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Doug Gelhaye (1950-Present)


Doug grew up in Brooklyn Center, on the West bank of the Mississippi River just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  At about age 5, he asked his mom if he could paint a stick he had found.  When asked what he’d do with it after he painted it, he replied, "I’d just look at it.”  Sixty years later, Doug gets the same thrill altering things to make art.


Doug adored the TV episodes of the 1950s consisting of Superman, Flash Gordon, and Jet Jackson.  He is quite sure that his imagination is still under the influences of those Saturday morning shows.  In high school,  Doug recalls art class as his  dominate interest.  After graduating from high school, he was employed in various sales and customer service type jobs.  During those years, he took a two-year break to attend North Hennepin Community College to earn an Associate in Applied Science degree.  The emphasis was sales and marketing, but again, he enjoyed the art classes the most.  It wasn’t until later in life however, that he seriously began to pay more attention to his desires to create.


Doug finds pieces for his creations by searching garage and estate sales, flea markets, and antique shops.  He says “the smell of a thrift store intoxicates me.”   He is also grateful for his wife‚ and her wonderful organizational skills in managing all the things he drags home.


The majority of Doug’s sculptural work involves the reworking and assemblage of the glorious materials he finds.  Anything with an interesting shape, color and texture can be used.  If it’s rusty, and showing decades of wear, even better.  He also likes to combine collage, painting, and photography into his work.


Doug’s work might tell a story, or it may just be a random merging of elements that seem to look good together.  He enjoys the process of cobbling items together in ways they were not originally intended and, for the most part, the process is improvisation.  He may set out in the beginning with an idea in mind, but rarely does his finished work look like what he originally envisioned.  He encourages viewers to create their own interpretation of his works.