INTERVIEW // Cristina Balan – from diplomacy to modern art and NFTs
English translation of article on www.democracy.md
Cristina Balan is the former Ambassador of Moldova to the USA, the first woman from Moldova and the region accredited as a Chief of a Diplomatic Mission in Washington D.C. During the last three years, Cristina Balan painted, having a beautiful performance internationally. Cristina Balan is featured by art galleries in NYC, Barcelona and Tokyo, and her artworks have been published in modern art magazines from Spain and UK.
You have an impressive career in business, politics and diplomacy. How was this radical shift to art? Wouldn’t it have been easier to create a consulting company, as other people with a resume like yours do?
All children know what they want to become when they grow up. Mainly, we dream of occupations that bring us joy rather than money. When we become adults, we are led to pick professions, which would enable us to survive, become respectable, “like all the rest”… Painting was the occupation I chose at the age of five and I have always been aware of the fact that sooner or later I will be an artist.
The apparent “radical shift” was in fact a well-thought move. Yes, my friends and family were at first skeptical about the idea of erasing everything and starting from scratch in an absolutely new area of activity. Everybody thought it was therapy or a hobby. In the world of art it doesn’t really matter who you are and where you come from, how well you talk, or how your hair is done. In art you get appreciated only for your true essence and for your final product. If it’s captivating, special, all the rest doesn’t really matter.
You are a pragmatic person. The art for you is a passion or a business, especially that some of your paintings have been highly valued?
I am rather a creative person who stands with both feet on the ground. Art is an occupation, which like others involves costs and revenues. I don’t take it as a business, but my business and international affairs background are of great help. I can easily handle sophisticated contracts proposed by some art galleries, I manage my art platforms and social media accounts, my English is fluent, I know how to present my works, how to create fair and mutually beneficial professional relations.
Many artists state that their activity is 50% creative and 50% administrative work. This is my case too. Moreover, I recently completed my postgraduate studies at an international art business academy to better understand the exact roles of every art market player. My partners and art galleries I work with appreciate that I respect the agreed timelines and all engagements, I play by the rules and continuously evolve as an artist. It’s a signal for the collectors that I am investment worthy, as there is a visible dynamic and potential in my artistic activity.
Your style is very different from what is currently created in Moldova. Are you going to stick with this style, develop it as your signature, or shall we expect a complete change in Cristina Balan’s painting?
I paint what comes from within, through my paintings I manifest myself. My communication language is abstract art, which is not as easy as some may think it is.
I wouldn’t say that I already have found that style that would enable me to cover the entire spectrum of what I need to communicate. I currently work on several collections, each in its own style:
- Vortexes are mainly textured swirls, addressing the subject of energy and its influence on people. You can gaze at a vortex and feel how your vibration changes instantly, isn’t it fascinating?
- Minimalist collection consists of paintings that are mainly clear lines or circles and color blocks. Through these works I invite people to meditate over matters like harmony, sound, and love in society. I adore the complex simplicity of minimalism.
- The Goddesses are addressing various aspects of the divine feminine. I created the Mother of Creation, Mother with Child, Venus, and many are still in process. The titles of these paintings speak for themselves. This series of works was born as a result of a one-year long project that I took part of, where my coach would give me weekly tasks aimed to expand me as an artist. The Goddesses are created in clear lines, and each shape, color, dot has a very profound meaning.
Resuming, I am still playing with styles and I am not ready to limit myself to one single style. I know there is a rule that a painter needs to find a style that would make him/her recognizable, but I am not here for that.
According to your recent posts, you entered the NFT market. I have the impression that you are a pioneer of Moldova in this sense. Please explain to us what is an NFT and how does this instrument work for an artist?
NFTs are crypto assets. In a more simple language, these are images placed in the Metaverse that can be purchased by traders, investors or collectors. As cryptocurrency fluctuates based on a number of factors, including the real economy, so do the art NFTs fluctuate based on the cryptocurrency rates and what happens in the real art world. The NFT market simply exploded during the last year.
I don’t know if there are any Moldovan artists who created NFTs, but I am certain that many will. To an artist, the NFTs represent another communication tool.
I have created several NFTs to test the process and better understand how it works. Well, I have studied this area for a year or so. I declined several collaboration offers that came from NFT marketplaces, which looked to me like banal image storages. I’d never drop my NFTs there because I care too much about quality. The last offer came from PRISM NFTs, an US-founded marketplace specialized in premium NFTs crafted by recognized artists. Each artist is first approved by a Board, and each NFT is subject to the curator's approval.
I notice a higher interest in my work, I have many new contacts, many shares on social media. My visibility grows, which means that my artist rating will grow, and ultimately, the value of my physical artworks and future NFTs will grow.
So does it mean that you can make money from art?
Any activity can bring revenues, if you carry it out with professionalism and devotion.
Can we consider the NFTs as an instrument to promote the Moldovan artists on the international scene?
Yes, of course. I assume that every artist entering the Metaverse is duly noticed. Well, provided that you make your entrance the right way.
How can you characterize the Moldovan art? Is there a perspective for the young Moldovan painters?
I can’t really say anything about this, as my focus is on the international market. Regarding perspective, „Sol lucet omnibus”, the sun shines on everyone.
A message for those who want to make art, but the fear prevents them from making the shift you have done?
The talents are a gift from God that need to be treated accordingly. Fear is a destructive force, and it takes work and devotion to achieve success in any area of activity.