My portrait of Cristina was taken at the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) Gallery in Brook Street Birmingham, just off St.Paul’s Square on 30 January 2016.
I asked Cristina to bring along her large portrait of saxophonist Chris Bowden which is seen as the backdrop to my portrait of her. My first Stolen Moment in this series was of Chris in January 2015 and Cristina’s painting of him is based on one of my photographs taken at a Blue Note tribute evening at the Bartons Arms in Birmingham which was promoted by Birmingham Jazz. In the photograph Cristina holds one of her recently completed portraits.
Artist Cristina Celestini was born in Rome. Self taught as an artist, she tells me that she has been drawing and painting since she could hold a pencil.
Working from her home studio her paintings investigate the workings of memory and the way we remember people and events. “My paintings try to show the fleeting moment we remember something and how this is changed by our feelings and time,” she says. She adds: “I am equally at home painting figurative portraits and abstract work, and believe in art that enriches our lives and changes the way that we feel.” She finds endless inspiration in the faces and expressions of those around her, in nature and “in the beautiful intrinsic properties of lines and curves and in the drama of black and white images”.
She is a member of the Birmingham Art Circle and regularly exhibits with them. She is a Friend of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and has exhibited work in Friends, Prize and Open exhibitions at the gallery. Her paintings and commissions are in private collections in Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the UK and she has had two solo exhibitions at the Ort Café and Gallery (also a jazz venue). She often paints to music and audio books. Her son is currently studying jazz piano at Birmingham Conversatoire.
Cristina recommends the following 5-a-day:
Robert Glaspar Trio: Live at Capitol Studios (Decca UMO)
Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare)
RBSA Gallery Birmingham – a little known gem – you could do worse than starting with the upcoming Birmingham Art Circle Exhibition
Peter Frankopan: The Silk Roads (Bloomsbury audio book)
Bill Bryson: The Road to Little Dribbling (Random House audio book)