We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Dias and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, how do you think about risk?
I’ve learned risk comes with the territory of being an artist and a creative “Shentrepreneur” the sooner I got more comfortable with taking risks, the more fearless and faster I became in advancing my career. Keep in mind, deciding to pursue the arts as a career path is absolutely a risk in itself! It’s a risk to put your heart and soul into something and throw it out there for the world to see with fear of criticism. It’s a risk to invest in startup costs when you have no idea if you’ll see a return on your investment. It’s a risk to place value on something you put sweat and tears into when others might scoff at the price tag. However, the risk does have some rewards. I racked up some wins, noted the milestones along the way to facilitate new ones. My biggest win is I no longer question this adventure I’m on. My soul has more wealth as an artist than it ever did monetarily as a corporate drone. I am one of the lucky few that gets paid their craft and love of it. That’s has been my greatest strength. It has made me fearless to failure during the learning process and has helped foster a growth mindset. As long as you keep sharpening your skills, challenging yourself, and reaching for lofty goals, you will desensitize yourself to the discomfort defeat can bring. Make failure a friend that encourages you and gives you the mental strength to propel your business forward. Remember, fortune favors the bold! Create, Hustle, Thrive, Repeat.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Crayons. It all started with crayons. The first time I got my chubby hands on one, the love was instant. I learned to color outside lines and think outside boxes with a rainbow! I used color and creativity as a vehicle to a wonderland of limitless possibilities. In a family of Portuguese immigrants, I was the anomaly. They came to this country with dreams of having lucrative vocations and opportunities. So when I announced to my family I wanted to pursue a creative career, all they heard was “I just pulled the short straw on success.” In my early twenties, I caved, joined the corporate drones and became disillusioned in a cubicle while selling my soul for capital. All at the expense of being miserable and confirming the cliché ‘money can’t buy happiness’ was fact. With renewed conviction, I went all in with my creative career. I started as a Makeup Artist while achieving a BFA in Illustration at CSULB with a minor in Graphic Design. Fast forward, I’m still a practicing MUA, Digital Artist and Graphic Designer, but it’s fine art warms my fuzzies. It’s a passion rendered in paintings and illustrations with semi-conventional mediums and a dash of whimsy. I feel when you see the artist mark in ‘real life’ It delivers a more intimate experience for the viewer that can get lost virtually. My mediums of choice are typically oil on wood but lately, I’ve been playing with acrylic spray and paint as a base to create gradients, unique textures and patterns. As for my ‘muse’ Claude Monet said it best: “Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” Seriously. It’s manna from heaven that I can slather on any canvas, from skin to walls. I’m mesmerized by their relationships and how they play with one another. I’m amazed how a hue or shade of a color can change just by the juxtaposition of it. Above all, I love the psychology of color and how it can make you feel. I wanted to explore these concepts through a cognitive lens using color and form to get to the crux of what makes our ego so freeking fragile? Why do we insist on concealing our ‘flaws’ from others and/or even ourselves? As a Makeup Artist, I’ve helped some do so cosmetically. Others take it a step further do it surgically, slicing and dicing away their imperfections. All with a hollow hope that their renovated outside can ‘fix’ the foundational cracks inside? I thought by unmasking my own insecurities, I could transform these weaknesses into strengths by visually working through them. This ambition quickly distorted into a pursuit to ‘fix’ imperfections by trying to ‘perfect’ them. Ironically, these futile attempts became destructive vices to the ‘self’ I sought to embrace in the first place. This unexpected detour inspired me to break old habits and to live with purpose not perfection. I nixed the quick ‘fixes’ and decided to mindfully dissect, examine, and rebuild from within and through my work in hopes of inviting others to do the same. It’s an evolving process that’s filled with surprises, inspiration, and it’s become my shameless ‘affix-ation.’
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ok, If we are talkin’ pre-COVID, unsanitized hands down Long Beach! My good ol’ stomping grounds, mid and downtown in particular never disappoints. Long Beach is a sampler platter of OC and LA and sits in the sweet spot of both. It’s rich in arts, culture, music, and there are plenty of unique festivals held there all year long to keep you coming back. It has its own unique vibe and never-ending diversity. I don’t think a week would be enough time since there is always a new spot opening at nearly every corner. I’ll just give you a sampler platter of my own. Well, we can’t start any leisure day without a proper brunch, am I right? There are lots of chill laden spots, but my go-to’s are either The Attic, with their obscenely hearty Bloody Mary’s that eats like a meal or Restauration with their bottomless mimosas, artisan eats and cozy patio that will leave you feeling like a slice of butter on a stack of warm pancakes. Then it’s off to enjoy a bike ride to tour the massive murals created by the world’s most illustrious artists as sublime souvenirs from the annual POW WOW Long Beach Art festival. Then it’s dinner at the Portuguese Bend, (maybe I’m biased on the name). It’s a swanky distillery with amazing craft cocktails and eats. Followed by a proper wind down at the Art Theatre for an Indie flick. Did I mention all of these are easy on the wallet? You’re welcome 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Just one?! Well, there is a shout out that definitely deserves a spotlight. The stellar Soni López – Chávez, her work illustrates the plight and great strength of the Latino community. She is also a joint owner with her partner Chris Zertuche of La Bodega Gallery in San Diego. Their mission is “to create a place that will inspire both beginning and established artists as well as bringing the community together to understand the extraordinary role art plays in everyday life.” They have been such great supporters of myself and thousands of other artists through exhibitions, performance events, and screenings. To learn more visit: shopsoniartist@gmail.
Photo Credit: Julia Burkowitz
Acrylic and Oil on Wood
20 x 17.5 in
Acrylic and Oil on Wood
11 x 14 in
Acrylic and Oil on Wood
20 x 14 in