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Meet Christopher Capoyianes of Green Door in Pilsen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christopher Capoyianes.

Christopher, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from SAIC (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) in the Spring of 2016. Before I went there, I was a little lost and wasn’t sure what to do with my life (not that I have it figured out now). I met a painting instructor at the community college I was going to who coincidentally also taught at SAIC in the summers.

Throughout the course we talked about programs at the school, artists we were into, how he sometimes DJ’ed there, and things to do in the city. I applied almost right after that class was through, moved to Uptown, just a street over from the Green Mill, and lived there with a few other students. I had originally planned to get a teaching degree; I was thinking too practical. But the more studio classes I took, I just found myself completely absorbed into the painting department. The faculty was great, in fact some teachers were the first friends I made at school. It was a bit hard meeting people at first as a transfer student.

Since the painting courses I was in started to get more and more concentrated, I was finally able to build really great relationships with other students in the same department- and that’s where I met a dear friend, Amadeo Morelos. Amadeo and I began looking for a studio after we graduated and we found a spot at 1932 s Halsted, in Pilsen. We never set out to be a gallery and still do not consider our place as one. Green Door is first and foremost our studio where we wanted to continue our practice. Having said that though, the building opens up every 2nd Friday of each month for a sort of “Open House”. Seeing as that we couldn’t make new work for each month to show, we were kind of thrilled about the idea of starting a cooperative space where we can show fellow artists we knew and liked. We wanted to show sculptures, have screenings, have people come in and DJ, and of course put on painting shows. So far, we’ve only done a handful of those things, but we are learning as we go. It’s our first year at the place. We do as much as we can, but there’s always this anxiety that more can be done.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nope. It’s never really a smooth road (laughs). Amadeo and I are quite clean, and we work exceptionally well together. We agree on almost everything, and that is hands down something I thank the stars for at night. However, our time management isn’t the best ever. There’s been times we’ve just finished hanging a show minutes before people had showed up. Also, at first- and not so much anymore, people would come into the space, grab a beer, and not do so much as glance at the work. That’s a bummer. And this shit isn’t cheap! Between rent, supplies, and this and that, were usually afraid of both time and money. But who isn’t I guess. Were lucky enough to have a great group of people that usually return more than once and bring something to share- we’ve had beer, mezcal, boxed wine, etc. walk through the door. When that started happening, both Amadeo and I had a really warm feeling. That really felt good.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Green Door story. Tell us more about the business.
I wouldn’t call us a business or a company by any means. Were a studio and cooperative space, and that I’d say were quite proud of. Starting out and only looking to get a studio in the first place, I think were both a little surprised that we’ve done as much as we have already. The place isn’t that big, about 500 square ft. Besides it being our studio, it’s sort of this mentality of, “How much can we do with an empty room? With nothing in it besides a desk and a sink?”

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’re very fortunate in that we went to school with so many talented people. Sure, its competitive, but so rewarding to be connected to people who are just as ambitious and involved in some form of expressing themselves through interesting work. I mentioned earlier we’ve only done a handful of what we have running through our heads. So as time goes on, were eager to try and make everything work, to check off some of the things we haven’t yet done- we talk often of having more screenings and music happening.

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