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Courtesy of Andrew Barton
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Courtesy of Andrew Barton
Bird of His Own Feather
By Sabrina Crider
Aesop wrote in The Jay and the Peacock that “It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the bird works of St. Louis artist Jeff Kapfer. Jeff brings a lifetime of experiences into his bright, nature-inspired works, drawing on a childhood filled with feathered friends, pet chickens, a self-taught taxidermist father, and even bird hunting, which he began at the tender age of ten. Jeff’s uncanny, upbeat personality is expressed in a wide range of colors, which brings his birds to “life” on canvas in a graphical manner. Ironically, it was not a love for birds that originally inspired Jeff’s passion for art. His mother, Patricia, was a stay-at-home mom who loved to work on fun, creative projects with her two sons, often drawing pictures for the boys to color. In preparation for a second grade open house, each student was asked to draw what they would like to be when they grew up. Jeff, enamored with his home art projects, pictured himself as an artist, and his path was laid.
He graduated with a BFA from Webster University in 2002, after spending time studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. Truly a bird of his own feather, Jeff created his first studio in the Art Loft Building on Washington Avenue—far before it was the hip neighborhood in which to do so.
Jeff continues to draw inspiration from the world around him. Although he admires the works of famed artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, and Wassily Kandinsky, he says the bulk of his inspiration comes from “the people I interact with, real life experiences, emotions.” Only now, the things that inspire him manifest as birds, creating a collection as unique and colorful as the people and events from which they evolved.
Although Jeff’s paintings sell for an average of $250, he has sold paintings at various price ranges up to $850. He has also created cards and holiday ornaments, in addition to a limited-edition apron as a charity offering for St. Louis Food Outreach. When he first began to sell his works, the majority of sales were to personal art collectors. Today, however, people can view his work in various places in the St. Louis area such as SqWires in Lafayette Square, Bella Capelli Salon in Webster Groves, and at a number of other local galleries.
In addition, Jeff often finds himself commissioned to do a piece that meets an art lover’s specific needs—anniversaries, birthdays, a child’s birth, a wedding, even the passing of a loved one. It is Jeff’s talent and versatility that allow him to endlessly create these unique, custom paintings, including one of a family that wished to be painted as birds. Jeff is passionate about both his career and his art and hopes to carry both with him into the future.
“I want to continue to do what I do,” Jeff says. “Paint in my spare time, bring what I can to life on canvas—that’s what I love.”
Visit www.jeffkapfer.com for more information.