From art galleries to Pearl Jam posters to T-shirt and ski designs, John Fellows’ work is both authentic and contemporary, a combination of weathered characters, foreboding landscapes, and retro maps and postcards. It’s a timeless style, meant to both portray mountain culture and inspire it.
Words: Ian Fohrman.
A photo of John Fellows as a young boy sits above his well-used work desk. The boy is wearing a red knapsack and crouches in a Sound of Music-esque Swiss mountain field, feeding a cow adorned with a traditional bell. His family had been traveling around Europe for two years by van, a break from his East-Coast military-brat upbringing, and the young Fellows sports a radiant smile.
It’s the same smile Fellows gets when he talks about his extensive travels since, or recounts his summers after college running around the Lauterbrunnen Valley, or the season in Gimmelwald where he met his wife. But it’s the experiences behind the photo that have set the tone for his life and work.
I met Fellows in his recently renovated home in a quiet corner of one of Denver’s trendiest neighborhoods, and after a quick tour we walked back to his studio. The space is adorned with maps, old mountaineering books and various retro postcards, some dating back to the late 18th century, some modern. It’s an inspirational setting, one that reflects Fellows’ aesthetic: tidy, but homey and lived in…