Domènech was born in Barcelona in 1952. As a young boy at primary school he was already remarkably talented at drawing and his parents were keen for him to continue the family carpentry business.
Family roots shape an individual’s personality, and personal circumstances and experiences create the knowledge and the insight that make us who we are. Domènech’s life was centered on his father’s business – the carpentry workshop– in that world, traditional skills are handed down from parents to children. Handsaws, chisels, files, planks, nails and hammers, varnishes and different types of glue, were the tools and materials that Domènech grew up with. For their entire lives, his father and grandfather owned a workshop near the family home, and Domènech soon began to learn about their work as traditional furniture craftsmen.
Being a carpenter requires a strict attention to detail as well as honesty, neatness and a desire to do things well. These values were important in Domènech’s family, and very much part of his later development as an artist. As part of his love for beautiful things, Domènech’s father was interested in art, and even took up painting for a while. Domènech’s first contact with art came during the walks he used to take with his father on Sundays, which usually ended with a visit to one of Barcelona’s galleries. These were the places where Domènech first saw salon painting, in galleries that maintained the figurative tradition of French Post-Impressionism, seen as the highest expression of dominant taste in those days.
Ambitions in art
As Domènech’s flair for drawing grew, so did his ambition to become a professional artist. He began taking private lessons in drawing, and also attended art classes at the Escuela Massana in Barcelona, while continuing to help out at his father’s workshop. A great influence on him was his appreciation of Impressionism, with artists such as Van Gogh. Together with his fellow students, Domènech organised trips to the countryside so that they could find unspoilt landscape and paint in the open air, away from the city. Once this passion for painting outdoors was satisfied, Domènech returned to work in his studio, where he focused on compositions that were more analytically detailed than the elusive features of the outdoors. He attended classes at the Circulo Artistico Sant Lluc, one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in Barcelona.
His belief is that no artist is self-made, but must learn from others, has made him an insatiable, diligent student and an insightful observer of the world around him.