From Broadway to Board-Walk Circus
Thinking about throwing away that piece of wood? Don’t. Please donate it to Wisconsin-born, Texas-based artist Doug Forrest. Big man, big art. His whimsical, retro art captures your eye, and brings your heart and mind back to a more simple time. Using reclaimed wood as his medium, Doug’s art demands a pure reaction on an exaggerated scale. Board-Walk Circus is currently showing at Koelsch Gallery, so step right up and let the greatest show in art begin.
This show was influenced by everything in my life, but mainly during the time I spent backstage on Broadway. As an actor and someone who saw the behind the scenes work, I was able to see the little snags on the costumes and the mending that takes place to ensure the show goes on. The small imperfections that the audience does not see in the spotlight, but we know they are there. My art has tiny flaws, small pieces that have been mended, but under the spotlight it becomes something bigger.
Where did the circus theme originate?
The circus theme is an ode to great American traditions. True Americana, and honestly the circus theme has been in my mind for awhile. It takes us back to a time where we can remember going to the circus, and seeing all of the different aspects of the show. It’s a true classic. The piece This High to Ride hopefully resonates with everyone. It takes us back to when we were young and we used to run up to the sign that would tell us if we were tall enough to ride – and I bet you can remember the first time you were tall enough to ride it. I want my art to take you back to that place, to evoke that emotion and help you remember times like that; it’s the story in your mind.
Why reclaimed wood?
I like working with wood because it’s taking something old and repurposing it, making it new again. Sort of like bringing back the glory, or the beauty of that time. The wood has flaws and blemishes. And going back to my Broadway backstage analogy, all of the flaws in the wood, all of the imperfections, they disappear in the spotlight, just like they would on stage.
Where do you get the wood?
I get it from everywhere, anywhere. If I see a fence that looks like it is going to fall down, or wood that is not being used, you can bet I will be leaving my card behind.
Who should own your art?
Everyone! I want my art to be accessible to everyone. A savvy, smart art audience, people with a sense of humor.
Your art is priced very reasonably. Is that on purpose?
Yes, I would like my art to span enthusiasts. My art is priced to where hopefully a young collector can purchase a piece as well as someone who has been collecting for years. It is important to me that everyone can enjoy art, and that art is not pretentious, but accessible to all.
Set the mood for what people would feel when they walked into the gallery and view your pieces for the first time. What would that feel like?
The show is fun, whimsical and the pieces as mentioned before are exaggerated, they are larger-than-life. I want people to come enjoy the art and walk away with the sense of “wow, that’s big art.” Art can be interpreted so many different way; I want people to view the art and benefit from where their mind goes.
Board-Walk Circus is on view through July 14 at the Koelsch Gallery. Doug Forrest welcomes you into his magical world of circus fun. Free the circus from your mind, and walk with us through a more simple time. www.dougforreststudio.com
Interview by Rosie A. Murphy | Photography by Sofia van der Dys