COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center announced that Doug Egolf is June’s featured artist in the Chamber’s Focus on the Arts initiative. Egolf’s work will debut in an artist’s reception on Friday, June 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

A lifelong resident of Whitley County, Egolf’s ancestors were among some of the first people to settle in Whitley County. He is the son of Ronald D. and Phyllis J. Egolf.

“At an early age, I fell in love with dinosaurs and from there, science fiction and fantasy,” Egolf said. “I loved to sit in the downtown Peabody Library and admire art on the science fiction paperbacks.”

He most enjoyed the works of Boris and Frazetta.

A look at Egolf’s work, one will see the artist’s interest in science fiction. “I collect art books of science fiction and fantasy artists with their collected works,” Egolf said. He’s an avid comic book collector as well. “As a child during the 1970s I loved sci-fi, horror and tv shows.”

“I believe I inherited the creative gene from my grandfather, Everett Egolf,” Egolf said. “He was a woodworker and very inventive, creating and restoring.”

Egolf began honing his art skills as a child. “I have been drawing and doodling since I was able to hold a pencil. I love the freedom to go your own direction in art.”

Egolf has had no formal training in art beyond art classes he took in high school, but has been working on his art daily for almost 50 years.

Egolf enjoys art for the freedom it gives him and the opportunities for self-expression. He enjoys being able to draw others into considering subjects they might not ordinarily think about in their everyday life.

When asked to consider the future direction of his work, Egolf said, “I have always loved the sci-fi fantasy genre, but have recently found a broader interest in surrealism and impressionism.” He hopes this interest will broaden his own work.

His work has been featured by the Lakeland Gallery, Syracuse Public Library, Peabody Library and inside Brew’ha Coffee House in downtown Columbia City. Additionally, murals created by Egolf line the alley adjacent to Brew’ha. Some of Egolf’s work was published through Sunberry Press’ “Dark Arts 2011” and in Johnathan Mayberry’s “The Crytopedia” published by Citadel Press. It was also used in an episode of “Destination Truth” on the Syfy Channel. “My work has been purchased by 20th Century Fox for ABC’s ‘Life on Mars’ television show.”

“We are excited to showcase Doug’s work at the Chamber during the month of June,” Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, said. “Doug’s work is interesting and thought-provoking. We are honored to share his work with the community.”

Egolf’s art exhibit will be on display through the end of June at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, 128 W. Van Buren St. in Columbia City. The exhibit is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment.

For more information, contact the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 260-248-8131.