David grew up on a family farm in California. He attended elementary school in a one room schoolhouse on Roberts Island where his elementary teacher, Mrs. MacIntosh, taught him first through eighth grade.
Katie Feck, who owned a neighboring farm and was a self-taught oil painter introduced David to the concept of “Art.” Both Katie and Mrs. MacIntosh encouraged David to explore his artistic talent from a young age.
After graduating from Humboldt State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Ceramics David moved to Norman, Oklahoma in 1980 to attend graduate school and received his MFA in sculpture in 1984. He was awarded a regional NEA Fellowship in 1985 and a six-month residency in the Kohler Arts/Industry program in Wisconsin in 1987. After finishing at Kohler, he was awarded his first large-scale commission from Triad Development Co. in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has since been commissioned to create large scale sculpture across the United States including the "Desert Wildlife" installation at the Gate D Terminal of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His most recent large-scale commissions have gone to Minneapolis, Kansas City, Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma?and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in OKC. His works are in the Sandor Family Collection, Chicago, IL, The Beretta Foundation, San Antonio, TX and many more institutional collections.
Some notable private collectors of his work are Burt Reynolds;Connie Sellecca and John Tesh; as well as Barbie Benton and her husband George Gradow. His works are represented in many other public and private collections across the United States, as well as in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America.
David shares his life with his wife Patty Phelps. His daughter Sarah teaches Spanish at a St. Joseph’s Daycare in Norman. When not spending time with Patty or working in the studio, David can usually be found riding his old motorcycle, or practicing yoga.
“The imagery of my figurative bronze sculpture is rooted in my early years growing up on the family farm on Roberts Island in the California Delta. Surrounded by water and threatened by drought I was unknowingly developing my lifelong aesthetic foundation. My figurative bronzes, ranging up to three times life-size, appear to emerge from the ground. They are serenely contemplative, and each piece is imbued with a dry, subtle sense of humor.”
MFA: 1984 University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
BA: 1979 Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
2011 Pogue Art Gallery, East Central University, Ada, OK
2008 Hahn Ross Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2000 Mainsite Contemporary Art, Norman, OK
Hahn Ross Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1996 Oklahoma City Community College, “Sculptures of David Phelps”
1990 Firehouse Art Center; Norman, Oklahoma
1988 Charleston Heights Arts Center; Las Vegas, Nevada
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
John Michael Kohler Arts Center*; Sheboygan, Wisconsin
1987 Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City
1986 Cottey College; Nevada, Missouri
1985 Triad Gallery; Arlington, Texas
2005 City of Leawood, Kansas, Large-scale bronze sculpture
2004 University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK bronze bas relief for Sharp Chapel
OMRF (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation) bronze sculpture installation
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, Large-scale bronze sculpture
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, OKC, OK, bronze sculpture installation
2001 New Block Park, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Large-scale bronze sculpture
1999 Maps Canal Sculpture 1999 Oklahoma City, OK, Large-scale bronze sculpture
1998 Large scale permanent sculpture, McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
1992 Outdoor bronze sculpture, Sterling Research Group; Collegeville, Pennsylvania
1991 Outdoor bronze sculpture, The City of Palm Desert, California
1989 Outdoor bronze sculpture, The City of Phoenix, Arizona
Outdoor bronze sculpture, The City of The Woodlands, Texax
1988 Outdoor bronze sculpture, Triad Development Co., Knoxville, Tennessee
Steve Hartnett, Grapevine, Texas
Sandor Family Collection; Chicago, Illinois
Beretta Foundation, San Antonio, Texas
The Wornick Collection; St. Helena, California
Barbie Benton, George Gradow; Aspen, CO
Connie Sellecca, John Tesh
Museum of Art; Tennessee
Oklahoma City Art Museum
John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Kohler Co.; Kohler, Wisconsin
AWARDS / FELLOWSHIPS
2011 BEST OF SHOW AWARD: Seven State Biennial Exhibition, Jesús Moroles juror