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  • Writer's pictureCristinaCasillasArt

I was interviewed by sixth grade children from Mexico.

Dear Art lover,

Last week I was interviewed by sixth grade children from Jaime Torres Bodet Elementary School in Mexico. I will like to share through this article, my experience as well as some of the questions they asked me. The whole interview was in Spanish, but I will translate some of my answers to English.

The children were around 11 and 12 years old, and were curious not only about my art, but also my journey as an artist and specially about my life as an expat in Amsterdam coming from Mexico and my travels since I left my home country.

I truly hope you enjoy this article and find some inspiration, not only from my answers but also from the questions of these smart and talented kids.

About my art works and art journey...

For how long have you been painting and drawing?

I have drawn since I learned how to hold the pencil and colors. I can not tell you the exact age because I do not remember it. When I was a kid I used to draw and paint because I loved it and to entertain myself. When I was a teenager I took painting and drawing courses and I could say here is when I learned art techniques.

In the last years of senior high school and the five years of college, I never stopped drawing and painting, because I will use this skill for my school projects.

When and how did you discover your talent?

I guess since I was kid. I don't think I would have seen my drawings and said to myself: "I am so good at it", but I guess my parents noticed it, and took me to art classes. In fact, my mom made me take classes of everything, but drawing and painting were the ones I liked.

I think I realized about my talent when I started participating in art contest when I was in elementary school, and won one of them.

Who inspired you to follow your dream of being an artist?

I could say that right before I started sharing my art in my social media in October 2020, I was inspired by Amanda Oleander. Not because of her art, because her style is completely different than mine, but more because of the fact that she believed in her work and shared it in social media. I discovered her illustrations in 2018, and since then I had the thought: "I want to be like her", but it was only until 2020, when I finally gave it a try.

How do you free your feelings while painting?

What a difficult question to answer. I do not believe art is about freeing your feelings, at least not my art work, but more about using those feelings and emotions to create something. I guess I do that by concentrating a lot in what I am doing. I do not think any of my paintings were made in a very free and non thinking kind of style.

Which is the painting that took you longer and required more dedication, and the one you have liked the most?

The one that took me longer is an oil cityscape painting I made of Amsterdam, and it took me a long time because it is a bigger than what I usually paint. The painting I have liked the most is a an oil portrait I made of my partner, and I like it because I believe I was able to truly capture his sight.

What kind of materials do you use and what steps do you follow to make your paintings?

Watercolor: To paint with watercolor I use 2 kinds of brush, the thicker one to wet the paper and the smaller one for everything else. I used a special watercolor paper, that is around 300 grs, and I usually like to paint on size A4 (21X30cm).

Oil: To paint with oil, I usually use wooden panels or canvas. When I paint on wood, I need to prime the panel first and for this I use white gesso. You can paint with oil on different kind of surfaces, even normal paper, as long as you primed it first.

Gouache: I paint with gouache on watercolor paper, but I primed it with gesso first. This is not a rule and not everyone does this, but I like to do it because I feel the paint runs more smoothly.

Lately, I have been drawing with oil pastels, and I have liked it a lot. I find very practical to paint with oil pastels outside than taking all the mediums I need to paint with oil.

What advice would you give us to draw?

To do it everyday, and research how to draw and paint if you feel insecure about it at the beginning. Also, to study the big artist, like Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, for inspiration.

About my background...

Why did you study architecture?

I could give you many reasons, but I will focus only on 3. The first one is that I was always good in math and always loved art, and I thought by becoming an architect I could have both.

The second reason is that, since I was kid I always like to draw floor plans of all the houses I visited, like my aunt's houses and my own. Because of that, people used to tell me: "you are so good at drawing, you should study architecture", and I guess those kind of things stuck with me and the idea of being an architect was always present in my thoughts.

And last but not least, I always thought architects have a very cool job. As an architect you have many responsibilities with the environment and society. Also, I always dreamed with seeing one of my designs built and know that one part of me will live forever.

Besides Architecture, what else have you study?

I finished my Master in Visual Arts and Education in 2018. I decided to do this master because I wanted to focus my career towards the art field.

Not about art, but my travels and expat life...

Would you go back to live in Mexico?

Maybe in a very far future and if I have a very important reason to go back. The truth is, I believe life is short, and I already lived in Mexico for 26 years of my life. Now I am 30 years old, I have only being away for 4 years, and I plan to see the whole world. I want to live in the 7 continents, and I have only lived in 2. I want to see the 7 wonders of the world, and so far I have only seen the one in Mexico (Chichen-Itza).

How did the idea of leaving your country was born?

I decided I did not want to live in my home town when I was 22 years old, after I came back from living in Guanajuato, Mexico for six months, as an exchange student. I used to share apartment with foreigner students, from France, Spain and Argentina. That was the first time the thought of living in a different country, as my roommates were doing, has crossed my mind.

Since that experience, I started looking for options that will help me move to a different country, and doing my masters in Barcelona, Spain was one of them.

Have you felt desperate for not being able to see your family during the pandemic?

Not desperate, but maybe a little bit helpless. Although, I visited my family right before the pandemic started in Mexico, and then I had to stay there longer than I planned because the flights got cancelled. Hence, I did spend a big part of the lockdown with my parents and it has not been that long since I saw then.

How do you manage to be away from your family?

I am not really sure, I guess, there comes a time in life when you have to do certain things for yourself. Besides, when I left my parents house I was already 26 years old. Since I left, they have traveled to Barcelona to see me, and I visited them in Mexico last year. Also, we talked over the phone once a week and send messages to each other every other day.

What kind of advice would you give to us, now that we are going to junior high school?

To always give yourself the time and space to discover your talents and to polish them. Try to learn something new everyday.

Photo of the video call with the children.

The video call with the children was a very pleasant experience for me and for them. I love the idea of being able to contribute to the development of their talents and try to be a role model for them, as I must have had one when I was kid, just learning how to paint.

Also, It makes me very happy that even thought I am outside of Mexico, my art work is also present in my home country.

2 commentaires

29 mai 2021

Gracias Cristina por participar con nosotros en la entrevista. Muchas gracias por esa videollamada tan agradable y por compartir con nosotros tus experiencias como artista de una forma natural y sencilla. Mis alumnos y yo nos sentimos muy contentos y orgullosos de tu trabajo y de todo lo que haces! Seguiremos en contacto! Saludos y

31 mai 2021
En réponse à

Hola Ivonne,

Muchas gracias por tu comentario, y gracias a ti por invitarme a participar e inspirar a tus alumnos.

Saludos y abrazos!


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