Artist makes CLC temporary “Home”

Artist in Residence Cristina Chopalli paints at CLC Published August 14, 2023

College of Lake County (CLC) is expanding its approach to the arts with its first artist-in-residence, Mundelein-native Cristina Chopalli. She is one of four artists showing works at “Home,” the upcoming fall art exhibition Aug. 25 to Sept. 21 in the Robert T. Wright Gallery of Art at the college’s Grayslake Campus.

Chopalli always knew she’d create art. After getting her master’s in fine arts degree in creative writing, her method was originally supposed to be through words. After graduating, she began writing a memoir and traumatic parts became difficult for her to write. So, she paused the project and turned to painting.

With no formal training, Chopalli soon entered her paintings for gallery exhibitions and made it her full-time career. Her paintings feature layers of brightly colored acrylic paints, overlapping together to form familiar shapes and figures with bold lines. She says she’s always surprised by what she finds in the paint.

“The sprawling canvas fills with colors, movement and joy,” Chopalli says about her latest painting. “After a couple of hours, the colors and shapes enter into a meditative flow and combinations blossom.”

Chopalli describes her work as intuitive. She starts by painting what she feels without overthinking it. Many of her works come to her during meditation or in a dream.

As an artist-in-residence, Chopalli set up her art studio at CLC’s Grayslake Campus. She has a number of works in the exhibition, but the one she’s creating during her residency at CLC is wider than she is tall, bursting with colors and organic shapes. Along with the opportunity to showcase her work, Chopalli has enjoyed her time at CLC because she has the chance to speak to interested students about her work and their career goals.

“I enjoy exchanging thoughts on all types of art with college students and faculty who stop by while I work,” Chopalli said. “I'm hopeful to have a good variety of my work together because it really has a collective narrative. When people see my work, for me, what's important is that they find whatever it is that they're looking for. There is not just one message or right or wrong.”

The opening reception is Friday, Aug. 25 from 5:30-7 p.m. Artists Taehoon Kim, Michael Litewski and Ilse Miller will also share their personal visions of home.

"The ‘Home’ exhibition offers a diverse group of artists with unique takes on the metaphorical idea of home,” said Art Gallery Curator Ann Rintz. “It features non-objective, abstract and realistic art by four artists of various backgrounds and at different stages of their creative careers. I find that diversity creates a more dynamic exhibition."

Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.