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Dominique Cheminais

Dominique Chemanais


The characters begin in my mind as soft unformed things. Lumbering around faceless and nameless they grow and change. Then they begin to make their demands. Their eyes and teeth come into focus then their hair, the shape of their hands and the way they carry their bodies, how they speak and what they are wearing. Gradually they announce themselves. They tell me their names and write themselves into the world.


Character Study explores the transition between writing and painting - the journey between the mediums of written word and painted image. This process begins with sketches and is not always a smooth one. Sometimes the characters stay true to form and end up looking exactly the way I wrote them, other times the demands of another medium warp and inform them in surprising ways. During the drawing process, the characters are flexible and open to alternations. I don’t necessarily feel beholden to my original text when I am drawing them. This is a free space of discovery where I allow the characters to reintroduce themselves to me and make their desires known. Perhaps they want a fur hat or a striped suit, often their limbs need to be exaggerated or distorted depending on their personalities. I try to free myself of my imagination’s limitations at this time, letting go of my own preconceived ideas for how the characters were originally conceived. Once finalised these drawings become the blueprints for the paintings, where they take on a solid life with fixed and specific aesthetics unique to each character.


‘Brother kill a brother with a jawbone,’

The screaming demon song followed her.

‘Teacher teach a lesson with a whip.’

Her coat caught on a branch, and she stumbled. She yelped with terror as their eager, fumbling hands almost took hold of her leg.

‘Human touch! Human touch!’

They chanted, their voices high, their laughter shrill and crazed.

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