Mario Beja Santos, in his commentary on the Alfora exhibition in Alcoutim, Portugal, compares Alfora to Rembrandt, JMW Turner and Richard Parkes Bonnington. He goes further in stating that there are affinities with the work of, Marc Chagall, Paul Cezanne and Vermeer. Some of this is accurate but he misses the main influence – the first art teacher of Alfora - Charles Hopkins, who worked with, John Skeeping and the Bloomsbury Group – and most of all John Piper.
Alfora returned to education in mid life starting with humble beginnings at an evening class for leisure painting. Not for him the prestige of The Royal College of Art, The Slade, Central or St Martins in London. His nearest top-notch art school, Bath Academy, turned him down but undaunted he worked his way through a foundation course at his local college in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. From there it was all the way up – an honours degree at Staffordshire University, an MA at Manchester Metropolitan Universityand post graduate studies at Wolverhampton University.
Attempts to survive by painting after college were fraught with problems. Finally Alfora turned to art dealing as an option. This got him into huge debts, with a bounced check from Sotheby’s being the straw that broke the camels back, and near bankruptcy orchestrated by the Nat West Bank (saved by his good friend Gary Lewis –lawyer - from that one).
Turning to teaching as a salvation Alfora taught Art and Design at North Midlands College, Leek College and Stoke on Trent College. Next was a short spell as assessor for Business Studies at Staffordshire University and lecturer in Communication studies at the same institution. Finally he turned to TEFL as a saviour, which is how he came to end up in Portugal. The name of Alfora came by accident when the Lisbon Transport Authority misspelled his name (Chris Alford) on his transport pass at about the same time that he had decided to return to painting and make a new beginning.
A professional career as an artist was cemented with the move to the Algarve. He has had a number of individual shows since moving to Portugal and was a founder member of “Blank Canvas” a self-help group of painters that worked from 2001 to 2007 with other artists to exhibit and promote quality art work. The group had a history of exhibiting with other professionals which included Antonio Couvinha, Jessica Dunn, Valerie Bornand, Costa Pinhero, Vincent de Brito, Guilherme Parente, Pedro Pinto Coelho and José Delgado Martin. Over this seven year period they exhibited widely in the Algarve and also in other regions and countries. Some of the artists connected with the group have gone on to form the Algarve Artists Network.