Art has always been a very healing process for me. I need to create to feel more centered, to feel more connected to myself and to the world. I do abstract painting and I have different styles. My geometric artwork shows the part of me that’s very analytical and very perfectionist, almost a little crazy perfectionist. A little OCD, and I love it but it’s very time consuming. It’s such a different process from my other more fluid artwork because my other style is very passionate, spontaneous, I let myself free and I feel like a kid.It’s very fun and playful.
Does abstract art allow you to more easily connect, or does it create a barrier?
Absolutely both. I believe that with abstract art you are able to connect on a deeper sense faster. It’s like a language that speaks straight to your soul. To me abstract art is very spiritual, it’s very deep and profound. I feel like it’s a mysterious language but at the same time very well known to people who are connected to themselves. It’s interesting because you don’t need words, you don’t need to explain anything. Also, there are people who look at abstract art who don’t understand it. Or people who want to know the story behind the painting. To me if I need to tell a story about my painting then my painting is not enough. I shouldn’t have to tell my story with words. Or when people see or want to see figurative things in my artwork I’m like… you can see whatever you want to see, but there is no mountain, there is no lake, there is nothing. And there is everything.
Do you feel like you are able to bring that sense of ambiguity into other parts of your life?
I’m a living contradiction for sure. And a big one sometimes. I think this world is that way. Everything is ambiguous and vague, the barriers and borders are not well-defined. That’s the beauty of it. There’s a margin, and in that there’s communication between different worlds.
We live in a society that really doesn’t want that marginal space.
Because it makes you think. It makes you question yourself and what you do. They don’t like that because they don’t want to question themselves. But I think that’s where growth happens. I think questioning yourself is a very important and valuable thing to do. You can question yourself and say yeah I still feel that way. Sometimes we’re just in this automatic life mode. And we have to touch base with ourselves because otherwise we just keep living a life that we don’t even know if we want to live anymore because we don’t have time to reflect and make the changes that will make our lives more meaningful and authentic.
In feedback, have you figured out what to take seriously, and what to let go of?
I think for an artist it can be a little hard sometimes to take feedback because art is really personal and intimate. It’s a piece of you. Sometimes you have to protect yourself a little but I do think it’s important to take into consideration what people say and feel with your art because at the end of the day art is a dialogue. Of course, like everything in life, you take what you think you can use and everything else that’s not useful or doesn’t apply to you, you can be like thank you for your comment, but I won’t do anything about it.
It’s a process to get there.
I know and that’s not easy. Sometimes there are things that still get to me and I'm like why is this getting to me? This shouldn’t have the power to upset me but I guess you give that power to those comments or people sometimes. As I mentioned before, I think feedback is important to keep art alive and interactive because art is a form of communication.
Do you think that the artist’s personal story is important to the art?
Yes, definitely. I think it helps people understand where the artist is coming from. It doesn’t mean they are going to understand the artist, because they haven’t lived what the artist has lived but I think if they understand a little bit of the context of how, when, where and why that person produced what they produced, that helps a lot. That’s very different from the story of a painting, and I think people get confused with that. It helps understand better the situation, the struggles, frustrations, hopes and dreams of the artist and the artist’s time.
Do you feel like you’re performing a service for society?
Um. That’s a very interesting question. You know as an artist I've always felt selfish. And I think many people have said that to me in some way. There’s this idea society has that artists are selfish, that they are just talking about themselves, that they are not in the real world where money is and where normal life is. And I disagree you know, it is true that sometimes artists are people who are very self-centered. But I think it’s part of the job. It’s like an accountant that needs to be focused on numbers. An artist needs to be focused too. The artist focuses on other things, such as emotions, deep thoughts, philosophies, love, pain, tragedy, life, etc. So an artist has to be feeling deeply, has to be listening to themselves, it just comes with the job of being an artist. Some people in society think that artists are selfish because they think so much about themselves and their emotions. But you know what? Our emotions are universal emotions. It’s not just my emotion, it’s the emotion that a lot of people in the world feel and have felt for thousands of years. To be connected to that, it’s amazing. Nothing great and worthwhile in this world has ever happened without art. Art is an essential part of everything. Socio-economics, the society, history, culture. Art plays a very important role in all of those things. So, yes artists do a service to humanity because artists show things that people don’t want to see. We are brave. We don’t have rules, we don’t have so many restrictions, there are not so many things that we can’t do. We can say so much, and we do. We are the ones who are always pointing out what’s wrong, what is not going well. Everything. We look at everything. Without us humanity would be very lost.
