Recycled art expresses artist’s creative genius

Barbara Hootman

Fred Feldman is an artist of many different media. Recycled art is one of his most dramatic expressions.

“I don’t like to be pinned down, so I am around Black Mountain working on ceramics, woodworking, painting, designing stereo speakers, and creating 3-D collage pieces that I call ‘assemblages,’” he said.

Feldman is a retired school teacher who taught art in upstate New York by the Canadian border for 25 years. He taught art at the Jefferson Community College and at the high school level in Watertown, NY. He and his wife moved to Black Mountain eight years ago attracted by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

Feldman was born and reared in Newark, NJ, is a Rutgers graduate and a former Fulbright scholar. He has studied ceramics in Denmark and London.

“I can literally work in different art media seven days a week at the art center,” he said. “It is such a treasure.”

Feldman has been designing and creating speakers since he was eight years old. He bought out a speaker manufacturer who vanished from the area in the middle of the night. That put him in the business of recyclable art.

“I have all that material to use in my recycled art work, and I have working speakers in every room in my house. I also still enjoy building speakers.”

From 1980-2006, he owned and operated The Happy Ear. The shop carried a variety of speaker lines.

Recycled art is not something that is always beautiful and not something that is just a waste of space. It is much like alchemy which turns base metal into gold, but it turns what has been trashed into art.

“I rescue functional furniture pieces that are no longer wanted by their owners ad transform them into art with beautiful painting and dazzling colors,” he said. “I’ve turned the walls of our home into an art gallery showcasing my work and my wife’s weaving. I enjoy looking at it.”

Feldman’s assemblages are distinctive expression of his creativity and eye for color and design. He credits the work of Joseph Cornell (a designer and one of the pioneers and most celebrated artist of assemblage) and Louise Nevelson (sculptor who was known for her monumental, wooden wall pieces) for influencing his art work the most.

The 74-year-old artists loves what he does and his creative spirit comes alive in each piece. His work is carried by Faison O’Neil, at 128 Cherry Street in Black Mountain.

For more information, contact Fred Feldman at or phone 318-7888.