Stephen Felton was born in Buffalo, New York in 1975. To this day he lives and works in the city, while travelling the world to present his artistry to a global audience. He graduated from the acclaimed Massachusetts College of Art, before moving onto the San Francisco Art Institute.
On first glance it may seem that Stephen Felton’s art consists of basic and playful images that are simply coloured lines on vast white canvases. But his work is much more than that. It explores ideas of narrative, and the artist himself emphasizes the importance of personal documentary inspired by real life experiences. Thus, he produces artefacts as symbols of the particular moment in which he created them. His aim is not to simply repeat abstractions, but to develop a new language of painting that is raw and individual.
Felton's language of documentary art breaks down traditional barriers - accomplishing as much as possible with as little as possible. His approach can be unconventional at times. Occasionally he will allow the paint to drip off the back of a canvas and onto the floor in the exhibition space. He may even unfurl the ball of paper he threw in the bin and present it to us anyway.
One defining example of Felton’s experimentation with art would be the 2014 show he created, named ‘It’s a Whale’, at the Galerie Valentin in Paris. The series presents a summary of the great American novel ‘Moby Dick’, including outline drawings (reminiscent of Matisse’s cut-outs) of the whale itself, arrows, a dagger, a boat and waves. Felton, refering to the appeal of Moby Dick, said he realised that “somewhere along the way it’s the journey that matters, not so much the end result as you once thought as a younger man”. As the artist himself has explained in an interview by Timothée Chaillou in Dossier Magazine , “I tend not to think of my paintings in terms of symbols or forms, but in terms of actions only.”
By breaking the rules, Felton is able to experiment with his artistic process. Through not knowing the end result, the journey towards it becomes the most important aspect of his work.