as I post works in progress, blog posts, and promote finished pieces.
Currently I’m working on my first major series I hope to shop around to Houston area galleries. It’ll be based on my original ‘Galaxies’ piece with concentric rings and blue to orange gradients. In the meantime, I’m building out my website at www.dougfarmerstudio.com and my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dougfarmerstudioart.
- Website: www.dougfarmerstudio.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @dougfarmerstudio
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Doug-Farmer-Studio-1839464592807317/