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. Like many artists he has worked as a dishwasher, picture framer, file clerk, secretary, graphic artist, and web developer.


Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 – 1669), The Mill, 1645/1648, oil on canvas, Widener Collection 1942.9.62

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.

“It is sometimes difficult 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.”

My influences have followed a fairly traditional path: Greek sculpture, the Renaissance, the Impressionists, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, the Russian avant-garde, de Kooning, and Johns. I have absorbed many of the lessons their work has to offer, integrated and then sublimated them into my own processes.

I am hesitant to define my work too tightly having seen it evolve so much during my life. My art takes me where it will. In general the 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, and paint rather than a window into some three dimensional world.