What do you hope to impart to somebody who is viewing one of your pieces?
I hope that they feel something, I hope that they feel alive when they see my pieces. I would like to be able to move them with my art. In this world there are so many people that are afraid of being in contact with their emotions. I've talked to a couple of people that have said to me “I'm closed off to any negative emotions”… and I've told them that I think that if you are closed off to negative emotions, unfortunately you’re also closed off to the positive emotions as well because you can’t pick and choose when it comes to feeling, you either open up and feel deeply or you don’t. There are some people who are still on the surface of their being because they don’t want to feel hurt. I feel like they are missing the human experience because they are afraid of getting burned, afraid of so much. And I know, it is easier that way, it is safer but it is not the full picture.
How do you feel the arts are generally received in this culture as opposed to in Spain?
In Spain and in Europe, we have a long history of modern and contemporary art. And here, well, the art scene in Denver has changed a lot in the last 9 years. When I came to Denver 9 years ago and started going to different places to exhibit or see art exhibits, I felt like I was in a very traditional cowboy cowgirl state when it came to art, in which a lot of the art was like buffaloes, horses, cowboys and their lifestyle. I started getting very concerned. I was like I don’t think I came to live in the right state. I was feeling very and discouraged but as I said, Denver has changed a lot and it is now more receptive to more contemporary and abstract art.
Society doesn’t take artists very seriously in general everywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter where you are, you say that you are an artist and people say - oh that’s cool, do you also have a job? Do you work? They don’t take it as a job, and again it’s because they don’t understand, they are not artists, they don’t know what being an artist is like. They don’t understand that this is the process of a lifetime, being an artist.
It’s everyday, paying attention everyday.
You never stop being an artist. You know like the accountant is an accountant and when the accountant gets home, he’s done being an accountant, he’s not an accountant anymore. But artists, it’s hard to get home and be like okay I'm not an artist anymore I'm not going to feel now for the rest of the day.
What’s the greatest thing that art has ever done for you?
I think feeling free. If I'm very deep into the zone I am in this meditative space. Sometimes when I'm very deep into it I feel like I don’t exist anymore. My human being, doesn’t exist anymore, I feel everywhere, I feel united with my piece. That’s an amazing feeling, it’s almost like death, in a sense is like the death of the ego. You disappear. When you get back from that experience it’s like wow, there’s so much that you can’t explain, this mystery, this beauty that is so essential. Life is like that, it’s a mystery.
There was something I read the other day that I thought was very interesting. It says artists are children that survived. I thought that it was so right on. They survived the process of becoming an adult. We survived. And I think that is why people don’t like us sometimes, they think we are not serious, that we are playing around, because we are playing around. But we’re playing around with very important stuff. I feel like that is very important, to always be a child, to always be connected to being honest and being yourself. To be honest and playful. I think honesty is something very important that a lot of people are not comfortable with. Some people think I am not nice because I'm honest and direct, and they are not used to that. Especially here in this country. People here go around the bush a lot. I think there is almost an obligation in this country to be nice all the time and that is impossible. When I go back to Spain people are rude sometimes and it’s refreshing. I'm not going to say it makes you feel good and it is nice, it’s not nice. It’s uncomfortable but it’s the truth, that’s how that person feels at that specific moment. There is something about being resilient and open to all that we are as human beings. In Spain they say no to you all the time. You go to a place and ask for a normal thing and they’re like, no we ’re not going to do that and they don’t explain to you why. When people say no to you, there is a part of you that wants to fight that wants to find other possible solutions. There is a part of you that is looking for an alternative. That makes you stronger. Here in the US, we almost never have that opportunity, because here, they’re always going to help you look for a solution, try to basically solve your life and make it easy for you. So you don’t have to try harder, you don’t have to get creative, and fight for what you want. When you hear no so many times, it helps you be more resilient and to be an advocate for yourself and others too.
-Cristina Del Hoyo