Cristina Cordova is a sculptor based in North Carolina. Originally from Puerto Rico, Cordova studied engineering but after finding little room for creativity in the cold numbers and rigorous courses, she decided to pursue a career in fine arts. She shares how she ended up landing on sculpture as her medium, the early challenges of being a growing artist and the challenges she faces in her work now. Talking with Cristina was incredibly inspiring and her wisdom on continuing creative work when you've fallen out of love is something I feel almost anyone can relate to.
Tell me what your role looks like right now, what’s your main focus at the moment?
My focus right now is trying to get to the bone of what I’ve surveyed through the past fourteen years. I’ve tried a little bit of everything. I’ve tried to make different things, teach in different capacities and essentially experience the medium through different tangents.
I’m now at the point where I’m trying to simplify all of that and get to the core work that I feel is important, and a specific teaching strategy so that I can share some of the knowledge I’ve accumulated.
In a sense, I think I'm trying to distill and concentrate my efforts so that I feel that they're a little more focused.
You started in engineering, so I’d love to hear more about what your path from that to art was like?
My parents were kind of your standard professionals, they were physicians, so in my mind, the notion of entering into a career was kind of in alignment with that. I didn’t know a lot of artists that were making a living in art. My parents and I surveyed different things, and they had a friend who was an engineer and had their own company. I spent some time there and got the sense that I could maybe do that. There’s a pretty great engineering school on the West Coast in Puerto Rico, so I entered that program and began taking courses. I very quickly realized that wasn’t my disposition. The space for creativity was minuscule.
After all these cold numbers and really rigorous courses I was growing a little bit crazy, so I went back to the drawing board and decided to switch to the fine arts department. I started to look around Puerto Rico for artists who were actually committed to a life of art, I found this couple and they were hugely influential for me. It was the first time I had a strong example that making a living in art was really possible. I needed to have that model in my mind. When you just don’t know anyone who has done it, it’s hard to take a leap.