RA: Fascinating. You are also a gifted as a traditional artist, can you see yourself pursuing a non-digital approach at any time in the future?
CF: Thank you. I am cultivating myself a little more on these techniques because I am interested in challenging the perception of digital media being frivolous as much as possible. Drawing and painting are insurmountable… the vitality of line and mental freedom that is offered is just not comparable to a digital re-creation. Earlier I mentioned that I used to incorporate these techniques into my photographs… this is why I do it. I think too that the autonomy of the hand is always in conflict with the inflexible computer. To some extent, for me it is ideal to be able to do everything directly with my hands, again it would close a creative circle that would be wonderfully strong. Ultimately I feel very motivated to incorporate these traditional results into my strongest body of work.
RA: Recently Leonora Carrington died… she was also an expert in traditional techniques. How do you regard her work and her legacy as a female artist working in Mexico?
CF: The legacy of the master Carrington goes beyond what has been said publicly… although her death has already been forgotten by much of our population. But her aesthetic legacy in Mexico is part of a thriving visual culture: Orozco, Clemente, Siqueiros and Herran (who by the way was from my city) to name a few. More importantly, along with Varo, these artists have provided valuable wealth to our concept of art and to visual settings… they have touched the mystical fibre of the country with their mythic images. Over the past century this has seemed like an earthquake upon this land, whose political and social concerns were always the priority, and these led by men. But certainly I think there is much to exploit from Carrington’s magnificent symbolic works, rather than her figure as a female pioneer during hard times. More personally, Carrington has been one of those muses who has motivated me to dig deep trenches into my way of perceiving. It was – and still is – a radical solution to the huge dose of reality offered by the Mexican landscape. Perhaps that is something which many members of my guild would like to carry forward, and we can do so thanks to artists such as Carrington and her incredible aura, combined with a little nostalgia.
RA: Speaking of that large dose of reality… last year you were travelling through Mexico. To what degree does the landscape and mythology of the country inspire you? Do you feel connected to it?
CF: The visionary art of the Mexican indigenous people inspires me greatly. As you might expect, it is a source of endless knowledge. These days the ancient shamanic tradition is hard to find in the city, so encountering people living in the middle of nowhere who still practice the old ways is quite an event in itself. Just by analyzing the Huichol art we can realise the tremendous maze of thought and awareness surrounding the reality of these people. Lately for example, shamanism has become popular among urban groups thanks to characters like Alejandro Jodorowsky, who as a director has opened the way through his symbolic films. Now, due to this openness, ‘psychomagic’ and ‘psychotherapy’ have become very strong ideas between ordinary people, as well as professional therapists. I must say, and you will understand, that we are a society that lives by, and for, legends and myths. Each holiday is steeped in folklore… for example the allegory of la muerte, the cult of death, is typified by the Day of the Dead… a revered tradition and one of the most important festivities in the country. It gives us a vision of the idea of dying – of the idea of transcending to other planes to be reborn – as cause for motivation rather than disgust or fear. And pre-Hispanic mythology and Catholic beliefs have been blended in such a way that ritual practices are quite automatic and natural. To resume… the visual richness and energy in Mexico is strong. Often when visiting an open camp you can feel this vibration around people (surprisingly, almost the majority) who, quite secretly, continue the practice of witchcraft in many of its manifestations. Maybe it is this re-connection with the nature of the old ways which draws most participants to get involved, and in my case, to bring something of it over the canvas.
RA: And what do you plan to bring us in the future?
CF: I am finishing college and to me this is a blessing, for I need more time for my projects. I’m currently working on a series called ‘Star Sowers’, which incidentally I decided to offer as a tribute to master Carrington. For this series I have been employing a bit of hermetic philosophy, Fucanelli’s written work, Stoic concepts, Chaos Magic and something from the Cathar Heresy. It is interesting to have an immediate reflection on my work, and not a romantically brooding personal story. I’ve worked in this way before and I’d like to continue. I will be also be working with a series of portraits using traditional techniques, and some others with clean photography under the theme of witchcraft. For the first time I’d like to present and publish this apart from my digitally manipulated work. Possibly it will take a long time to finish, but it will definitely be worth it.
RA: We shall look forward to that Cristina, thank you.
CF: Thank you.