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Blog | Robert Allen

Cristian Navarro's Article

Cristian Navarro

Cristian Navarro

”Don't hesitate; what you are doing is the right thing to do.”

By Shelly Stone

Cristian Navarro has always known that he was meant to be an artist. He has been successful as an architect and now gets to pursue his lifetime passion for painting.

We were lucky enough to have an opportunity to sit down with him recently.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cartago, Costa Rica, specifically in Tejar del El Guarco. Friends, family, and wilderness surrounded me during my childhood. I spent the majority of my time running and exploring outside.

When did you know that you would pursue art as a career and not just a passion?

I always knew it. I was particularly interested in reproducing drawings of the forests I grew up playing in. So from the moment I got to school, I knew.

Who is the artist that inspires you most?

I have many favorites, but some inspire me more than others. Such as Joseph Mallord William Turner, known as a painter of light. Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz (Mark Rothko) for his understanding of space and the spiritual in art. Edward Hopper for the sense of feelings and the human condition.

Marc Chagall for the innocence and purity of his art. Jesús Rafael Soto for understanding poetry and geometry as a means of expression. Victor Vasarely for the infinite possibilities of repeated form, in art. Johannes Vermeer Van Delft for cleanliness in light. Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn for the strength of light and the power of chiaroscuro.

The list goes on; there are so many that I admire.

Do you schedule a specific time to create art, or do you start when inspiration hits you?

I paint every day and every moment that I can. There are many pieces that I had planned over the last 30 years. I dedicate as much time as possible to painting those.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

I try to do what I like the most - painting. Although I have an extensive career in architecture, painting is undoubtedly my favorite job.

What themes do you pursue? What do you want your art to say?

My favorite theme identified in my work are human feelings. My art identifies with people and finds their perfect match. We all are fragmented, broken, and reassembled again. We are joined and united through life by putting those fractured parts together. My work represents those parts in shapes and colors.

What's your favorite piece that you have created?

All of my pieces are my favorite since they are a single work of art. From the first piece to the last piece throughout my life, it is a single work. They are like my children. You can't choose a favorite child.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I am an architect by profession, a builder of architectural works, and a designer of steel structures.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I've had many awards, recognitions, and admiration of my students at the university where I taught for many years.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in the forest where I grew up and stories of people I encounter.

Sacred Geomtry painting

(Cristian Navarro. Sacred Geometry. 2020. Acrylic over Canvas, Braced in Wood. 38 in. x 85 in.)

What is your dream project?

My dream project is the one I am living in right now. After 33 years dedicated to art and architecture - today, they allow me to do what I always wanted. I am painting on my mountain surrounded by my forests and have endless space to paint.

What's the best piece of advice you've received?

The best advice I received was to only do what makes you happy.

If you could go back in time to tell your younger self anything you learned along the way, what would it be?

I would tell him, "Don't hesitate; what you are doing is the right thing to do."

Have you ever said 'no' to an opportunity? How did you decide to say no?

I have never said no to an opportunity. Some options didn't happen, but I followed all the ones that came my way. I only said no to the things that somehow prevented me from doing what I wanted to do.

How would you describe your brand?

I am not an abstract painter; I paint something real. I paint hyper-realistic forests.

What were you thinking about when you created “Technology”?

I thought about how technology entered my forest and filled it with color.

Technology painting

(Cristian Navarro. Technology. 2020. Acrylic over Canvas, Braced in Wood. 38 in. x 85 in.)

What was your inspiration behind 'Sacred Geometry' and “Purpura Rosa”?

I realized that I had a bougainvillea growing in my forest, adding color. And the geometry of the flower broke everything up like a kaleidoscope.

Pink Purple painting

(Cristian Navarro. Pink Purple. 2020. Acrylic over Canvas, with Wood Brace. 38 in. x 85 in. x 6 in.)

What was your inspiration behind De la Esperanza?

The world I live in is mysterious, and I understand it through the mysterious art of arts, which is beautiful.