Christopher Quiñones discovered his passion for art while studying at St. Joseph’s College.
Quiñones graduated from SJC Brooklyn in 2018 after taking nearly every art course offered at SJC Brooklyn — far exceeding the minimum number of credits for a studio art minor. Some of his favorite SJC art classes included Crafts as an Art Form and Intro to Ceramics.
“The art department literally helped me build my foundation to fulfill the requirements necessary for me to apply for the MFA Studio Arts program at The City College of New York. [E.] Jane Beckwith and Amy Gartrell were the two instructors that pushed me, inspired me, and in turn, pushed my work into deeper considerations.”
After graduating from St. Joseph’s, Quiñones took master’s level art classes, worked part-time as a caregiver of children with developmental issues, and returned to his alma mater to help Council for the Arts Director Ramona Candy — another one of his SJC mentors — hang art exhibitions in the Alumni Room in Tuohy Hall for student shows.
Rising to the Top
Quiñones completed his MFA — an academic degree and the “terminal” professional degree for artists — in May. He credits his St. Joseph’s College professors for helping him find his path into the art world.
Quiñones wasn’t sure what he wanted to major in; he decided to pick up a studio art minor after meeting Beckwith, associate chair and associate professor of the Art Department, while working in the Physical Plant at SJC Brooklyn.
“My own interests drew me into taking classes in the arts,” Quiñones said. “And I already knew I liked and respected the artists that were teaching.”
In February, Quiñones invited Beckwith to watch him present his MFA thesis exhibit at The City College of New York. His thesis was about bodies that become absent in life and the impressions left behind, shown through the medium of dematerialized clothing and ceramics.
“I invited Jane because we had known each other for more than a decade, not just as a student and teacher, but as colleagues working in the same institution,” he said. “She and Amy believed in my work as an artist, but it was in their example that I could see myself as a teacher.”
Beckwith said the exhibit did an excellent job at capturing Quiñones’ sense of humor and his personal Puerto Rican heritage.
“It was very interesting and satisfying to see how Chris had built on his fascination with craft, prevalent in his artwork created during his studies at St. Joseph’s,” Beckwith said. “There was something haunting about Chris’ clothing ‘skeletons,’ the lack of cloth, the remaining seams and zippers from recycled garments … I talked with other visitors to the thesis exhibit at City College about how his choice to deconstruct common clothing items made us think of loss, but also to consider living inhabitants of the items.”