Burde Beans Coffee and Things is now serving up a side of art with their coffee products, featuring artists in the Burde Street shop like painter and printmaker Chris Doman.
The Wales born artist paints with both oil and acrylic, fusing together colourful images that tend to balance on the horizon of abstract and realism.
Doman’s “retrospective” exhibit at Burde Beans consists of several paintings from his past that were completed close to 10 years ago. He said the coffee shop owners wanted paintings quick so he pulled out some of his old work for the exhibit.
“I’ve never been totally abstract. I always liked to look around. I’m inspired by the imagery, not in a realistic way,” Doman said. “I don’t know what to draw realistically, it drives me bonkers.”
Doman has been creating art as long as he can remember. Growing up mainly in England, he received art training for four years at Hornsey College of Art in the 1960s and then went on to teacher training after that.
Now retired, Doman taught art, graphics and journalism courses in schools around the Island for most of his career. His longest teaching stint was at Parkland Secondary School– which he helped open– in Sidney, B.C. where he spent nearly 20 years.
Moving to the Valley eight years ago from Brentwood Bay, Doman says he’s quite impressed with Port Alberni’s art scene.
“I think it’s an exciting pioneer attitude towards art. People are less afraid of just coming and doing art,” Doman said. “I think it’s a great place, there’s lots of artists and I think the town is a bit slow to embrace it.”
The retired teacher now does most of his artwork in his home studio in the basement of his house.
“I can stop and start,” Doman said. “I can be in the middle of painting and someone stops by for coffee. I used to build houses and I used to say I had no problem leaving a nail half driven, as long as I remember where it is.”
A lot of artists keep regular hours but I do it when the spirit moves me.”
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Doman lives near the Rotary Arts District just off Argyle Street which can be seen in some of his newer pieces.
“I’ve got an obsession with Argyle Street, I love it as a shape in my mind,” he said. “I paint sort of as a result of where I live.”
In addition to his artwork, Doman co-runs an online magazine called Avenue Zone that highlights and promotes arts and culture in the Alberni Valley.
Thatcher Stokes, co-owner at Burde Beans, said Doman’s retrospective art will probably remain on the shop’s walls for the next couple of weeks. For more Chris Doman art visit www.chrisdoman.com.