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Cristina Otero is a 16-year-old artist from Spain that works to balance her school life along with the beautiful, emotional photographs she takes. She may just be in high school, but Cristina sure knows how to weld a camera.
Her collections all include the human body in some manner, and she has a few galleries centered around fruit, a particularly poignant feeling, or death. Already a skilled photographer, Cristina is one to look out for in the art world, as she continues to master her medium and find inspiration in her own feelings.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art? Are you traditionally trained or self-taught?
Cristina Otero (CO): I started with photography when I was 13 years old. I discovered photography after one of my classmates talked about America’s Next Top Model, an American TV program where amateur models compete. I loved the process, from the modelling to the shooting. I wanted to do the same, and one day, I tried. Since then, I haven’t stopped taking pictures.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work?
CO: The camera is Pentax K5. Lenses are: Pentax 55mm f1.4, Pentax 70mm f2.4, and Pentax 100mm f2.8 macro. For retouching, I use Photoshop cs3 and Photoscape.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why?
CO: I don’t really have a favorite. It depends on the mood I have. If I’m happy, one from my Tutti Frutti series. If I’m sad, then one from my Haunted series, but probably “trauma.” is the one I can relate to the most.
TP: When you first started, did you ever hit any bumps in your art process? What were they, and how did you overcome them?
CO: Not really, except the fact I’m in school and don’t have a lot of time to photograph anymore. Apart from that, everything has gone pretty well actually.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
CO: I finally realized what truly inspires me, and that’s my own self. My thoughts, worries, and memories are my inspiration. A lot of people had already told me this, that my art is honest, sincere, and it resembles the life of a teenager, continuously changing and evolving, telling her story. I didn’t really believe until the other day, as I created a photograph that spoke the truth about my, let’s say, internal battle.
TP: Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone else took credit for your work? If so, what did you do to resolve it? How did this art theft make you feel?
CO: Yes, I have and, unfortunately, quite a few times. What I always do in this case is to post in all my pages the link to my stolen art, asking my followers to report them to get banned. It always works, and it’s amazing how people react; they’re really kind and loving, and I truly appreciate them for that. It makes me feel miserable and helpless. It infuriates me, but I try to stay calm and resolve it.
TP: What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
CO: The human body. To be more specific, a human face. I find it fascinating, and it’s amazing what you can do with one. It helps me cope with my own problems, turning them into art for people to see.
TP: If there was any art medium that you wish you could master, what would it be and why?
CO: Apart from photography, I’d love to be able to paint digitally like a professional. I’m actually saving to buy a nice tablet to start drawing.
TP: Outside of art, what is your life like? Tell me anything about yourself that you would like.
CO: Just like any other normal 16-year-old teenager’s life: study, hang out with friends, act goofy and do stupid things, get mad at my parents, feel the world is against me, and cope with my obligations.
TP: What are your goals in life? Do you plan to continue art as a hobby, or make it a career?
CO: My goal is to work on anything that is about art, more precisely in photography.
TP: Do you feel that your culture has influenced you in some way that makes you different than other artists?
CO: Not exactly. What I think makes me different is that I’ve learned not from one, but many cultures, mixing them to help me see the world the way I see it. My whole life I’ve moved from place to place; I have friends from almost every part of the world, and I’ve learned so much from them. It’s a privilege to be able to visit and live in different places, and I really appreciate that opportunity. It has made me become the person I am now.