Art Chat with Cristina Paulos
Having grown up in Los Angeles, Cristina Paulos retains a strong connection with Hollywood and shares an appreciation for others who do the same. Therefore it should come as no surprise that she found cold comfort in the film Mulholland Dr., David Lynch's visually stunning ode to the dominant industry of her native soil. In her words, the movie touches on all aspects of Hollywood, and by identifying with a character in the film, the film itself, and the city of Los Angeles in general, Cristina's spawned a signature artwork for the upcoming show, Crazy 4 Cult 5 (I'm Too Old For This Sh*t) at Gallery 1988. In our chat, Cristina expounds upon the nostalgic, yet eerily ambiguous glow provided by both the city and the film.
There are about ten different interpretations of Mulholland Dr., what's yours?
It’s about Hollywood, told in many different perceptions.
You follow characters which feel like Hollywood from TV soap opera, the noir of gangster films, musicals, old Hollywood films’ glamour and then the dark E True Hollywood story. We watch all the dreams and fall deeper into it, as the awareness changes. The characters have no identities and fall down the winding road that is Mulholland Dr. There is enough Hollywood perception from film and tv which was already created for us to be clued in and understand where the stories are going. Hollywood is so ingrained in our culture and Hollywood is already a dream reality and lives in it’s own space. A Hollywood Starlet can live forever in that space.
Mulholland Drive, has strong visual characters which live in dreams. Lynch’s films are very human, he focus on our dreams and perception, and how truly human we are. He gives use visual segments, clues, and YOU can piece it together and create sense. He makes films for the human audience.
My favorite part on the movie is the Opera scene, with the singer is singing “Llorando (Crying)”. It’s a haunting scene. Its when the story shifts and everything is but an illusion. We are watching the two female character’s watching their realities change. The singer is not singing in real-time which was already prerecorded. There is no time, there is now an awareness that this is all merrily a dream.
When depicting certain pieces on films, what leads you to your selection?
Mulholland Drive, wasn’t my first choose. I was trying really hard to pick a CULT movie to create an inspired art piece for. I was going back between Showgirls and They Live sketches. They weren’t working, I was trying too hard. I abandon the pieces. Without much thought I choose Mulholland Drive. It was a movie I’ve seen many times. I think it was a good choice for me. I didn’t try too hard and I just created from a memory of one of the center characters. The movies live in dreams, and art follows similar roles. So creating a piece from inspiration from Mulholland Drive was a good choice, as I often work from intuition alone.
Mulholland Dr. is broken into segments that arguably represent very two distinct sides of LA: a dreamy, ideal world filled with love, opportunity and adventure, and a harsh, competitive world littered with lust and power. What is your take on Los Angeles?
The movie feels just like driving that road at night, it’s scary and you sometimes can only see a few feet ahead of you, but it is filled with beautiful vistas of the city and valley, hidden lavish Hollywood homes. LA is filled with many interesting roads and freeways. As you drive your, landscapes change, within miles sometimes. For example, if you are driving on Topanga Canyon it will lead you to the Vasquez Rocks (where past bandits hid from the law) and head the opposite direction to a beach in Malibu. 2 very different experiences, same road. You are going over hills, past the homes people live in, through signs, roadwork, trees, traffic, cliffs, and sometime mudslides. Your destinations are changing, you can choose to go a hip Hollywood club on Sunset, or find a hidden cowboy bar somewhere in the hills in the Valley. LA has everything and nobody walks in LA.
Which aspect of Laura Elena Harring's character are you depicting in your piece? What drew you to her as opposed to the assortment of other characters in the film?
Laura Elena Harring's character is the important character in the movie, she unravels the story. She has no sure identity. Her roles change, yet she is still the center of HOLLYWOOD story. She the mysterious character, the innocent, the victim, the dame, the seducer and the string puller. When her character is on the screen, she steals the scene.
I kept my piece very simple. Laura Elena Harring's character is the blue key, she gives you a fantasy and she leads you. She is the center of the mystery, but it’s really Noami Watt’s character’s fantasies which she opens.
But it’s the smallest and insignificant characters, the old couple from the airport, which lead Naomi Watt’s character to her own self-destruction in the end of the film. Much like humans, it’s the small things which break you.
Thanks Cristina! To learn more about Cristina Paulos and her artwork, visit cristinapaulos.com.