MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ -  Theodora Chrysanthopoulos,  2019 Gov. Livingston High School graduate from Mountainside, recently won a contest for her artwork celebrating the Year of the Ox for the Lunar New Year. The backdrop is currently displayed at The Mills at Jersey Gardens mall in Elizabeth, NJ and will be on display Feb. 9 - 28 on the upper level of the mall right outside the food court. 

Chrysanthopoulos said her piece on display is not named. “I often don’t name my pieces,” she said. “I think names give a certain impression to the viewer, and I want people to view my work for what it is -- for what they see and nothing else.”

Chrysanthopoulos' love of crafting came at a young age. “When I was young I played with clay and sculpted little figurines out of them of birds and fish and the like,” she said. She credits her art teachers Lynn Slotkin at Deerfield School and Neil Korn at Gov. Livingston High School for influencing her work. “Mrs. Slotkin introduced me to Zentangles, and I still see it influencing a vast majority of my work,” she said. “In my piece for Chinese New Year, the gold stripes and patterns adorning the ox still come from that distant time. And Mr. Korn let me run free with my work, and allowed me to continue exploring my abilities.”

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“The mediums I work with include ink, sculpture, and what I hold most dearly to me, the pencil sketchbook --- but I’m eager to study all things. I recently took a liking to blending with water-based marker,” Chrysanthopoulos told TAPinto. Her strengths are animals and organic forms.

She is currently a student at the University of Arts in Philadelphia where she is pursuing her passion for art. “I’m taking classes not only to fulfill my Illustration major, but also for my personal projects,” she said. “I’m taking classes such as ‘Character’, where we learn what it takes to make a memorable character for a story. It’s aimed for screenwriting students, but I feel like I could benefit from that since I’ve got plenty of stories with characters I wish to work with.” 

Celebrate the Year of the Ox and stop by The Mills at Jersey Gardens and take a photo in front of Chrysanthopoulos' custom Lunar New Year backdrop.

The program at The Mills at Jersey Gardens was supported and coordinated by the Elizabeth Renaissance Foundation in conjunction with the City of Elizabeth, EDMO and The Mills at Jersey Gardens. Click here to learn more about the Elizabeth Renaissance Foundation.