Donald Fels



Fels began making collages as a child with painter Adelaide Fogg in Los Angeles. Fogg, who was educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, lived for several years in LA, where she opened a studio for kids in the detached garage behind her bungalow in Santa Monica. Fels’s mother Dorothy enrolled him there after school and he gleefully went off ‘to Adelaide’s’ a couple times a week. Adelaide’s teaching method consisted of putting a selection of found materials on tables and demonstrating how they might be combined using all manner of painting and sculptural media. Fels loved going there - it was messy, completely open-ended, the place smelled like turpentine and clay - just being around her was wonderful fun. There is absolutely no doubt that the afternoons spent in Fogg’s presence had a huge impact on the artist he was to become. When he entered middle school, Ms. Fogg gave the young Fels his first paying job, as her studio assistant helping younger students.

Fels has made collages ever since, usually small scale on paper - by combining found papers, prepared papers (i.e. with drawn pencil or ink elements), with imagery salvaged from posters, with images scanned and printed. As a painter, sculptor, writer, even as a thinker, Fels proceeds in a layered fashion. It isn’t clear whether his mind has always functioned that way, whether the layered approach is the result of the years spent with Adelaide, or maybe both.