While fairly common, depression is not a subject of casual conversation. Still, whether diagnosed or simply experienced, many of us have had exposure. Medication might dull dark thoughts, but artist Beau Ferderer chooses to dive head-on into his emotions, painting narratives of an apocalyptic nature.
“When I’m at my lowest, I usually paint,” he said. “I’m not a 2012, end-of-the-world fanatic, though it is impossible to believe that the world will last forever. This is more of a mental apocalypse.”
His current body of work certainly does seem to represent the “2012, end of the Mayan calendar, and therefore the world,” mentality. Dark landscapes painted on wood in acrylic paint contain figures, architecture in different stages of ruin, hillsides, trees and the occasional bodies of water from which figures seem to emerge. Recently, he sold a large piece called “Drifter” that shows an empty wood boat, its texture created by the exposed wood on which it’s painted, being circled by sharks in an ominous sea. In “Deep Sleep,” dreamers find themselves in another world, as they also do in “Wanderers.” In “Flee the City,” a silhouetted figure wearing a backpack seems to be heading for the trees in an attempt to escape a fractured world.
Ferderer, 23, is familiar with backpacks; at 18, he backpacked around Costa Rica, and he frequently hits the road to explore the Olympic Rainforest and untouched places in Oregon and northern Washington. His paintings reflect the beauty of untouched areas mixed with shells of buildings.
“I like the run-down feel of man-made abandoned structures. It’s sort of a part of human nature to abandon,” he said. In many of his pieces, the structures seem to grow in the otherworldly landscapes.
Ferderer grew up in Spokane. He was homeschooled for a while, attended a private school and graduated from Mt. Spokane High School.
In his sophomore year, he began painting nightscapes. An avid nighttime walker, his first painting was a thoughtful depiction of a young man sitting on a hillside. Trees and a valley separate him from another hillside that is peppered with the twinkling lights of civilization. The stars above also twinkle. It seems the young man is considering his options.
In his last year as an art student at Eastern Washington University, Ferderer too is considering his options. He may apply to graduate school or he may hit the road to Alaska. “I might go there and work for a while,” he said. “I’ll bring my sketchbook and refresh my ideas.”