Victoria artist Kristofer Parley shows off the chair he painted as part of Take a Seat for Habitat

Chair-itable event for Habitat for Humanity

Kristofer Parley started creating works of art with pen and ink on a whim, after making a bet with his friend.

Kristofer Parley started creating works of art with pen and ink on a whim, after making a bet with his friend.

The 38-year-old Victoria artist had been painting with water colours for the past 30 years, before making the switch to a new process.

At first, Parley would outline his landscapes with pencil, then paint it with water colours and go back over it with pen and ink. Roughly a year ago, Parley’s friend bet him he couldn’t go right in with pen and skip the pencil phase.

“It frustrated and scared me a lot, but then I started doing it and it’s very relaxing and very therapeutic,” Parley said.

Since then, Parley, who moved to Victoria two-and-a-half years ago from Surrey, has created dozens of pieces of artwork, mainly of city landscapes around the city.

Instead of using traditional water colours, he opts for dark colours such as blacks and greys to outline skies, and uses more vibrant colours for buildings.

His biggest inspiration has been buildings in Victoria.

“Every inch, every block that you look at is just hugely inspirational,” said Parley, adding two thirds of his paintings lately have come from landscapes in Chinatown.

“All those neon colours, you don’t see that everywhere. I didn’t get to see these 200-year-old buildings until I came to Victoria. It’s this whole new world.”

Parley is one of 33 artists participating in Take a Seat for Habitat, a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

Habitat for Humanity builds housing to provide lower-income, working families with access to affordable homeownership in Greater Victoria.

As part of the second annual event, artists, including Robert Bateman, Miles Lowry and Linda Rogers, were given wooden chairs from the old Oak Bay High School and asked to transform them into unique works of art.

“These artists have knocked it out of the ballpark,” said Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria, adding this year’s goal is to raise $25,000, all of which will go towards building a home for a family in the area.

“These are a piece of Victoria history in and of themselves . . . They’re all completely different, unique works of art.”

Parley’s chair took roughly 70 hours and roughly a dozen pens to complete. The design wraps around the chair and the legs, and is Parley’s interpretation of Victoria, standing from the Shell Gas Station in Vic West, which includes views of the Johnson Street Bridge, Wharf and Johnson Streets as well as Pandora Avenue.

“I’ve researched so many different charities to donate to and Habitat for Humanity has such a positive role in the community and I just wanted to be a part of something that is more community driven as opposed to one specific disease or one specific project. I wanted something that was much more diverse,” Parley said.

The chairs will be on display at Mayfair Shopping Centre from Aug. 13 to 26. People are encouraged to vote for their favourite chair for the “people’s choice award.” People can also purchase a chair in a sealed bid, which will begin on Aug. 13. For more information visit habitatvictoria.com.