Artist Profile: Lisa Cristinzo

Meeting the city's artists, one at a time


An artist profile of Lisa Cristinzo

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Describe your process of creating a piece. What materials do you normally work in?

My process is a bit of a gorge and purge cycle. The gorge stage consists of research, note taking and omen observation. I like wondering about in museums, libraries, newly discovered territories and above all the cove of my bed. A part of my practice is to be bed ridden. An ideal 12 hour sleep will do. 4 hours preceding the wake up, is my ideal grounds for inspiration. The chemistry between the hovering conscious state and lucid license conjures up the most exquisite corpse experience. This streaming makes for some seemingly other worldly tapping. This quickly becomes futile and replaced by feelings of guilt and anxiety for not having a productive, interactive real world day. I can be a bit of a page of wands, lots of ideas with very little time to execute. The purge state is usually triggered by a sudden deadline. I do not paint for leisure and to some extent don’t believe in the activity as leisurely. It’s too important to be leisurely. It is a duty and a burden. I wish I had more time for bad television, seriously. When it comes time to materialize the binge, I become extremely dedicated. I have a full time job with Artscape, assisting in managing Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. I often find myself assembling chain link while on the boat, painting in the janitor’s closet after work, all of a sudden there is a day planner and highlighter revival. My friends don’t see me. I hermit, focus and basically become a prolific lunatic. This is all very bipolar, I know. I would like to eventually find a healthy balance between the two states. Materials vary depending on the project. If I’m creating a costume, China Town, Dollarama, Active Surplus, Queen 444 Textiles, Ralph’s Hardware, Value Village is where I find items like car seat covers, popsicle sticks, masks, pipe cleaners, lighting fixtures, fur, horns, helmets, yarn, jewelry, synthetic dusters. If I’m painting, I’m using copious amounts of acrylic paint on large canvases, which eventually act as backdrops for my costumes.

What projects are you working on? What do you have coming up, any shows?

I am recently taking a class at the ROM on architecture facilitated by Christopher Hume. I am a dedicated academic and since graduating from OCAD I can’t help but long for institutional learning. I’ve been working with the concept of place, space and memory. Following my show at Index G in 2009, The Memory Palace, paintings depicting several stages of Frank Gehrys construction of the AGO, the next series will continue to deal with heterotopias. The idea is that through time a space is created and through space we find a place for the representation of time. Real spaces that hold mythic things. Google Michel Foucault’s essay “Of Other Spaces“, based on 1967 lecture. To make me, make sense. I have a show at Index G mid July 2010. I will be focusing on Agoras, contrived places for human congregations, like parks.

I’m also working on the armor evolution of warrior Beasta Wilda, my alter ego. I’ve just completed the new hierarchal addition Winter Wildebeasta. Members of the Beasta army include my wife Solar Zinc, Yuula Benivolski and The Horned Defender, Romy Lightman. I’m in the process of thoroughly learning tarot in the creation of my own 78 card deck. Friends will be chosen to depict certain archetypes. I will be designing costumes and painting backdrops. So yeah, who wants to be my Queen of Wands?

When are you most productive?

Deadlines are essential. I would love nothing more than to produce without them. The methodology is, a deadline is a promise, you expect something from me and I promise not to let you down. The audience my beneficiary, controls my stock. This is something I struggle with. I would love just to paint away, with validation from only myself.

When did creating art become something important in your life?

When my father questioned my decision to attend art school. Seriously though, I guess when I noticed that I could bring all the people I care about into the same room by having a show. It’s addictive, art and community.

What are some of your favorite spots in the city? Some favourite places to go, eat, drink, bike ride?

My heart of course is anchored in the sands of Artscape Gibraltar Point. To me Toronto Island is the most magical place on earth. Every day I marvel at its beauty. Daily, hourly, by the second at times, the sky is different, therefore the water is different, the drastic changing of season, the flux of species, monarch butterflies, coyotes, foxes, deers. At times the water and the tides seem tropical, in the winter is all looks so tragically arctic, and of course the island community, the hosts of all this magic.

What are you currently obsessed with? Any blogs, pod casts, films, artists?

Dada, natural history, architecture, the almighty cosmos, tarot, magic, ruins, castles, cardio, Henry Rousseau, Yuula Benivolski’s blog, Solar Zinc, the book store Monkeys Paw, the ROM, listening to audio books while painting, Club Study at the Hart House, Good Edition at Index G gallery a great collection of affordable prints by local and international artists.

What are your thoughts on the Toronto art scene compared to everywhere else you’ve experienced?

I’m obviously a little bias. The Toronto arts community is pretty close knit. We are like siblings. Our work comes from a playful place, creating environments, like little art forts for us to frolic with each other in. At times our brothers and sisters leave the nest, but a sense of loyalty, keeps us connected even abroad. It feels like this may be harder to find in bigger, more pocketed scenes in other cities.

What is your survival food? Cheap eats for the starving artist?

71% dark chocolate, Perrier water, hummus, blue corn chips

Any last words?

I don’t really talk like this. Please insert a whole bunch of ums, hmm, ponder spaces and likes for authenticity.

Seriously though, think big keep grounded.

lisacristinzo@gmail.com

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