Q&A with Christina Schlesinger

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Christina Schlesinger, is an award winning artist known for her large murals and feminist art. She co-founded the City Wide Mural Project and the Social and Public Art Resource Center. SPARC continues to be one of the most pre-eminent public art associations in California. She worked at Ross School in the 90s and was an art teacher. She recently returned to work with the Art and Sustainability Field Academy class on their mural depicting endangered species. Students in the Literary Magazine course had an opportunity to sit and talk with the well known artist about her life and work.

What influences your art and what types of art do you identify with?Life influences my work. I never liked abstract, but when I got sick with cancer, I had difficulty expressing myself in my usual style, so I did turn to abstract. I looked at art through a different lense, and it was a new window–a new opening.

What feminist artist influenced your childhood?My whole family was into art. On my family trips we would draw and paint. Christina was a “Guerilla Girl.” Cindy Sherman was also a favorite artist.

What feminist themes show up in your art?
Alot of my works portrayed women as tomboys, a themes that would become popular 20 years later. These paintings were of women in sexual poses. Sometimes I would even play different gender roles.

In what way has your technique changed?
Looking at other artists’ work and just practicing over time can change your technique, and I do get ideas from other artists.

Who is your favorite artist and how did they influence you as an artist?
As you develop as an artist, you can have different favorites. It really depends on what you are working on at the moment or what you’re interested in as an artist.

What defines you as an artist?
I like to say ‘become an artist only if you love art.’ If you love art and practice, and keep improving, that is what makes you an artist.