Artist Interview – Derek DeYoung

If you have never heard of Derek DeYoung or seen his work within the greater fly-fishing community in recent years, then you probably don’t have the internet, or read magazines, or buy fly fishing gear or you may not have any actual eyes or ears! He has collaborated with Simms Fishing Products, Abel Reels and more recently, Buff Headwear and Burton Snowboards. Derek’s work has veered off from the traditional fish illustration style. His paintings are contemporary, placing more importance on using a unique style and palette rather than painting a fish to look photo realistic. We recently caught up with Derek and asked him a few questions…

Do you fly fish and if so, what is your favourite species to catch?

I do fish.. I LOVE fishing. I think my favourite way to spend a day fishing would be stalking a small stream and side channels, throwing dries for big browns. There’s nothing like floating a fly along an undercut bank, the anticipation of an eat.. then when I see the color of the trout materialize under my fly.. my stomach leaps into my throat.. but I’ve got to wait.. wait.. wait.. until finally the fly is gone, the trout has taken it, and then the line goes tight.. and for me all in the world is right.


Which came first, the fishing or the art?

The two passions grew at the same time.. when I was a little kid.. both fishing and art become more interesting as your skills develop. I love fishing and art more today then I ever have.


What is your favourite subject to paint / draw?

Without question my favorite subject to draw and paint is fish. It seems that every year as I learn more and understand how to draw them better it becomes more fun. As I learn more I’m able to do better work and it’s just a never ending process of evolution.


Tell us about your greatest your inspiration?

I’m inspired by other artists all the time. My greatest inspiration comes from seeing art that is created by people who have really honed in on their craft and are doing something so unique and beautiful that it’s completely evident that art is their life’s the strokes of their paintings and in the emotion that you take from their art just by standing in front of it.. I love Van Gogh.. his colors and brush work are unreal.


Your ideal fly-fishing destination?

I’ve grown up in Michigan fishing for trout, salmon and Warmwater species. So the lure to fish saltwater to me at this point my life is pretty strong.The things that you witness out on the ocean or on the flats, it’s just mind-boggling and I find these experiences to be extremely inspiring in my artwork.


Where would you locate your dream studio and whom would you invite around for a drink?

Currently my studio is set up in Livingston, Montana which is one of my favorite places on the planet. During the hardest part of the winter we make the 4 day trek down to the Florida Keys and that’s where we get to enjoy some of the saltwater fishing that I love so much. Both places are so spectacular for their scenery and natural beauty and in fishing opportunities. Someday I would love to switch and spend my summers in Alaska although I’m not sure how much painting would get done, or that my wife would support that.


Would you get a tattoo of your own work?

I don’t have any tattoos but if I were to get one it would have to be one of my own designs for sure. I think for most artists their art is such a personal expression of themselves. To put someone else’s design on me would seem almost wrong…


Where can readers purchase your work?

The best place for your readers to find my artwork would be on my website which is I have everything from Original Art and Fine Art Reproductions to Pilsner Glasses and phone cases featuring my work. Thank you so much for featuring me and my work, have a great season out on the water.

Thanks Derek and Janell!


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