I came to know Cristina last year. We were introduced by a common friend, another architect! After meeting her over coffee one day, I discovered how much we have in common. We both went to architecture schools and although Cristina is still practicing architecture and I’m not, our similarities stretches well into our childhood and our upbringings. She is such a talented gal, a kind soul – a lady after my own heart if you will. Her talent and determination will take her far in life. I couldn’t help but interview her and share her amazing work with all of you! So, grab a cup of joe and read on!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Although I’m an architect, trained to design buildings and spaces, I am a designer by nature. Growing up, I have always designed my own clothes and jewelry, and I’ve been doodling for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used to draw women’s fashion outfits, making up both modern designs and a lot of elaborate fairy tale princess dresses. My professional training in architecture school only intensified my interest in design and drawing, and it helped me shape my own design process. I see that process emerge when I’m illustrating, as an added layer to my intuitive response to a subject. However, I engage at a much more personal and instinctive level while illustrating, which brings me to a relaxed, Zen-like state of mind. This is when I believe my creativity to be at its best, when my mind is open to its natural flow.
My illustration interest is mostly in fashion and portraiture at this point. I love drawing and painting my favorite fashion designs! When I’m trying to decide what I want to sketch, I am inspired by the lines in my subjects most of all. The posture of the model wearing the clothes, the flow of the clothes themselves, and sometimes dramatic lighting or a particular color are some of the things that catch my eye. I collect a lot of the images that inspire my illustrations from a variety of websites and blogs and save them in a library of subjects on Pinterest. And I look through a lot of magazines and fashion catalogs; they always get my creative juices flowing. I also love drawing portraits; it’s always so exciting to watch the likeness appear through the process.
I am also very inspired by two ladies who are very talented and who are illustrating successfully, Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion and Lauren Friedman of My Closet In Sketches, and by accomplished and creative Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio. I find it so exciting that they all managed to merge their personal interests and creative profession, one influencing the other! I am in awe by their abilities and success. I can’t wait to check for new posts from them on Pulse, Pinterest and Instagram daily, it’s literally one of the first things I do each morning after waking up! It’s something that inspires me to continue on my personal journey.
Yes and no. I haven’t had any formal training in drawing portraits or figure drawing. I’ve taken one general drawing class in college, and a couple of general interest watercolor classes at Truman College and the Art Institute in Chicago about a year or two ago. But as part of my architecture education, I have had to draw building designs and presentation drawings since the first year of college. And I’ve been drawing almost daily at work for the past 10 years. So I suppose all the architecture drawings I’ve done for the past 15 years or so have taught me a thing or two about proportion, hand-eye coordination and in general, being comfortable with a pen in my hand. But my non-architecture drawings are a lot more intuitive and unrestricted for me. They come from me and my very personal interests. I started my blog, almost 3 months ago, determined to sketch one drawing a day and to practice consistently. My intention is to apply the discipline from my architecture background to drawing and to keep growing as an illustrator, but not to lose that spontaneity and my connection to my core self.
That’s easy: my perfect day begins with an early morning run at the beach! The ocean beach, that is! There is nothing better to me than waking up early to experience the morning mist and the ocean salty, crisp air when there is hardly anyone at the beach! On a perfect day, I go for a run at the beach, follow it with a few yoga stretches on the sand, then shower and have a nice, healthy vegan breakfast. I then spend most of the day absorbed in drawing and painting in a clean and minimal space with lots of great lighting. In the evening, I emerge from my creative work, and I meet up with family or friends to have some fun and dinner at the end of the day. One of the things I’m interested in these days is more balance in my life. Taking time to do something healthy for my body and mind, then being completely immersed into creativity all day and finally emerging from it to connect with loved ones and to maintain the meaningful relationships in my life makes this a balanced, perfect day for me.
I like a variety of designers. For starters, I love Kate Spade and JCrew; they have very cute and accessible designs. But I am also very inspired by Prada, Victoria Beckham, Narciso Rodriguez, Balmain, Theory, Zac Posen, Prabal Gurung, Rodarte, Michael Kors and Gwen Stefani. I like minimalism, good lines and proportions (I am very aware of proportion, almost obsessed with it!), classic but edgy design, military-inspired styles, and the expression of structure in the construction of a garment. I guess this comes from my architecture background and from what attracted me to architecture in the first place. Or maybe I’ve always been attracted to all these things, maybe this is just who I am and who I’ve always been, and they are just what led me to architecture … For me, the lines between architecture and fashion are blurred. I often get inspired by one to design the other. Some of my favorite buildings that serve as inspiration were designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, Waro Kishi, Yoritaka Hayashi and Toyo Ito, just to name a few.
6. What makes you smile?
Lots of things: the moment I realize how much I’m enjoying something I’m doing, breathing in the ocean air, re-uniting with a loved one, a great big hug that never ends, reminiscing with my mom about the good ol’ times – which really leads to fits of laughter more than smiling, my two kitties, connecting with someone in an unexpected way, deep and personal sharing and connecting, the high after a good run, feeling sore after a good workout, planning a fun trip – hopefully to Italy, France, Japan, someplace with a beach … , actually travelling to any of these places, that feeling when I recognize my decisions are in synch with my heart and who I truly am (this also makes me take a really, really deep and satisfying breath, as if I have never breathed before), a yummy and simple vegan meal, sharing that good meal, getting excited about all the possibilities for my life and future, crossing something off my to-do list, that minute before I fall asleep when I’m in bed all content and happy, a well put together outfit in the morning … seeing my newest sketch pop up each day on my Pulse app and knowing I am sticking to my resolution and going after my dreams!
Follow Cristina’s amazing talent on her blog where she documents her illustrations daily.