With an interest in the human body as a vehicle to create a narrative, Cristina BanBan is a Spanish artist based in London; “I was lucky to always know that this was the career I wanted to pursue”, she said. “I studied art from a very young age and finished a BA in Fine Arts in Barcelona. But, everything started to take shape after relocating myself to the UK”.
Her work focuses on feelings and emotions, with a subject and a scenario chosen to place on a situation. “I think my process of painting relies on the image I have in my head”, she continued. With her work being, at times, quite primitive in style, the colour is almost an afterthought. “The colours appear afterwards while painting, so it is a very organic process. I would say it is an instinctive use of colour. Each piece takes me to a different place. Sometimes it will finish in a way that I didn’t expect it to, and that is the magic in the process when it goes well!”
Late last year, Cristina BanBan was involved with the Griffin Gallery and their prestigious Art Prize exhibition. Speaking of the experience, she said, “It was great to have been shortlisted for the prize and to be in a group show with such talented artists. The team behind it are such good people. Very professional. It has been a pleasure to work with them. I think they put together a show that brings together a good idea of what is happening in the art scene throughout London. There are so many different styles of painting”.
Above all else, London has given her the opportunity to start exhibiting in different galleries; “I can meet new people, show work to collectors, and slowly, build a career”, she added.
In an earlier interview, she said that her work depicts things that she took for granted where she grew up. Thinking about this, it highlights that so much is taken for granted every day. Wherever you are in the world. When I asked her what changed in her mind, she replied to say that, “What I meant back then was the light that Spain has. It would sometimes transform completely and brighten up all of the colours. I certainly miss that quality of the light”.
In Barcelona, Cristina BanBan was always surrounded by creative people. When she was five, she joined the local art school, and in her own words, it was pretty cool; “Different ages came to that building to study and develop their practice at different levels. I always learnt so much by being in contact with the teachers and older students. I went there every day for many years!”
“I am interested in painting people, their emotions and surroundings”, she said simply when I asked what she is hoping to portray in her work. “I work from my imagination and I like to create subjects that transport me into a specific situation. Ideas come from my every day experiences, my friends. It truly is a mix of what I see! The paintings are quite emotional”.
The simplicity of the work encourages you to look deeper. The life portrayed is broken down into blocks of colour, but you still feel a connection. You can relate to the mood, the atmosphere, the eternal struggle of life.
Getting into the right headspace to create is inevitably different for everyone, for this artist, she paints intensely in short periods of time. Sporadic bursts in which to focus on. She said, “I like to work in the morning and have the whole day in front of me. Otherwise I can’t really concentrate if I know I have to stop to do something else. I am not the kind of person that goes to the studio and paints in stops and starts. When I am in the middle of a painting, I like to do as much as I can before leaving the studio at night”.
One thing she’s learnt and kept close to heart is to be patient and work hard.
The Griffin Art Prize launches the careers of emerging artists by providing the time and financial assistance necessary to develop their artistic practice. Find out more here