COLUMNS,  INTERVIEWS,  Portrait of an Artist

Mobile Photography & Art – Portrait of an Artist – Seeing Through The Eyes Of Oola Cristina

We are delighted to bring to you the twelfth in our brand new series of interviews within our Portrait of an Artist column entitled “Seeing through the eyes…”. This is a section that has been created by our wonderful Portrait of an Artist Editor, Ile Mont. Mont has been inspired by the life and works of Carolyn Hall Young, as so many of us have. Young was the main contributor to our Portrait of an Artist Flickr pool and filled it with portraits of so many wonderful people, not only of herself. It is for this reason that Mont wanted to create this section, to enable us to view the artists style through their own eyes. At the end of each interview, Mont will keep Young’s tradition alive, with a portrait of herself, seen through the eyes of the artist. In this case, you will see that at the end of this interview there is a portrait of Mont, seen through the eyes of Oola Cristina, what a gift!

Please continue to post your mobile portraiture to our dedicated Flickr group, this way, Mont will search through these artists first to interview. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).

All images in this interview ©Oola Cristina, with the final image a collaboration ©Ile Mont/Oola Cristina

(To view our other published interviews in this series, please go here).

What does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative is one of the best of gifts! I have within me something that feeds my mind, heart and spirit. It means I get to move through the world with a nice amount of wonder and delight, noticing and finding value in the smallest of things. I think it has made me more mindful, and given me better access to feel, process and express my internal world that results in more balance. Being creative and making art are two of the most satisfying ways to spend time, connect me with others and make positive ripples in the world.

Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

There was never a time in my life where the energy of “making” wasn’t around me, and it’s now a deeply ingrained habit. Making things and being creative was part of the culture in my family. I made my first origami cranes before I could read. I was very lucky to have parents who encouraged me by always giving me things with which I could create. I was in my 20s when I realised that creating was something I absolutely had to do. At that time, making art offered me respite from what was hard in my life. It was cathartic and helped me feel more connected to myself. As I’ve gotten older, it has become more purely a pleasure and is endlessly entertaining. When I’m making art, I’m happier and more peaceful.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

Making art has rarely been an intellectual process for me. I get tangled up in my head or blocked when I try to direct what I’m doing too much or communicate something in particular. It’s more about showing up, following what attracts me and letting something be created. The image ends up communicating something but I usually don’t know what it is until I’m done or almost done with a piece.

“selfie with new hat” ©Oola Cristina

Why portraits and self portraits?

Portraits and self-portraits are something I very much want to explore more fully. I’ve always thought of my flora and fauna images as portraits, especially the macros. When looking at a thing up close for a while, there is something of its spirit or essence that gets absorbed and relayed, I think. Just like in doing a portrait of a person, the more you look, the more you see, and the more that gets expressed.

“decaying garden ~ astrantia IV” ©Oola Cristina
“toward the within”©Oola Cristina

What do you think are the ups and downs about working with your own image?

I imagine the downs would be looking at the same features over and over – like taking photos of the same flower. I can lose track of a lot of time taking photos of one flower and completely enjoy it, but at some point, I want to look at another flower. That said, the sameness and familiarity likely acts as a powerful creative catalyst to finding something more personal and/or universal with each creation… something more revealing, evocative, humorous, compelling.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of?

I’m pretty proud of the collaboration for this article! I tried some new things and am very happy with the results.

How do you know when a work is finished?

Sometimes it’s a feeling… I just know. Other times, after trying this or that, I can’t see anything else that would add to the piece. Then there are those times when I decide it’s finished because I need it to be finished… I’ve messed with it so long, I’m tired of it and it would be a big relief to stop! 😀

“memento” ©Oola Cristina

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

The main thing I need to do in order for creativity and art to happen, is take care of my body. Put good things in it, get enough sleep, and move it enough in between those long periods of sitting, so I can comfortably continue.

What inspires you?

Inspirations can come with everything… taking in the world around me; being still and quite; dreams; feeling connected to something, someone, myself; nature; poetry; music; books; TV/movies; looking at a lot of art; new apps.

What are your favorite tools and apps while creating?

The iPad Pro and Apple pencil changed my mobile art and photography life! I couldn’t do what I’m doing without them. I also love my Olloclip macro lenses and my scanner. Most used apps at the moment: Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Leonardo, Pixelmator, Stackables, Mextures, DistressedFX and Mixerpiece. I also enjoy the BrainFeverMedia apps quite a bit. I’m in the very early stages of learning iColorama, Procreate and DecoSketch, and am SO looking forward to the time when I can navigate those apps proficiently as I know they will make a huge impact on what I can create!

“Vote” ©Oola Cristina

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?

Relax, be patient, be persistent but don’t try, stay out of your head and play.

What advice would you share with us?

If creating brings you pleasure, do it as often as you can. Take (back) your time, follow your intuition and pay attention to what attracts you.

Thank you very much for your insight and time

My pleasure, Ile. Thank YOU so very much for this opportunity!

I have been seen through the eyes of Oola Cristina. It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to see a little through her eyes.

©Oola Cristina and Ile Mont

Contact Details of Oola Cristina

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Ileana Mont Born in Mexico City, Ileana is a professional in graphic communications and advertising. She studied in San Diego, CA. in the United States and later on she returned to Mexico City where she worked as a copywriter, graphic designer and creative director for several advertising agencies, until she realized she had a more artistic calling and a very strong feeling for painting and photography. She learned about painting techniques with Mexican artist Irma Grizá and engaged in developing and combining her photography and computer graphics skills through her visual expression. She is now an independent visual artist and photographer and has been featured in some important blogs about mobile art and photography. Ileana enjoys looking for the beauty out of ordinary things and the special things of our everyday lives.


  • Carol Wiebe

    Oh my, oh my, I somehow missed this amazing article, where Oola reveals so much about her creative mind and spirit. It forms a portrait of her that I not only relate to, but which attracts me by its utter delight in the whole creative process. I smiled as I read it and decided to follow her and her work even more closely, knowing there would be many more amazing images to take pleasure in.

  • CarolWiebe

    Hahahahaha! I used amazing twice in one paragraph! That just goes to show what an effect Oola and her work had on me. Thanks to both Oola and Joanne for producing such a giddy response. Delight is always satisfying.