Flores finds patrons for her whimsical work of art | Young professionals
The arts community generates more than $ 153 million in total economic activity in the Pikes Peak area, enriching the lives of original works made in Colorado Springs.
This is a community that Christine Flores has already joined, although she is still in school.
Flores’ drawings in graphite, ink and marker on paper tell stories and illustrate moments from her personal life in a whimsical and “caricature” style. They often incorporate multiple images, listings, related and seemingly unrelated items, and documentation.
Subjects range from simple objects – a hat, a favorite pair of boots, a hand holding a hot dog – to complex and dense compositions like “Mini Mouse Club House”, a rendering of a room overflowing with stuff, like if the artist wanted to stack all of his beloved everyday items in one place.
In Flores’ universe, a backpack is not just a simple backpack: it is an object worthy of a portrait illustrating its characteristics, including a pocket “for sweet dreams”.
Flores’ first solo exhibition was at Lady fingers typography. She has also exhibited in a group exhibition at Galerie Kreuser and Art 111, Modbo and Galerie Below.
Her work will appear at the upcoming Colorado Springs Art Book Fair on November 1-2 at GOCA city center Gallery.
Art has always been a part of her life, but Flores, 27, didn’t start showing her work publicly until her early twenties. Originally from Colorado Springs, she was on her way to becoming a doctor, but after graduating with a biology degree from UCCS, she reconsidered and returned to school to study visual and performing arts. She will obtain her second baccalaureate next spring.
During this time, she works part-time at the UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art, participates in local exhibitions and posts her work on Instagram (@Christinewiththehair).
Flores spoke to the Business Journal about her career path, the local art community, and what it takes to be a working artist.
Looks like you struggled a little bit between following your muse and what your parents wanted you to do.
It was kind of a struggle at first. When I was in high school, I really liked theater – it was, at that time, my main form of creative expression, and I wanted so badly to go to college for theater. But my family convinced me that it was not a practical choice, and I said, âYes, you are right. I guess I’ll be a doctor. …
My family really viewed me as maybe excelling in science. And, you know, it’s kind of like that stereotype of Asian families where it’s like, we all have to be doctors, nurses or engineers. This is what my family saw for me, so I thought I was going to go to medical school and become a doctor.
And then after I graduated, it was a slow process to figure out what I wanted to do. â¦ I just found myself really spending my time with art. I got a few small jobs working with local artists, and I volunteered a lot with Concrete Couch and really immersed myself with people who worked in the arts, and finally decided to continue my education.
And it wasn’t until I started befriending people in the Colorado Springs arts community that I was like, “You know, I should just do this.” â¦ I also know that there is luck and opportunity at stake. But a lot of it is in that mindset, this is what I want, and this is what I have to do to get it.
How do you navigate art as a career? It looks like it could be a tough road.
It is a difficult path to choose. Some people are lucky and can make a living doing art. But many of us have to choose other paths. And that doesn’t mean we don’t do art, but it’s just that it’s not our main source of income. …
I have ideas of what I would like to do. I’m less of a good artist, and I see myself more as an illustrator and a designer. So ideally I’d like to do this as part of my career, whether it’s freelance or corporate, but I also really enjoy being behind the scenes in the art world. It’s really exciting for me too. [Owning a gallery] is something that I fantasized about. I can certainly see myself as maybe a conservative one day. …
On the career side, I guess my Plan A is to be a teacher. It’s kind of always been the plan, whether I teach life sciences or art, I wanted to be the instructor.
What do you think it takes for artists to become independent?
I can really only speculate at this point. But certainly, I imagine a lot of dedication. It’s not like, yes, I’m an artist, and I paint and I frolic. It’s a lot of work. Like I’ve been asked to do shows, and I’ve been tasked with doing things, and it’s not just fun all the time. A lot of it is about sitting down and being in the ‘This is what I do as a job’ mindset, … and also about showing off. You have to expose yourself to the community, make friends with artists and gallery owners and with people who buy art.
Let’s talk about your job. What kind of themes do you like to explore?
Mostly like friendship and love. Much of my work is also a bit narrative in the sense that it is derived from certain stories in my life that I want to represent in some way, visually.
â¦ I identify as Filipino-American, and sometimes I use my art platform to tell these stories about what it’s like to be a Filipino-American woman. Every now and then I feel pressured to do it, because my ethnic identity is a big part of how I navigate the world.
You recently got into zines. Is it an ongoing interest?
Yeah absolutely. I love to write zines. I like them because it’s a relatively accessible and democratic art form. They don’t have to cost a lot of money to make. â¦ I feel like a storyteller in some ways, and zines are a good way to do that.
Do you sell your work online?
I don’t have a specific platform to sell my works. I’m on Instagram, and it’s a place where people can see my art, and people have reached out to me through Instagram to ask if they can buy some pieces. I feel like Instagram has become a really good platform for people not only to show their work but also to connect with other artists and other people who want to show your work or buy . It’s a great platform for that.
What commissions have you had so far?
I have had a few orders to draw people’s pets. People love to have portraits of their pets, and I love to draw portraits of pets. Part of what I love to do with art is, you know, loving something. If I see something that I really like, my heart tells me, âI have to make a picture of it, I have to capture it. And part of the way I love things is drawing them. And it’s so nice when people come up to me and say, âHey, I really would like you to draw my dog. “
What about graphic design?
This is something that interests me a lot. I took a graphic design course, and a lot of it was about how my brain works. I have this side of me that is free, organic and playful. But then there’s a part of my brain that’s very structured and wants patterns and minimalism. It’s a part of my brain that’s really design oriented. And I really like the aspects of graphic design where he tries to use the least amount of visual information while still communicating everything he has to say. So I would like to be able to design for companies or people who want something to be expressed that way.
What do you like about the artistic community here?
I have the impression that it changes a lot. Over the last few years, I’ve been seeing a lot more art on the streets in public, or events, pop-ups and things like that. It’s really exciting to see but also to be a part of it. And I love that our community here isn’t exclusive, like they’re not laughing at you. Everyone really supports each other.
What would you say to other young people who have a talent for art but are not sure they want to pursue it?
Well the first thing I would ask them is, what is stopping them? And I feel like most of us will respond by saying, “It just wasn’t practical, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it.” My response to that would be, âYou can do itâ. It’s just a lot of hard work. â¦ So it’s a matter of saying: ‘This is what I want.’ And so that would be my next question: “Is this really what you want?” And if the answer is yes, then the follow-up is, “Are you willing to work to do this?” If I wanted to be a doctor, for example, I would have to work to get there. It’s just a different kind of job.