Kris Friesen is pleased how his Art Nouveau piece surrounds Captain Andy’s and leads shoppers around the corner. (Photo submitted)

Kris Friesen is pleased how his Art Nouveau piece surrounds Captain Andy’s and leads shoppers around the corner. (Photo submitted)

Eye-catching Art Nouveau style decorates public market inside walls

Artist Friesen takes up the challenge to try something a little different

Kris Friesen’s artistic flair is all over Chemainus and Crofton.

Friesen, from Esquimalt, completed a masterpiece of various aspects of scenic Crofton off-site and had it installed on the side of the Osborne Bay Pub Liquor Store in 2020.

Scenic features of Crofton depicted in mural

He also did work inside and out of the Violet Wild building in Chemainus. An inside mural accentuates the premises and Friesen’s work on the Chemainus Road circa 1945 mural was painted on marine plywood before being installed on the outside of the building.

New mural depicts a love story in the making along Chemainus Road

Friesen’s latest work completed this summer graces the inside walls of The Public Market in Chemainus and was a departure from the norm for him by delving into Art Nouveau style. The market’s owner/operator Patricia Berry pitched the idea and Friesen ran with it for a striking design.

“I used to draw in that style years and years ago,” said Friesen. “It’s been a very long time. It was pretty cool, kind of a timeless style, too, it’ll never go out of date.”

Friesen started work in late July and finished a few days later in early August.

The first figure he painted was a mermaid that welcomes patrons inside the building, but also to Captain Andy’s restaurant.

Friesen said he was heavily influenced in the work by Alphonse Mucha, a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist who was living in Paris during the Art Nouveau period and is best known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters.

“It kind of looks like a comic book, the more you look at it,” said Friesen of the final product.

“It was a different approach, too. The purpose of it is to draw people around the corner.”

The entire piece covers considerable wall space and ends with a landscape of the famous Chemainus Waterwheel encompassed around the market office.

“That got tagged on at the end,” noted Friesen.

Unlike his other recent murals that were done off-site and then installed, this project was quite different.

“I drew them out in chalk,” Friesen explained. “But I can’t leave any marks. Each of them were sketched out in my sketchbook and in chalk.”

Next time, though, he feels using pencil for the sketching will be better.

“It’s so much nicer to have a visible outline in pencil,” Friesen reasoned.

Doing it in chalk required some adjustments, but the final product turned out great. Berry and the public have been most pleased with the eye-catching result.

“It was a big deal for him and he was quite challenged by it,” noted Berry. “No direction from me, other than it had to be Art Nouveau women.”

“I love the unpredictable variation I get,” said Friesen. “Everything I do should be functional for my clients. I like trying different stuff.”

He has a couple of other projects in the works of smaller paintings for someone else who operates a business in the market and another connected to the regular Chamber of Commerce Wednesday weekly markets.

“I’m always welcoming new projects,” said Friesen. “Chemainus has been really good to me.”

Art

 

Kris Friesen’s Art Nouveau work featuring a mermaid at the entrance to Captain Andy’s in The Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Kris Friesen’s Art Nouveau work featuring a mermaid at the entrance to Captain Andy’s in The Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Art Nouveau piece by Kris Friesen leads shoppers around the corner inside the Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Art Nouveau piece by Kris Friesen leads shoppers around the corner inside the Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Iconic water wheel is depicted in art by Kris Friesen that surrounds window space at the Public Market in Chemainus office. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Iconic water wheel is depicted in art by Kris Friesen that surrounds window space at the Public Market in Chemainus office. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Kris Friesen’s work on the Art Nouveau inside the Public Market in Chemainus draws interest from onlookers while in progress. (Photo submitted)

Kris Friesen’s work on the Art Nouveau inside the Public Market in Chemainus draws interest from onlookers while in progress. (Photo submitted)

Kris Friesen works on his Art Nouveau piece inside the Public Market in Chemainus where a mermaid greets patrons at the entrance to Captain Andy’s Fish and Chips. (Photos by Don Bodger, submitted)

Kris Friesen works on his Art Nouveau piece inside the Public Market in Chemainus where a mermaid greets patrons at the entrance to Captain Andy’s Fish and Chips. (Photos by Don Bodger, submitted)