Ireland has always been a buzzing place for creativity, but do we really know our artists? Here is the first portrait of a mini series about Irish artists opening up about their art and how it contributes to make a better world.
We are one, we are one story after all, we are sharing this moment in time and we should celebrate it.
Q aka Cristina del Moral is a Spanish visual artist based in Dublin. Her last project called ‘El Esposo de la Muerte’ can seem really dark but Cristina is a very colourful soul. We met her for a wee chat about her art.
Why did you chose the artist name ‘Quene’ ?
My name is Cristina, it started when I was 3. They were saying ‘Cristina’, and I couldn’t say it, so I was saying ‘Queneta’. And then the name stayed, they were calling me ‘Queneta’. It’s actually my name on Instagram now. I was playing basketball later, and there were so many Cristinas, so people started calling me ‘Quene’. When I came to Ireland, people were saying ‘Queenie’, but I don’t like it, so I shorted it to ‘Q’ .That’s why it’s ‘Q’ now.
When did you start your art?
Since I am a kid. My uncle and my dad are artists as well. My dad used to paint watercolours and oil paintings. To keep me quiet, he used to give me a brush and I was painting beside him. I think I was painting before I started writing.
How could you describe your art?
There’s no style, for me it’s about what mood you are in. It’s an expression of your own soul as well, all the inspiration you have you bring it up. Absolutely everything inspires you, it reflects your soul.
What are your influences ?
I have so many. It’s almost impossible to say which one is my favorite. Everything inspires me. Every song I’m listening to. In fine art, my main inspiration since I’m little would probably be Kandinsky and his use of colour.
Where does your inspiration come from ?
I do big researches before I start creating stuff. I create moodboards, I do brainstormings. So there’s a lot of work behind before I start creating. It was the same when I created my book I used medieval grids.
Why did you leave Spain to do your art in Ireland ?
I met James, the person I’ve been with since 21 years now, in Madrid. I was playing basketball professionally and at 25 I decided it was enough, I needed to leave. I wanted to pursue art and I found that in Spain it’s quite difficult, plus I didn’t go to College there. Then, I came to Ireland and I was doing different things. I applied to College five times. I saw the opportunities in Dublin in music, in art, the culture was vibrant in 1998. So I made the choice to stay here in Dublin, I don’t know for how long. But I’m tied to this country now, I ‘grew up’ here and my son is Irish.
What do you think of the art scene in Dublin ?
This is not going to be so positive but it was going really well, and now Filmbase is closing, festivals are closing. Because of Brexit all the companies are going to move to Ireland so they forget the cultural side of Dublin and they’re doing business. So for us, for artists now, it is really, really a delicate moment, it will eventually forcing us to move somewhere else you know. We help each other and influence each other between artists, trying to improve it and go back to the way it was. But we need space where we can actually create without really thinking about how much it costs.
What does Dublin mean for you?
I love Dublin because of the size. Here you go out and you start meeting people, the size is perfect for me.
What is the feedback from people about your art?
My last project about El Esposo de la Muerte was really niche and dark, which I’m not. So It’s only for people who know it. But the feedback has been fantastic, it pushes me to keep going!
What are your plans for the future ?
I’d love to have a studio and paint something really big. I have loads of side projects as well, like gig photography. I also do extras in the TV series Vikings. I’d like to do an exhibition as well, to gather all my artworks.
How do you think your art contributes to make Dublin and the world better?
There are many ways to read a work of art. Literally and in a very subtle way, talking to the subconscious of the viewers in the case of my works of art, trying to give voice to the voiceless, supporting and encouraging, giving hope. For my book it’s more specific. I want to celebrate diversity through language, celebrate what it makes us different, what the rules of society use to divide us such as nationality, skin colour, accent, traditions, and use it in our advantage. We are one, we are one story after all, we are sharing this moment in time and we should celebrate it. I would use this quote to illustrate my vision : “Enlightenment is when the wave realizes is the ocean.” If I can transfer this idea though my work visually my job is done.
All pictures by Carolina Hernandez de Toledo.