For nearly a decade, folks have drawn on the walls of the Bend Visitor Center, but they’re not vandals.
They’re artists brought in to create unique chalk art on the cement pillars in the lobby of the Bend Visitor Center through the Pillars of Art program, and Visit Bend just unveiled the newest addition.
The latest Pillars of Art featured artist is Dominique Kongsli. Raised in California, Dominique came to Bend four years ago to be closer to family. She’s taken art classes since she was a child and studied art at Pepperdine University and Claremont Graduate University.
Dominique’s art will be on display in the Bend Visitor Center for the next 12 months, including several pieces for sale. We caught up with her recently and asked a few questions about art, her life, and everything in between. Here’s what Dominique shared.
Where did you grow up and how did you land in Bend?
I grew up in different parts of California. I was a child in the Bay Area, a teenager in Fresno, and an adult in Malibu/Los Angeles/Orange County. I ended up in Bend four years ago when my fiancé (now husband) moved here to live near his parents. I said yes to the man and to the move to beautiful Bend, Oregon.
Tell us about your artistic training
I have taken art classes since I was in preschool, but I really got serious about art in high school and college. I studied Studio Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu. After that, I attended Claremont Graduate University where I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art. I’ve also taken design classes at Otis College of Art and Design.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I would describe my style as jubilant and colorful. My aspen tree murals have their roots in street art and are spiritual in nature, and my studio art oil paintings are more romantic and kind of pop, like if Richard Schmid and Barbie had a baby.
What’s your favorite medium?
My favorite medium is oil paint because it is so rich and luxurious. There are so many possibilities of mark-making between using various brushes and the differing states of the paint as it dries. I love painting murals because they completely transform entire spaces and make a huge impact, and I get to interact with the public as I paint. They are way more social in nature than a solitary studio art practice.
Who are your artistic influences?
My artistic influences are oil painters such as Richard Schmid, the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and my peers from Pepperdine and Claremont Graduate University. Other influences include the murals, gallery shows, and street art I used to see all over Los Angeles––too many artists to count!
What do you like best about living in Bend, and how does it influence your artistic style?
My favorite thing about living here is the ease in which to get around, compared to the fast and competitive lifestyle in Southern California. The beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, and trees are extraordinary, and I’m constantly thinking about how to translate ephemeral outdoor experiences into artistic experiences in paint and color.
What do you enjoy doing in Bend when you’re not creating art?
When I’m not working in the studio or teaching private lessons or classes, I love hanging out at breweries and listening to live music. I love to paddle board. I live vicariously through the river surfers while watching them from the sidelines. I love strolling around the Old Mill section of the River Trail with my family. Nothing compares to kayaking or paddle boarding on the Little Deschutes and exploring different bodies of water and lakes in the area.
What’s your impression of the Bend art scene, and how do you think the Pillars of Art program fits with that?
I am very grateful for our art scene in Bend. There are so many wonderful artists here and there’s a spirit of generosity, respect, and appreciation for one another. Layor has been a very inclusive gallery which has invested in our community and the careers of local, emerging, established artists, and art students. Visit Bend’s programs such as the Pillars of Art and Tin Pan Alley Art Collection are an amazing vehicle for our community and visitors alike to meet local artists and to see how our beautiful scenery is interpreted by culture makers.
Visit Bend also hosts the mural artist’s fine art originals and prints in their gift shop, so visitors get the chance to bring a piece of art back to their place of origin, thereby spreading great ideas near and far. I am excited to see how the art scene will change and grow in the coming years.
To check out Dominique’s art, stop by the Bend Visitor Center from 10:00 – 12:30 and 1:00 – 4:00 seven days a week. You can also find her online at the following spots:
Instagram: @dominiquekongsli https://www.instagram.com/dominiquekongsli
Fine art archive: www.domkofineart.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dominiquekongsli/
Mural Site: https://www.facebook.com/victoriousmurals/