Fred Choate 

Art is your fate; do not debate

If you walk through Boise with your eyes even halfway open, you have seen the work of Fred Choate. He practically has a monopoly on the downtown outdoor wall space, and a strong foothold as Boise's foremost creator of interior ambiance. With a show featuring landscapes along with a new mural going up in Garden City's library, Choate's lifetime of art creation culminates in a massive portfolio.

Attempting to meet Choate at the site of his mural, I found a slightly irritable gentleman, who, after acknowledging me, ignored me and continued his conversation. Looking around for the mural, I saw another man, who looked more like the photo on Choate's Web site. Realizing my err, I turned from the crotchety man and approached the man who proved to be the real Mr. Choate, who is charismatic.

With a varied history of enduring a challenging childhood, going to college (but not for art), entering the counseling field and then carpentry, Choate took a bold step into Pleine Painting: painting on-site in the outdoors. This final step was the most integral to his current painting style.

Choate soon met Tom Szewc, from whom he quickly began learning and finding inspiration. One day, Szewc told Choate it was time to meet Ovanes Berberian. Choate arrived at the Berberian estate and entered the orchard. Multiple artists were painting a complex and eclectic still life, heightened by a myriad of shadows through the foliage. Choate felt intimidated by the caliber of the painters' work. He told Szewc he couldn't do it; he didn't have it in him. He could never produce that level of detail. That evening, eating at a Chinese restaurant, he opened a fortune cookie which revealed a message he now has framed on his wall: "Art is Your Fate; Do Not Debate." ... and a fate, it has become. Just to rattle off a few of his mural accomplishments: The Hitchcock Building (Neurolux/Record Exchange), Ginovanni's, Taco Del Mar, Old Boise, Ceramica, Moxie Java and most recently, the Garden City Library.

His fine art is also extensive. His house is filled with stacks of colorful nature-views on canvas. It's apparent Choate loves to paint. He teaches an oil painting class out of his studio and even his hobbies (wood working, drawing) are creative.

I hope you have seen his murals. If you haven't, I'll assume you live life with your eyes closed. In which case, you couldn't read this, which negates my need to address you as a cultural zombie. If you have, you will be delighted to know, a tiny portion of Fred's fine paintings now hang in the TDG Gallery at 2340 S. Vista Ave., through June 20. His lively, colorful landscapes and nature scenes will definitely capture your interest. If you want to see more, there is plenty to see. Visit fredchoate.com, and go see art.

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