Monism and others
Hohe Luft, a German magazine about philosophy, recently commissioned me to illustrate 4 of their topics.
The illustrations aim to deal with the complex ethical issue that arose out of Boston Bombing Suspect deaths. They also touch on sensationalism and mass media control in dictating our cultural narrative.
The Drawing Book Studios recently interviewed me about the process of coming up with the illustrations. Read the interview here:
Step Inside Cristina’s Conceptual Mind and Illustrations
Cristina’s work is always thought provoking and allegorical, with intriguing characters and worlds confronting the lucky and often bewildered audience. Her most recent illustrations for Hohe Luft (High Air) Magazine, a German Philosophy Journal, published by Inspiring Network, are beautiful and bizarre. The illustrations aim to deal with the complex ethical issue that arose out of Boston Bombing Suspect deaths. They also touch on sensationalism and mass media control in dictating our cultural narrative. We asked Cristina to talk us through her process and ideas…
What is your conceptual process like for these types of illustrations? How do you come up with these ideas?
I start by researching more in depth about the concept or text I am illustrating to understand the cultural background. I then start sketching and exploring the concept by drawing, coming up with different representations until the “right one” comes up. In some illustrations this process takes longer than in others, sometimes the visual image comes to me very quickly before I even do the research and sometimes I spend long time “dissecting” the concept until the image appears.
Is this process different from other projects?
It’s always a very similar process but other commissions can be more constricted. I often work with art directors and clients that have set expectations of what they would like from me. So I need to get a very good understanding of what they are after before setting up to work. Hohe Luft was a great client that allowed me to illustrate with complete freedom, setting out the perfect scenario for me to be very personal in my executions.
When illustrating, do you sometimes struggle for ideas? If so, how do you overcome that?
Yes, of course.In this project, the illustration about Tamerlan Tsarnaev was particularly challenging! I had to illustrate the fact that his body was waiting to be buried for more than 2 weeks because no one wanted to bury a (suspected) bomber.
I spent a long time researching such a controversial subject. I read about the Boston bombs and discovered different versions of what happened. Thoughts and discussions about Society, life, death, law, crime, etc., came up, both in the internet and in discussions with friends. Every time I started drawing I thought I would never come up with the visual representation I was after. But luckily, the timings for the job weren’t too tight so I had enough time to take it easy, focus on something else and let the unconscious work out the solution until one day the image came to me from out of the blue.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
I love coming up with the visual metaphor because of the conceptual challenge and what I learn about the themes I illustrate. But the final execution in ink is also a fascinating process. Once the concept has been approved, if the brief allows, I draw the illustration by ink making sure I have no mistakes like in the old times before computers.
What themes or concepts inspire your work?
Nowadays I feel there is a lack of Mythological images to help us going through life and understanding its mysteries. Growing up in a Catholic country felt like religion is not so present in people’s life anymore and it’s icons haven’t evolved to fit our contemporary necessities. And then the images that are very present in our lives have no real depth, they are often mass-produced adverts and we are constantly bombarded by them.
When exploring my inner world it feels like I am creating my own Mythological universe to help me through life. I hope that by creating that for myself I am somehow helping others too.
Are there any running metaphors in your artwork?
My work is very symbolic even though it’s not my intention when I am creating it. I have always searched for alternative realities by creating impossible characters in combination with exploring themes related to time: memories, the passage of time, unfulfilled wishes and the acceptance of the present.
I am now exploring the creation of new realities without that focus in the past. So I am working with new shapes and imagery. The illustrations I did for Hohe Luft magazine have a bit of this new aesthetic in them.