Chantal deFelice Paints Cityscapes on Wood

Paintings on flat panels of wood aren’t anything new, but artist Chantal deFelice has a knack for charming viewers with her intricately drawn woodwork paintings of cityscapes. It’s a harmonious union, nature and urban spaces together, originally derived from deFelice not being able to afford new canvases after college and instead turning to collecting flat pieces of wood on which to paint images.

For the San Clemente-based artist, nature, nostalgia, space and memory are some of the major themes at play in her work, in multiple mediums such as video, sound recordings, photography and zines. Born in Oregon, her childhood was enriched by a deep love of insects, moss, pinecones, trees and other organisms, all of which continue to play a major role in her life and work, from paintings of natural microcosms to sharp photography of barnacles.

But deFelice’s offerings of street scenes impress with their storytelling potential. She first photographs antiquated buildings, houses and streets, then faithfully illustrates them on salvaged, scrap wood panels, acting as a field reporter of her own travels. “The buildings come from that idea of memory and nostalgia, being able to look at an old building and see the history there and imagine what the people were like, what stories they have,” says deFelice. “Standing at one place that has existed for over a hundred years, [imagine] just how much happened just in that one spot—it’s so fun to put yourself in that mindset.”

DeFelice’s work has been exhibited all around Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco and can be found at her website ( But if you’re looking to carry some of her art wherever you go, she also handcrafts earrings, sold via her Etsy page ( Each pair features a version of one of her paintings placed over thin, rectangular slices of hardwood and secured with a protective finish.

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