Our eighty first interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist Cintia Malhotra born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York and currently living in Union County, New Jersey, United States. With its temperate prose, compelling images and thorough answers (both in terms of art and text), this is an exemplary mobile photographic reference interview. Enjoy.
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør, Paul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe), John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs and myself, go here.
All images ©Cintia Malhotra
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
I was curious about the darkroom when I was about 4 or 5 years old. My family would watch a lot of detective shows – Columbo and Night Stalker come to mind. There was always a scene in which the main character was in a darkroom, bathed in the glow of the safelight and developing a print which had a clue to the plot. I thought it was magic! So, I would take my mother’s headshots (she was a performer) and dip them in a sink full of water pretending I was developing them. So, my first ambition could be considered to be darkroom technician – ha! I later developed a love for theater – in secondary school being an actress was my ambition. At University, I decided to focus on graphic art and photography.
In 4th grade I won a Fire Safety poster contest. I still have the trophy somewhere.
I got my first job at 15 and was hired as a sales/stock person at a children’s clothing store in downtown Brooklyn, NY.
Private or State school?
Pubic school for primary/secondary education and State school for University.
University or work?
Both. I worked full-time while attending University part-time – except the last two years were full-time at university and part-time work at a local photo studio. Loved working off the debt and gaining experience at the same time.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I never really had one but enjoyed reading about other artists and learning from their experiences.
How physically fit are you?
I try to get to the gym at least twice a week but I also take long walks (2-4 miles) in a local park to relax.
Ambition or Talent? What matters more to success?
My answer would have been different a decade ago but my current self would say ambition. I will also add that I consider success to be a relative term. For many it is material success that counts, for me it is not.
How politically committed are you?
More so now than ever before. It has something to do with hindsight and an unveiling of certain truths because of it. Some of my personal and recent work does have a political angle.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I have everything I need as far as possessions but would want more time. Time has become truly precious to me… time to recover from a daily routine, to experiment more and to create.
What is your biggest extravagance?
My biggest extravagance would be on photo equipment. Plus, the cost of printing supplies such at paper and toner.
In which places are you happiest?
Walking in a peaceful solitude along a shoreline is my happy place for sure. Anywhere by a body of water is great.
What ambitions do you still have?
I want to be a good example to the younger generation of artists who weren’t born into privilege that their desire to create can still be a reality. There is so much work I still need to make. I want it to evoke feeling and make people question more. Definitely want to incorporate different mediums, techniques in the future and incorporate more of my love of theater when there is time, time, time…
What drives you on?
My mortality… plus a healthy competition with myself.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
So far, my greatest achievement has been creating a relatively good life for myself — things could have turned out so different fo me. As an artist, I would have to say getting published in an international fine art magazine. Felt proud going to a bookstore to pick up an issue.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
A lack of manners or consideration for others. Hypocrisy – especially from those who talk about how righteous they are but don’t put it into action.
If your twenty-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
Given her circumstances at the time, she’d be surprised and very proud.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
I really try not to hold too much value in objects. Never want them to own me.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Greed and materialism… it is the root of most of our global challenges. Hmmm… might add elitism, it definitely relates to the disparity that is getting worse especially in …
Do you believe in the afterlife?
Yes, but it doesn’t mean it will be on this planet or even in this dimension.
If you had to rate you satisfaction about your life so far from 1 to 10, what would you score?
7… but I’m not done yet.
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