Today we’d like to introduce you to Fotini Christophillis.
Fotini, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started my career in the arts as a dancer studying at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City. I was then drawn to the Arts Management program at the College of Charleston to follow my love for organizing arts activities and making my creative ideas come to life. There I took a drawing class and never stopped, launching myself into a career as a practicing and exhibiting visual artist ever since. I worked in Charleston, SC in a studio space at Redux Contemporary Art Center for five years, where I taught art classes and exhibited my work in galleries, and then came to Boston to pursue my graduate studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University where I graduated in 2016. I am now living and working in Boston where I am actively involved with a variety of interdisciplinary collaborations with a committed studio practice as a painter and a free-lance career as a graphic designer. All of my experience is informed in my work and my background as a dancer comes through with my affinity for the performing arts, as I seek to synthesize traditional painting and drawing techniques with the moving image, theatrical space and the live moment of performance.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I have always had diverse interests in the arts and am always seeking to reinvent my work within the form of painting. I draw influence from all of life, poetry, pop culture, music, day-to-day activities, the many sensations constantly delivered to us in the digital age. I live my life thinking how my experience can be source material, how I can transmute what I experience in the world into artistic form, distill to find poetic truth and the dream and metaphor beneath the surface. I strive to stay awake in this pursuit, never forgetting that the mundane can be source material, a drawing of a light fixture in a cafe, an electrical outlet in my studio, the strange curves of bodies in motion, my emotions, yearnings and history, the paradoxes I embrace and often fight with, a way to understand my lived experience.
In spite of all of my diverse interests, I am always drawn to painting and with painting comes drawing, the sensual movement of paint and the complexities of color and mark are the means of communication most natural to me. My work is primarily acrylic on canvas, vellum and paper, and many forms of drawing, including graphite, charcoal and ink on paper. I have an interest in the human figure and abstract language that become portals into otherworldly spaces. I am intrigued by the human body, the movements, gestures, complexities of relationships and forms, emotions, while exploring this range within metaphoric and invented spaces. I hope through my work that the viewer will connect with a sense of being present, reminded of the range of vision and the many dimensions of space and time, from the ordinary, to the complex, to the strange and unfamiliar. Ultimately, the inspiration lies in the experience of being alive in this moment, this time, and this body, and in some way, we are all going through similar experiences. I continuously seek to reinvent within the form of painting and to transport myself and my viewer into another way of seeing, and in some form, another way of remembering.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
To be an artist one must be resourceful. I think the greatest art comes from necessity and this necessity is the way through any struggle. The energy you put into your work will carry you through. You have to believe in it even though there may be nothing around you that may say this. That’s why we are artists, because we need to create new worlds and new ways of seeing. If you want the path to be clearly laid out, then you must do something else. I believe that with continuous, steady effort in believing in your work, you will create momentum and that can lead you to unexpected places.
My advice to any artist struggling with financial concerns, is to find a way to do it no matter what, your art will be the way through the struggle. You can make brilliant work with a tiny sketchbook and a basic pencil, you can take discarded cardboard and transform it into something that animates with life, and then draw again, you can tape together magazine clippings and glue them to found wood, the possibilities are endless with a commitment to staying awake and to continuously reinvent. The key is to never, under any circumstances, give up, and you will find a way. Just keep making art. There’s always a reason not to work, and financial concerns can be the biggest of them all, but if you stay committed to your work and the long-term marathon, you’ll find a way to an open clearing and creative solutions to the challenges.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can be viewed online at fotinichristophillis.com and on Instagram, twitter and Facebook @fotinistudio. I am actively posting new work and writing about my projects and activities. I have an upcoming interdisciplinary performance at David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee College of Music on July 12 at 3pm in collaboration with composer/vocalist Olga “OLYA” Kisseleva that incorporates original vocals and electronic music, video and live painting.
This coming fall on October 8 at 8pm in the Recital Hall 1A at Berklee College of Music, I will also present an interdisciplinary performance incorporating contemporary dance, original music for strings and piano and live painting in collaboration with composer Pedro Osuna Ardoy and choreographer Brian McGinnis.
My work can be viewed at my studio space in the South End. For inquiries and to arrange a studio visit, please contact me at email@example.com.
- Address: Studio: 59 Wareham St.
Boston, MA 02118
- Website: fotinichristophillis.com
- Phone: 843-709-1279
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @fotinistudio
- Facebook: @fotinistudio
- Twitter: @fotinistudio
- Other: fotinistudio.com