Like a polyglot, switching languages as needed, I paint in the style that flows for me. Code-switching came with a childhood spent in the hyphen between “Mexican” and “American”. I’m sharing a bit of the well-earned bliss with you when I share these paintings. Painting is my life long spiritual practice as well as a craft I continually develop as images come to me to be realized. Like a musician, I move between styles, themes and concepts as I explore my imagination with paint, charcoal and other mediums. My life and my art are one.
Born in Los Angeles in 1959, I grew up at the beach - Playa del Rey, then Palos Verdes. Swimming, beach runs between jetties, possums, peacocks and coyotes filled my life. My father loved skiing and summer camps in the pines, so my parents bought a cabin in Big Bear Lake when I was in elementary school. Mountains, bears, snow and horses became a big part of my life.
Coming of age as a Mexican American girl during the 1960s and 1970s in Southern California was an experience of continually shifting identities. Whether I was "white" or "brown" depended upon the perceptions of those around me. A woman of mixed heritage, the European and Indigenous pieces of my genetic and cultural heritage continually shifted like a Rubik's cube of caste and culture - seemingly independent of my personal identification. I find elements of that mix in all of my work -- sometimes obvious, sometimes sublimated.
A young adult, I moved to the Pacific Northwest town of Bend, Oregon for 30+ years, first on a ranch east of town, then near the Cascade mountain range on the west side of Bend. Now I'm a bit of a nomad with winter in the Mojave Desert town of La Quinta, California and summer in the mountains.
I began my professional artistic life at the age of 14, painting signs for the local ski area near my family's summer cabin in Big Bear Lake, California. My parents divorced with 7 children in tow and my life changed. A long, winding road later, I had paid for my University of Oregon Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, painting window watercolor signs for merchants. All of those roadside paintings of lucky fishermen, a variety of Santas and other seasonal images led to a stint as the lead lettering and mural artist for Carlson Sign in Bend, Oregon. I painted roadside billboards 12' tall by 24' wide, 40 hours per week for a few years. It was a good living that left me 3 days a week to practice life drawing and experiment with painting mediums.
Computer imaging became the end of the billboard/mural painting business. I got a position teaching art classes at Central Oregon Community College in 1991 and continued teaching for 5 years as I developed a business as a ceramic tile designer/manufacturer. For about 10 years I sold my Cristina Acosta "signature line" of ceramic tile through retailers like Ann Sacks Tile & Stone and Home Depot Expo.
Commercial and fine art melded for me. My artisan tile images led to my "Paint Happy" easel style, which morphed into an art instruction book. I wrote and painted, Paint Happy! (North Light Books ©2002, 2004). The publication of Paint Happy! led to licensing those images into home decor, illustrating a few children's books, workshop classes, and gallery exhibits. I kept my eye developing with explorations of different painting styles, delving into the traditions of plein aire painting, then diverging into multi-medium metallic work.
Meditation became part of my work along the way and now I experience my artistic process as flow. The world has changed quite a bit during this past century of my creative life and I am still painting. For that, I'm truly grateful.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, "Ars longa, vita brevis / art is long, life is short," the familiar Latin translation reverses the order of the original lines, stressing the long-lasting impact of art over the brevity of life. In my sixth decade, I very much feel that truth. Beneath everything is love. That is the true substrate under-pining all of my work.
Cristina Acosta Art Studio has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization. You can shop with confidence, knowing that I stand behind the quality and value of my art and related products.