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Artist Dominic Bourbeau

How does one go from a career in the technical arena of medicine to one as a successful artist? For Dominic Bourbeau, who always had a passion for art, it was a seamless transition.

Bourbeau will be showcasing his art at the Arizona Fine Art Expo in Scottsdale throughout February for the sixth year. His pull to the area stems from a well known artist who has quite the presence in the community; Frank Lloyd Wright.

"He, some say, is the father of the mid-century modern idea and has been an inspiration and model for such designs. One can see that in much of the architecture and people here - there is a rooted appreciation for that style."

What started as a posting of a cat design online, spiraled into a massive following of Bourbeau's own take on Mid-Century Modern style. He studied the sleek, clean lines of bold, earthy colors, and simple yet striking forms and developed a retro style inspired by the architecture and forms of the 1950s and 60s.

"I chose Scottsdale as a forum to showcase my art because I wanted to find another place that was dramatically different from where I live (in Minnesota); where I could build on my technique with new inspirations and ideas. Scottsdale was a perfect setting for this. Calling Scottsdale my home for part of the year has enriched my art tremendously."

Although Bourbeau graduated college with a degree in medicine and pursued a career as a surgical technologist, he never let go of his yearning to dabble in the arts.

"In college I took every medium of art available except painting - from pottery to calligraphy, from sculpture to glass blowing. After six years of college art, it was actually at the hospital where I worked {as a surgical technologist} that I started sketching on a daily basis. In the operating room I could be waiting for up to three hours scrubbed in and sterile, waiting for a case to begin. With nothing but a sterile marking pen and a sterile disposable towel, I would draw." The rest, as they say, is history -- Bourbeau devotes much of his time to his art these days, working only casually in the medical field.

Bourbeau says he has new pieces that participants can expect to see at the Expo this year, including a type of painted sculpture, where a design of his will be painted on a block of pine which can be displayed sitting on a flat surface rather than hanging on a wall, "Imagine a roadrunner on one block, a flowering cactus on another and a busy, scampering quail on another block. They are sold as a set, and each can be placed on a shelf in your home arranged in any way to recreate a mini desert landscape exploding with color and beautiful shapes, and a bit of the artist's added humor."

Bourbeau has many pieces that are special and customized for the client. "There was a Nativity piece I painted based on wooden figurines that reminded me of my childhood, I recreate it often because I loved that painting so much. A painting of Frank Sinatra's house reflected onto a wine glass has always been a favorite because the idea came to me when visiting his home and I went to sip from my wine and noticed the amazing reflection of his house on my glass. Of course, my first drawing of a cat staring down on an unfazed mouse stands to be the foundation and model to all my other paintings to come because of its simple design and simple shapes that still tell a dramatic story."

Working with clients from all walks of life and diverse areas of the country, has assisted Bourbeau in expanding his artistic palette and has made for some amazing stories.

"I begin my process by having the client choose their favorite color, since color is the striking element that sets my art aside from others. Then I ask them, 'Why this design?' and from that question I try to pull out the personal passion and connection the client has for the subject. I aspire to create a basic design that hopefully speaks volumes, and then elaborate that design with their colors and subtle yet striking textured details." 

With such self motivation to create masterpieces that attract clients to his style, Bourbeau also says, it can be difficult to let go once a piece is finished and off to its new owner, "Every painting, I've noticed, becomes my favorite painting as I'm creating it. Even commissioned pieces where I don't quite have a personal connection with the piece…I grow a connection with it by the end. And even they are hard to say goodbye to. I've had to become very good at saying goodbye."

  • One client was from Chicago and compiled a list of buildings that were dear to his heart and asked if I could create a collage painting.
  • A client based the interior design of their condo on one of my paintings, and has since filled their home with my works.