Redux Studio Artist Tina Christophillis is exhibiting her first solo show, Tina Christophillis: Paintings and Drawings, at the main office of The Coastal Community Foundation in downtown Charleston now thru April 1st. This figurative body of work consists of oil paintings and mixed media drawings that reflect her personal journey as an artist. As a former dancer, improvisational movement plays a strong role in her work.
Tina is a committed artist and she teaches figure drawing classes weekly at the Redux. Her radiant energy serves as an inspiration to her students, colleagues and blog followers. We recently interviewed Tina and here’s what she had to say.
What is your full name? My full name is Fotini Christophillis. I was named after my grandmother who immigrated to the US before WW II. The name Fotini means light. I feel this represents the intent of my work.
You were a dancer in NY before you became a painter. What made you decide to become a painter? I arrived at a place in my life where I felt called to pursue an arts management degree at the College of Charleston. I knew deep inside that I would become an artist, but it wasn’t until getting into studio art classes in college that I saw this gift surface. I had an inspiring painting professor, and realized that this is who I am and what I would do. It chose me. There was not a doubt in my mind when I came to this recognition.
What motivates you? Doing the work and a need to reach something greater. An inner impulse and a knowing that I have something to say that can not come out in any other way.
Favorite Artist? Alberto Giacometti. I’m inspired by the unwavering obsession and authenticity that emerged in his work for no other reason than his personal need and drive.
Is writing an important part of your artistic process? Writing has always been part of my life. It is a way of sorting out the insights and ideas that come to me. A daily writing ritual is very useful to me. It gets out all the garbage and, sometimes the gems, in my mind. Then I can get up and get busy, see what I’m doing with clarity. It is very important to my process.
In your blog, you openly write about your artistic/personal journey. You talk about setting intentions as an artist, moving past negative thinking, and often reflect on beauty and inspiration. Can you tell us how you got started? One day I just started blogging. I find it helps me see bits of truth clearly, in my own way. I’m teaching myself as my inner workings unfold. I seek to communicate this with an audience and develop a relationship. I’m interested in a dialogue that goes beyond the finished painting on the wall. It’s a journey, both epic and challenging. It’s a story, a way of life, full of daily discoveries. Writing helps me see all of this, check in with myself and understand things from a different perspective.
Favorite author and/or book? Marrianne Williamson is my favorite author. I love everything she says. Her book, “A Return to Love”, has been by my side for a long time.
When presenting your artwork or writings you often say, I hope you feel safe. Can you tell us why? The idea of “safety” has been on my mind since I started painting. I think so often people are afraid of the power and feeling within them. So many people have the ability to create with great depth and beauty. But also just as often we are told not to, or perhaps that it doesn’t matter. It is my hope with my work and my life, that I inspire other people to create and express their truth. This “safety” is the creation of this space to do so.
Favorite quote? Art is either plagiarism or revolution. -Paul Gauguin
Tell us about your figurative drawing classes at the Redux? The independent figure drawing class is every Sunday from 5-7, year round, except on major holidays. It’s $10 drop-in rate and all levels and materials are welcome. The advanced figure drawing class is every Thursday from 10:30-1:30. In this class we work from a live model for 3 hours, beginning with shorter poses and ending with a long pose. It is for students who have more experience working with the figure and want to hone a style and personal vision.
Favorite phrase? Let’s start a revolution!