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Finland native Christel Minotti follows dream of being painter
Atlanta resident has pieces on display at Quinlan Visual Arts Center
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Christel Minotti’s artwork is a part of the show “Seeing is Believing” and is on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center as part of its Winter Exhibitions through Feb. 20.

Quinlan Winter Exhibitions
When: Through Feb. 20
Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville
Cost: Free
More info: www.quinlanartscenter.org/winter-exhibitions-2016-2017.html

Born in Finland, Christel Minotti moved to the United States when she was 18 years old, all with her love of art in mind.

“I came over here to go to college and major in art,” Minotti said.

Receiving a scholarship from Furman University, Minotti attended the college in Greenville, S.C., for two years before transferring to and graduating from Clemson University with a degree in French and art and a minor in education. This allowed her to share her love of art with young people.

“I taught on high school level for three years in both of those subjects,” she said.

Although she settled for a teaching career with an emphasis in art, Minotti’s true desire was to paint. But she didn’t think she could make that her full-time profession.

“I loved it (art) at school and I definitely was going to find some kind of career (in it),” she said. “But at that time, I thought teaching was the only way. I did not even think about a career in painting and just being a painter. Just the whole business of art was kind of foreign to me.”

Minotti has planned to do art in her free time, but life got in the way.

“I didn’t really have time to do my art,” she said. “I did a little bit at home, but I had a child and took care of my home.”

Then in the early 1970s, Minotti moved to Atlanta and eventually found her place as an artist.

“A little bit later on, I decided I was totally going to devote myself to painting because that was really my heart’s desire — to be an artist instead of teaching,” she said.

Minotti took art classes with different teachers and landed in a group of artists who shared studio spaces.

“It was almost like a co-op thing,” she said.

Since then, Minotti has been in several galleries throughout the years with showings in areas such as Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

“My career started from small, little steps and later on I started getting into galleries,” she said. “It’s very interesting how an art career starts like a little ripple and then it spreads and it gets bigger and bigger.”

Now 73 years old, Minotti said she’s “at a point right now that (she’s) kind of pulled back a bit and slowed down.”

But she’s still works and shows her pieces, including most recently at the Quinlan Visual Art Center in Gainesville. Minotti is a part of the center’s Winter Exhibitions, which will run until Feb. 20.

Minotti explained her piece in Gainesville is inspired by color and letting it speak.

“Often it’s a matter of starting, starting with color on the canvas.” she said. “Then it begins to develop and evolve from there. I think one of the most important aspects with my paintings is color because they’ve always been very colorful.”

As for the pieces at the Quinlan, Minotti explained they weren’t made specifically for the show, but her focus on color was still evident.

“It is the abstract expression, and the movement of the color in the painting and just the movement itself,” she said. “Abstract paintings are very energetic, especially if you have color in them. They become very energetic and full of life.”

Minotti’s artwork is a part of the show “Seeing is Believing” and is on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center as part of its Winter Exhibitions through Feb. 20. For more information, visit www.quinlanartscenter.org/winter-exhibitions-2016-2017.html.

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