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Chris Demarest started his professional creative life as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, earning a NY Times Best Book in 2000.
While living in rural Vermont, Chris became a volunteer firefighter which sparked a new episode in his career: capturing the people with adventurous professions. He flew with Hurricane Hunters out of Biloxi, Mississippi into Hurricane Ivan, and later, as an official artist with the U.S. Coast Guard, he covered their work on both coasts as well as with the coalition forces in the Persian Gulf. Living aboard patrol boats was not just about creating art, but about hearing stories and seeing the world through their eyes.
In 2011 Chris began an artist-in-residence at The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, where he paid tribute on canvas to the WWII generation.
In 2013 Chris embarked on his national tour, continuing to pay homage to WWII veterans. Visiting libraries, museums and homes for veterans, his role was, besides painting in public, to be present to hear their stories.
It was this national portrait tour that brought Chris to Bainbridge Island. He was enamored with its quiet beauty and tranquil setting and decided to make the Island his home. Many of his WWII paintings completed here were of Japanese-Americans sent to the concentration camps. Two WWII paintings are in the collection of the WA State History Museum and one painting is in the collection at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
The Japanese culture and influence which permeates the island eventually inspired Chris to build a teahouse studio. Chris now creates sculptural pieces, such as his non-traditional teapots, and aviation and nautical dioramas, all using bamboo, shoji paper and wood.