How are you feeling about painting in front of people?
Christina: “This is challenging for me because the only being that watches me paint is my dog and now, I will essentially be part of the orchestra in front of an audience. But in performing in front of an audience, we bring with us our years of experience. And when you lean on that, you know you’re going to be ok. Another beautiful aspect of this project that makes me feel at ease is the energy that I feel from others – like group meditation, there is a sense of belonging when you’re creating something together. Even as a solo person, when you start doing things with other people, there is an incredible power and energy from this.
“It’s funny because people have been asking me, ‘what are you going to wear?’ ‘What are you going to do with your hair?’ For me, the most important thing is to be comfortable so that the focus isn’t on me at all but on my art. My art is having its premiere with the orchestra. I’m most excited about seeing the culmination of the music and the art and to me, that means taking my ego out of it to let the work shine for itself.”
Talk to us a little bit about your process and inspiration as an artist:
Christina: “I don’t sketch work out beforehand…most of my work comes from the memory of growing up on Long Island and living on a sailboat for 10 years. I’ve been inspired by water my whole life, so this project really captures my experiences and inspiration. Those experiences are embedded in who I am so when I’m painting, I always feel that pull to the ocean or a body of water. And even though I’m living in a landlocked state and have for a long time, I find that my happy place is by the river or Lake Manawa. Crewing on sale boats this past summer has been great because as soon as I’m connected to the water, that’s where my serenity comes. Being in nature of any kind, fills the human spirit and in my case, it’s always been the water. But, even when I’m working on a waterfall, to someone else it can become an entryway or threshold and that’s the beauty of abstraction. My work can become anything in someone else’s eyes.”
Talk to us about your growth as an artist living in Omaha:
Christina: “As an artist, we’re always trying to find our voice and we’re always in the process of experimentation. Even now, I’m still evolving but the evolution has just become more refined over the years. It was so great to be part of the Bemis community because there were so many kinds of artists coming in and being around them has really shaped me. Those connections have always made me want to come back to Omaha. And now, my work is at UNMC and at the Children’s Hospital and I’m so glad that people can start to enjoy my work out in the community.”
How has this project changed your relationship to music or even to your own craft?
Christina: “At first, I thought this could be really cliché but then I listened to the piece and found that it has incredible depth. I already know I want to do this again and in a lot of ways, I hope that this becomes my thing. In a short period of time, this project opened my mind to the relationship of music and visual art and not only that but has changed the way that I listen to music. I go to the Jewell a lot because I love blues and jazz and I noticed that when I went the other night, I had a completely new experience while listening to a guitarist play. I’m experiencing music in a whole new way so I’m excited to see how this can continue to evolve. It hasn’t been explored as much as it should, and I could not be more enthusiastic about this opportunity. I’m also incredibly flattered and humbled by all the attention. It proves that my work is valid and valuable, and I look forward to sharing it with you all on stage.”