Robert Chabot could be termed a naive painter but it really wouldn’t describe his paintings.
Chabot is a driven man and he loves to paint in broad, bright and bold ways. He is less about getting it perfect than he is about communicating what he is feeling.
“It’s probably deep seated psychological angst,” laughed Chabot. “It’s another way of communicating, another way to describe things, I try to paint how things feel. It took me a while to realize what I was doing.”
Thus the somewhat primitive and unusual collection of paintings Chabot has currently on display at the Stick in the Mud coffee house.
The paintings are a smattering of the work Chabot has done over the past few years. He just decided one day that he was going to paint and paint is exactly what he proceeded to do.
He wishes he didn’t have a job otherwise he would paint all the time. He’s probably got 150 paintings scattered around his Metchosin home, which also serves as his studio. He is planning on building a studio in Jordan River where he has property.
If you were to line up Chabot’s paintings in some sort of chronological order you would see the progression as he learns more about this business of creating art.
He said he is self-taught although he has taken some painting lessons from artists he admires.
“I gained something from all of them, I may even imitate them for a few weeks but then I go back but in a slightly different way — similar to where I started,” he said. He says he is an expressionist.
He has a series of paintings of some of Victoria’s old alleyways, Vancouver’s east side and a blue truck series which are a testament to his theory of painting what he feels. They are heavy on the paint and not perfect but they say something. Perhaps it is about the imperfectness of city streets and the people who gather in those places. In many ways he sees things as perhaps a child would — with a sense of astonishment.
Chabot’s work is refreshing in a way because, by not pretending to be great art, it acquires its own unique perspective and emotion. He paints everything, to him it’s all the same. It’s all about shape, colour and light.
Chabot doesn’t take himself too seriously, although he is serious about loving to paint. He has a burn pile in his back yard and he plans to burn some of his paintings, when, as he said, the pile gets big enough.
He has had his work at the Metchosin Community Hall last fall and has shown with the Coast Collective.
Chabot’s work will remain at the Stick until the middle of March and then he has a show lined up at Koffi on Haultain in May.