February 20th, 2019
There is a running theme among the artwork of Cristina Natsuko Paulos, one of empowerment and female strength. Her varying styles help to show the emotion and power of her subjects. The raw beauty of her work pulls you right in asking you to gaze upon every inch, where you find the soft delicate features and then the powerful force staring back at you. It’s truly fascinating.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley the suburbs from Los Angeles.
How did you get interested in art?
I always had an interest in art since I was a very small child. I was very shy as a kid so I would often spend hours in my room just drawing and creating stories and characters.
As I grew older and as a high school student I struggled a lot with institutional education. I would give myself people-free days and head to LACMA to visit my favorite painting by Amedeo Modigliani, “Young Woman of the People”. Growing up in LA the art museums were my parks to play with my curiosity.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
When I was younger it was from a fantasy world with a healthy imagination.
These days I like to read stories or watch documentaries from YouTube about human history, psychology, science and a lot of Jung stuff. But I make jokes a lot ... since Jung we all know he was totally a sexist.
What do you want people to feel when they look upon your work?
I just open my art to the people, I don’t have expectations of how I want people to feel.
I’m actually just get thrilled if they’re feeling something.
I’m so woken up ... when I create my work ... it’s like a Jane Fonda 80s exercise video with a dancing Snoopy ... trying to follow. I feel a bravery and I’m not afraid to look like an idiot ... if my moves aren’t like Jagger!
How would you describe your style?
I like to just name it “Pop Contemporary“ ... it’s simple.
What is your preferred medium to work with?
I am very lucky... I have an artist sponsorship with Jerry's Artarama company [an art supplies company]. They supply me with a lot of my favorite supplies. Turner’s (a Japanese brand) watercolours and gouache, graphite dust, fabric dyes and Dr. Martin dyes and colour pencils. I prefer working on papers or wood rather than canvas, but it’s very expensive to frame paper and wood so I still switch to canvas for budget issues.
It nice to have a sponsorship’s support, but I still cannot work full time as an artist. I work full time with a day job and then work full time again on my own art. The sponsorship really encourages me to keep going and also have so much fun playing with supplies. I learn a lot about the mediums and I share my knowledge with the people. I’m very honest.
If you weren't an artist what job would you have?
Oh I have a lot of jobs ... so I can afford to be an artist 👩🏻🎨... life draw model, caricature artist, customer service, brand ... etc Sign artist ...
I think I might audition to be a stripper soon... my stripper name will be “Blake”. Named after my favorite artist William Blake. All my heroes HAD day jobs .... for reals
William Blake is a fucking genius... he worked at a printing lab. He’s my hero from his brilliance! I’m not wanting to follow him though with not being recognized before his time.
I want to live as an artist full-time one day ... I hope!
I do think I should have studied eyes 👀 so I can make glasses... but I can’t remember what the doctors are called ... I just think the eyes are so interesting!
Which piece has taken the biggest toll on you physically and emotionally?
I’m currently working on a series called “unreasonable seizures”. It’s about police violence in my country. It’s a really emotional topic for me because I’m a police brutality survivor, and a bipolar mental health survivor. As an artist , I always want to be heard. And sometimes as artists we find our voice is totally a different way of communication. This is a project I’m still working on... it’s evolving everyday.
I found amazing leaders in my community of Las Vegas, where I currently reside. Some work with the Black Lives Matter movement, some leaders in mental health , homelessness, trauma survivors and they are all working hard to be heard.
Vegas isn’t the most compassionate of places at times, but its sense of community is stronger than any other city I’ve lived in.
If you’re living in the States, I feel it’s great to stop by the Black Lives Matter chapter in your city. It’s very informative and talking about topics that aren’t covered in news.
When you are sleeping, what are your dreams?
Idk I have been having dreams I’m at work and then I wake up and I have to go to work ... lol
My dreams are so responsible... go to work
Do you listen to music when you create? If so, what kind of music/bands do you listen to?
Bach, Joseph nothing ... prince ... ahhh too long to list
What's the best way to overcome an artistic block?
Read, take a nap ... hug a tree ( check for ants first though)
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
Time management (?) and translator of all languages and cultures ... basically spy skills so maybe mind control ... but that’s too much of a responsibility... super powers sounds stressful.
What is the biggest challenge you've overcome with your artwork?
... challenges come up and you just problem solve. I just solve problems and move forward.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
I only like trader Joe’s’ joe Joe’s lol 😂