Chelsea Theodossis Extraordinarily Depicts The Ordinary

The artist’s works are filled with everyday objects from her own life, each piece a testament to the honesty and passion she pours into her creative process.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s April 2023 Issue. 

Chelsea Theodossis’ art depicts ordinary everyday things in the most extraordinary way. When one views this artist’s work, the sense of wonder and excitement is immense despite the fact that ironically, the subjects of her paintings are incredibly ordinary and can be summarized in two words: books and paper. A lot of books and paper. 

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Chelsea Theodossis with one of her works
Chelsea Theodossis standing in front of one of her works

The intrigue that this sparks naturally led to the question as to why she chose these particular items to paint. Her answer is honest and direct and pulls at one’s heartstrings more than just a little. 

ART IN THE EVERYDAY 

“I have attachments to things. I think it started when my mother constantly had to leave us for months of work abroad. I admire her for being so brave and strong. Everything she put in the balikbayan box for me I hold dearly thinking that those are the reasons why she has to leave. In school, I used hand-me-down textbooks. I dread opening the seatwork part in the classroom because it’s already answered. I always wish they’re blank. Our neighbor had a landline. My mother would call us once a week overseas. I can only prepare certain things to say to her since the call is short and expensive. So, I would always write her long letters for the stories we can’t afford to tell over the phone. I always wish I no longer need to write letters. It could be the reason behind blank books and papers I usually depict in my works out of intuition. I want to think I’ve already outgrown all these, but I still have a hard time disposing of things. So, I paint them as a way to say goodbye while attempting to preserve the memory they hold. Thus, the random mundane things in my paintings. I guess my subconscious is somehow stuck to it and it evolves in unexpected ways,” she explains, her train of thought somehow like a self-realization that is both candid and heartbreaking at once. 

Chelsea Theodossis with one of her works

Theodossis’ paintings are making quite a stir these days and her name is mentioned in many conversations about emerging artists. Naturally, the question arises, how did she discover her talent in painting and art? She humbly replies, “I’m not sure about talent, but I know I had overflowing interest and curiosity that urged me to draw, paint and build things from scrap over and over until I got good at it. Good enough that people around me can’t ignore it. My grandmother provided me with used bottles, sticks and old textbooks to make art from, my parents enrolled me in art workshops, and my school teachers had me compete in art competitions. I think I was around 10 years old when I first spent a huge amount of time staring at the sky thinking of what colors I should use to put the sky on my paper. I wondered how I could put everything I see onto my sketch pad so I could have a compilation of the beach, highways, trees, even the stones I come across when we travel as a family. All these because I saw paintings in my aunt, and grandmother’s house. They made me realize that we can actually bring home a piece of street, park, and even storm in the form of a painting. I couldn’t get over the fact that putting colors beside another can produce an illusion of depth of fur, water, air, leaves, light and can even produce a sense of softness, warmth, age, solidity, and presence,” she gushes.

House of Unknown Tales by Chelsea Theodossis
House of Unknown Tales (2020, oil on canvas)/Photo from Ysobel Art Gallery

SUCCESS CAN BE QUIET TOO 

Obviously, these experiences have paid off in terms of making Theodossis the talented artist that she is today. While many artists years older than she are striving for recognition and success, she seems to have already achieved this. When asked what she owes this success to, Theodossis waxes philosophical, yet again the air of humility shines through in her words.

Diaries of Unwritten Souls by Chelsea Theodossis
Diaries of Unwritten Souls (2020, oil on canvas)/Photo from Ysobel Art Gallery

“Success, as we all know it, is relative. Some artists may be discreet but enormously fulfilled. A quiet success is still success. Trying other fields made me realize I feel awfully displaced when I’m not in the field of art. The struggles of keeping a great work ethic are the price I’m so willing to pay to stay where I feel I most belong. I understand not everyone is in a conducive situation and a lot of things really must align, but what I know I can control is I can always prepare myself to be ready when the lightning of opportunity strikes. I still have a long way to go,” she admits. 

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia April 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader. 

Photos by Excel Panlaque of Kliq, Inc.

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