Photos by Asia Morris.
Cinta Vidal’s work may remind you of M.C. Escher’s mind-boggling staircase illusion, or even the movie Inception, where Parisian streets fold over unto themselves. However, these paintings are more about the distances between our varying perspectives and how, although we may live and breathe in close proximity to each other, we may also be living in completely different dimensions. This artist is painting two different pieces in Long Beach this year: a mural across the street from Berlin Bistro and a smaller piece at the Long Beach Museum of Art, which you can see as soon as tonight when the exhibit opens to After Dark attendees.
We’ve also found it interesting to hear the different perspectives of those visiting Long Beach for the first time, where, although there are few hours in the day for the artists participating in POW! WOW! Long Beach to explore, they’ve still been able to gather a sense of what this seaside city has to offer. This is the artist’s first time in California, but not the United States, as she showed at Art Basel in Miami with Thinkspace Gallery. Vidal, whose first two languages are Catalan—her native tongue—and Spanish, was kind enough to speak to the Long Beach Post in English so we might understand her process, inspiration and creativity.
Editor's note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Have you ever painted anything as big as this mural?
I used to work in a scenography atelier, a workshop where they create backdrops, scenery. And I learned there how to paint in a big scale. There we painted the floor and big backdrops. I’ve painted since I was 16 years old. I started then, and I have spent a lot of years [as an apprentice] under two big masters that have taught me how to paint on a big scale. I still work with them sometimes.
But, now I am painting my own designs, because there [in previous situations], every time our paintings are designs from the scenographer, designers, from other people, and I’m not used to painting my own designs, but now I have the chance to do it and this is my big first wall and I am enjoying it a lot.
What does this piece mean? It looks like an explosion of furniture.
It’s more the feeling that when you move your home and when you move your stuff, it’s like you are flying with your furniture. But I was originally supposed to paint the back wall of the Art Theatre, so I designed my mural to have some scenery, some backstage stuff. Now they tell me that this is going to be my wall, so I am adapting and expanding my design to fit it.
Detail of the artist's piece at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
Have you moved a lot?
Not a lot, maybe five or six times. I think that we are all moving all the time and I love the movement and not always stay in the same place and same state of mind. And, for me, it’s been exciting to see people interacting with the wall and taking pictures, and making different poses and taking out their phones. For me it’s the nicest thing, for this wall, it’s the people interacting with it, and saying, ‘Thanks for doing this.’ It’s been nice to talk with people from this area.
How do you like Long Beach so far?
It’s a nice place. I think it’s bigger, because I used to live in a little town and you could walk to go everywhere and here you need a car to go everywhere, and for me it’s not so comfortable, but it’s nice to see a different kind of place and a different kind of living.
For me it’s a little bit sad to see this quantity of homeless in the streets, because in our country we are not used to that quantity of people and it’s sad for me to see that maybe the states are abandoning this kind of people. I think that it has to be the government to help people.
Your smaller paintings seem like they’re less about moving and more about space, is that true?
Exactly. It’s more about perspective. We are living in the same world, but we all have different ways to see it and to live it and to interact with it. Sometimes we are super close, but we are in a different universe. I try to play with perspective to explain and to explore the differences between people.
Were you nervous at all before painting this wall?
I’m excited, not nervous. Because I knew that I could do it. I’m only nervous about the time, about the place, but about the paintings I am comfortable and I think that I can do it and I’m a positive girl.
What’s your process like? Where do your ideas come from?
I always have with me a notebook and papers and pens to draw and I am always thinking about things to draw and I take a lot of photos from different places. I love architecture, in my small paintings, and here there’s a lot of of different kinds of architecture. I love it. I am always paying attention in my environment to seek inspiration.
Detail of the artist's work at the Long Beach Museum of Art.