Cristina Vinhas, was born in Vila do Conde, Portugal.
Between 2000 and 2003, she attended a Jewellery course in Cindor – Centre for Professional Training of the Goldsmithing and Watch-making industry. Later on, she built her own workshop aiming at creating her own pieces of Author Jewellery while, simultaneously, developing collections for the jewellery industry in Portugal.
She has been living in Macau since 2007, where she continues her Author’s Jewellery and conducts jewellery workshops for the Casa de Portugal em Macau association.
“Traditional & Creative Rabbit Lanterns 4” - Albergue SCM
“Women Condition” – Albergue SCM
“Macau for Haiti + Quinghai” - Albergue SCM.
“Today, Tomorrow” - Creative Macau.
“MIF- Macao International Fair” - Casa de Portugal em Macau.
“35th Anniversary of the 25th of April in Macau” - Clube Militar de Macau.
“100% Designed in Macau” - Creative Macau.
“MIF- Macao International Fair” - Casa de Portugal em Macau.
Why did you become an artist?
Owing to the need I felt to create, to exteriorize my emotions. We gradually grow and learn how to appreciate the beautiful things in life; we also progressively sharpen our aesthetic sense, the need to create, to materialize images, forms, ideas which we gradually build and arise naturally.
Tell us about your most recent artwork, for example, your works in your most recent exhibition.
My most recent artwork consists of 3 steel pieces that were exhibited in the MIF and at the Creative Macao Gallery, which I entitled “The Mysterious Force of Nature”, inspired in the fantastic trees that exist is some streets of Macau, with roots emerging from the ground.
Could you please explain the kind of techniques employed in your artwork?
They can be several, depending on the piece in question. For instance, in theses last ones, I sculpted the tree roots in a mouldable paste but, due to the dimension being larger that the pieces’ normally used in jewellery, it had to be injected in a foundry and sculpture factory in Guangzhou. But normally I use the regular assembly techniques used in jewellery in my pieces.
Where do you find inspiration for your artwork? What excites you?
Almost always, my pieces feature organic forms, of elements I collect in nature; nevertheless, the elements that can inspire me when making a piece are very varied, any image from everyday life, a story one wants to tell, an architectural detail, a living being, or only develop an abstract form from metal.
Is there a story, meaning or significance in your artworks? Are they mainly technique-related or purely creations of the arts?
Sometimes they are exercises of pure technique, and other times they reflect a story or a message I need or wish to tell or materialize.
How do you start working on a piece of artwork? At which point do you consider the work as completed?
Sometimes I start from metal directly to the piece, or from a project developed previously. I consider it finished when I am pleased with the final result, but often the finishing alternatives are so numerous that make the choice difficult. There is always a big sense of dissatisfaction; ideally, one should execute them all.
How and why do you title your artworks?
Some follow a theme and it is almost compulsory to give them titles as they arise from a very precise or objective idea. Other times, it is during the creation process that I give them a title, but I need to title them even if only for my own reference.
Which artists have influenced you? In what manner?
All I observe certainly influences me, limits me, and moulds me through lines, forms, balance, force, delicacy, elegance and lightness. When I create I try to clear my mind completely and start from scratch.
As an artist, what are the best and the worst things?
The positive side is to have the opportunity to materialize emotions and work beauty. The negative side is to suffer from permanent anguish, anxiety and dissatisfaction.
Did you attend any art school? From your perspective, is formal education in the arts important for an artist?
I attended a more technical and less artistic jewellery school. The importance of training is relative and depends on each person. There are self-taught artists who never attended an art school who are continually learning, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh… But I think that to learn the techniques one needs to have training. The artistic side has more to do with the sensitivity of each person.
How is business for an artist? How do you manage the sale of your artworks?
I am not commercial at all and would delegate that part if possible. Nevertheless, almost all the pieces I produce are for exhibitions. Only some of my pieces are more commercial and those I sell directly to the client.
Can you make a living with arts?
I am not living exclusively from the sale of my pieces, but I am sure it would not be easy. For that, I would have to opt also for a more commercial aspect.
Have you hosted any international exhibitions?
What are your views on the artistic environment in Macao?
There are creative small groups in Macau that are developing, interacting and becoming more consistent; if it weren’t like this, these small groups would lose dynamics and lag behind. The habit of observing what other artists are doing and following their path is already somewhat common. The community is also creating that routine.
Is it easy to be an artist in Macao?
It is not easy to be an artist, but Macau has conditions that please me. For me there is here an ambience that favours creativity: the melting pot of cultures, architecture, nature, serenity and tranquillity, people whom I meet daily as well as the materials available.
Apart from the arts, what are your other interests?
To live everyday life in harmony.
How do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Where I am happy.
What would you like to tell or advise young artists who are starting out their artistic career?
It requires a lot of work and determination.
What is your idea of total happiness?
Emotional balance and professional fulfilment.
What do you fear most?
Which of your own characteristics do you dislike most?
Loss of control.
What characteristics of other people do you dislike most?
When and where did you feel happier?
Angola, Portugal, Macau.
What do you think is your greatest achievement?
To stick to my principles and to my human conduct.
If you could choose your next life, what kind of object or person do you want to be?
The same person.
Which of your possessions do you cherish most?
To love life.
What do you consider as the greatest pain?
Where would you like to live?
Where I am now.
What is your favourite occupation?
What do you dislike most in life?
Disenchantment, lovelessness, dishonesty.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Which artist do you particularly like?
Miró, Picasso and Giacometti.