To Top

Meet Christina Watkins of 19art81

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Watkins.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been the introvert. Lots of people assume that quiet people, don’t have much to say. Well my head was always swimming with ideas. Sometimes, it seemed like too many at a time. When I was younger, I always dreamed of having a “cool job”. I had no idea what that meant, but I wanted a briefcase. I came to Chicago in 2006 because living in Michigan was not where it was at for me. Upon my arrival, I was just awe struck by the skyscrapers. The “Sears Tower” was the ultimate symbol of Chicago. I made it I thought. Not even knowing remotely what was in store.

Has it been a smooth road?
I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. I worse time ever to graduate! Well at least in this generation. Just taking any jobs to pay the bills. I ate A LOT of noodles. I now hate them, but it taught me to keep grinding. If I gave up I wouldn’t be where I am now. This is top secret information but, I had a long bout with depression and anxiety. It kept me locked up from myself for years. I forgot what I liked. I felt completely hollow. I forgot what Chicago stood for. Honestly, 2017 was my breaking point. I took an art class and the rest is history.

I entered competitions and started showing my work. I had a piece hanging in a gallery in Brooklyn all last summer. I was floored. I kept submitting to various exhibitions, and eventually took creativity into my own hands and started 19art81. I needed more opportunity and needed to get the feeling that something was happening. Applying for shows is awesome, but I love momentum.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
November of 2017, I decided to host an art exhibition. I knew there were other artists out there that wanted to share their work. They wanted that get up and go.

I put out an artist call and people started applying. I looked into catering, a venue and so much more. My head was swimming with joy. The “19art81: Speakeasy Poetry & Storytime (Art Exhibition)” was born and was birthed March 2018. I am typing this the week of the event. I am beyond words, but I am here.

19art81 is about personality. I want to be the curator that you want to talk to. I just am really invested in the follow through of representing your brand wholly. The artist I work for is very vocal about liking how my “management” style is. I really attribute that to the positive supervisors I worked for. 19art81 is definitely a tribe. You treat your family with respect and honor.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Chicago is definitely a great city! Mainly because there are so many artists here. So, many different backgrounds. The chance to collaborate is off the charts and I love that. If someone was interested in being in this field, I would highly recommend deciding on if you like people. I almost liken to what I am doing as acting and exhibitions are movies. It is really beautiful to see people’s faces light up when they are engaged with art.

I love entertaining people, and working with others on the same wavelength is beneficial. Have a great team around you that is paramount.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in