We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristi López and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristi, what role has risk played in your life or career?
One of the biggest professional and personal risks I’ve taken was moving from my home state of Florida to Chicago in early 2017, about six months after graduating from college. I had spent months and months applying to jobs in vain, and eventually decided it was time to put myself somewhere and make it happen. I wasn’t sure what “it” was, but I knew it would utilize my drawing and painting skills. A few weeks after moving to Chicago, I got a job at an art center in the city, which turned into a residency, and things snowballed from there. I eventually showed my paintings at some of my dream galleries, made friends with artists I used to admire from afar, painted murals around the city– the list goes on. None of these things would have happened had I not taken that huge leap. I am a stronger artist and person for it. As someone who values order and control, life has taught me time and time again that some of its greatest gifts can’t simply be willed into existence. Risk creates space for discovery.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ll start off by saying that my professional journey as an artist has not been easy, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been worth it. I try not to think too much about what sets me apart from others. Instead, I continually remind myself that every human is unique, and that no one else can be a better me than me! That shifts my intention from consciously “differentiating myself” to truly connecting with myself to uncover authentic expression. I am proud of the daily work I do to connect with myself, whether that’s through my rigorous yoga practice, drawing from life, nurturing relationships with people I love, and/or studying human psychology and psychology. My artwork is a product of this continual journey of self-discovery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
About eight years ago, I read “The Highly Sensitive Person” by clinical psychologist Elaine Aron. This book revolutionized my self-perception. Throughout my life, I’d often been labeled as “too sensitive” by those around me. While I largely credited the emotive nature of my artwork to this trait, I had a deeply negative association with the idea that I was “sensitive”. This book, through its research and anecdotes, encouraged me to see my sensitivity as a sort of superpower. Since then, I’ve worked to embrace this aspect of myself and I find that that has come through in my artwork tenfold. There is immense power in sensitivity, if only one learns to own it.
Personal photograph by Christina Roses Photography