Christopher, better known as Koko, has been an artist at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts for 5 years. Originally born in the Philippines, he grew up in Minneapolis, MN with his parents, younger brother, and beloved pets. As a young child, Koko became ill with a virus that caused encephalitis and long-term complications, resulting in developmental disabilities and seizures.
Koko is very much invested in the arts community, both inside and outside of Interact. In 2016 he was a member of Interact’s first Artist Advisory Council, a group of artists who meet once a month to discuss studio happenings and needs, as expressed to them by their peers. He is currently serving as a mentor to new council members. As a member of the council, Koko played a key role in hiring multiple new staff members. He is also a regular participant in Arts MN Arts Advocacy Day, community gardening, community theater, and a rock band. Within the studio, he is often one of the first friendly faces to greet new artists, staff, and visitors, and has a knack for finding common ground with everyone he meets, initiating warm and welcoming conversations.
Koko works mainly with drawing and painting mediums, including acrylic paint, watercolor, colored pencil, gel pens, and chalk pastel. He is always eager to try new mediums and techniques so he can incorporate them into his body of work, and has found particular success with ceramic and glass mosaic and SAORI weaving. Koko is inspired by a large range of musical genres and musical artists, although he doesn’t care for opera. He often derives titles for his pieces from songs he has listened to while creating that piece. Koko’s work is often focused on ethereal expressions of light, love, and peace, usually featuring barefoot, long-haired figures surrounded by music and the beauty of nature. His mosaic work is a study in how light and dark interact and affect each other, and is inspired by celestial bodies and creatures.