In this month’s Visual Arts profile, poet naturalist and surrealist illustrator Christina Mrozik discusses how she has drawn inspiration from nature, travel and humility.
ELEVEN: What’s your medium?
Isis Fisher: I do watercolor and pen and ink. I did a lot of figure and landscape in the past and then I got really into watercolor. It’s easy to use the materials that are from the earth, you know the water and the natural pigments, to create something interesting and beautiful. It was when I did some traveling that I wanted to switch to the pen style. It was just easier to pack around less supplies. A break from color was nice also but I think I’m ready to go back to color again (Click here to visit Isis’ site).
11: How is the pen style different from the watercolors?
IF: If you look closely at the illustrations, they are not symmetrical at all. That’s because I do almost 100% of it by hand. The pen drawings are so much more detailed. Some of them take so long to create. I mean, some take longer than others but they all take quite a while. Some of my favorite ones are the drawings where I just sit down and start drawing and see what happens. I like it when it works out like that. The watercolors just bleed together and look good like that.
11: Tell me about your art show in Oklahoma.
IF: Oklahoma City, in the Bible Belt. When I was censored by the mayor I became aware of how people are completely outraged by seeing a woman’s naked body. He had a large van parked in front of the flyer promoting the show in the window of the Flaming Lips art gallery. There are still so many places in America where people still aren’t okay with looking at or seeing women’s naked bodies or genitals.
11: What’s your experience being an artist in Portland?
IF: Here in Portland we are always pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable and we kind of forget that there are places in this country where an art show with female genitals could be so offensive. Portland is like a place of progressive safety. It’s harder to make a statement here because there’s less shock value. I’m originally from Maui and there are lots of artists there. My parents opened the only local art store on Maui. My mom’s an artist and my dad’s a scientist. You can sort of see both of their influence. My dad’s right brain and my mom’s left brain. It was nice to have their encouragement, even though it’s hard to make money as an artist, they have been supportive.
11: So when are you going to tattoo school? I think your illustration style would lend itself to tattooing so well!
IF: Ha *laughing* well that’s kind of been a joke and something I’ve been thinking about recently. I could see that happening.
11: What are you currently working on?
IF: I’ve been doing these pen illustrations nonstop recently. I draw all day and all night sometimes. I wake up, start drawing and just don’t stop. They will be shown at Stumptown downtown on 3rd between Ash and Pine all through April.
11: Any local artists worth checking out?
IF: I really like the artist that is being shown at the Stumptown downtown right now through March 31st. Her name is Maria Joan Dixon. She’s definitely worth checking out. » – Veronica Greene