Chris Coffin was born in Seattle and spent his childhood in Bellingham, Wa. He has lived and worked in Seattle, San Jose, New York City, Kansas City, MO and now resides in Bellingham, WA. Over the years he has worked as a dishwasher, picture framer, file clerk and secretary. In 1990 he began working with computers ultimately landing a job as Art Production Manager at Fitness Magazine in NYC. As the World Wide Web gained in popularity he moved to Seattle and worked for Saltmine Creative, designing the first PGA Tour website, Columbia Sportswear and various Microsoft projects. After that he became a vendor to Microsoft helping to make the daily and weekly updates to the Microsoft homepage as well as designing a number of other sub-sections of their website. Since that time he has been a self-employed designer of print materials and designer/coder of websites primarily for non-profit agencies. He has also worked as a professional photographer.
“It is sometimes hard not to paint ‘like’ someone else, we all walk the same streets. Often we have to follow someone else’s path in order to find our own way. How we do that is always uniquely our own.”
His first Introduction to art came when he was around 10 years old visiting the National Gallery of Art in Wasington, D.C. Rembrandt’s painting The Mill became the primary memory of the trip. Something about the light, the subdued color, the fact that the image was made of daubs of paint. It was a new, almost mystical experience.
He was fortunate to have a high school art teacher who would allow him to stay in the art studio and work when everyone else had to attend pep rallies. A couple of years after graduating he attended a year of art history courses at Seattle Central Community College as well as drawing and painting classes including independent study in painting. This was followed by a year at Whatcom Community College taking drawing classes and independent study contracts in painting.
His influences have followed a fairly traditional path: Greek sculpture, the Renaissance, the Impressionists, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, the Russian avant-garde, de Kooning and Johns. He has absorbed many of the lessons their work has to offer, integrated and then sublimated them into his own processes.
He is hesitant to define his work too tightly having seen it evolve so much during his career. His art takes him where it will. In general his work has been interested in the more formal aspects of painting, the plastic space as presented on a flat surface as well as the fact that a painting is a collection of materials, wood, canvas, paint rather than a window into some three dimensional world. Over the last few years he has been watching the emergence of recurring shapes and symbols, something heading towards a personal lexicon.