Interview: Cristina Balan. Colors by a Woman.
written by RED
Interview: Rodica Ciorănică
Photo: Victoria Wonka
Kind, fearless and intelligent - are Cristina’s recognized qualities. Before, when she was jammed in negotiations, office work, or on the halls of the great powers, as an Ambassador of a small country by the name of Republic of Moldova, she did not have the time to do what she likes, in fact, the most – painting. Now, when she finally creates art, it looks like she is performing a languorous Latino Dance, full of love…
Cristina, what is your story in a longer paragraph?
I grew up in Chisinau. From early years it was clear that I would be an artist, as I was drawing all the time. At the age of five I started taking painting classes, at eleven I went to a fine art school. My works have been displayed at many exhibitions. After graduating the high school, I was planning to go to the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, but that was the time when the Soviet Union collapsed and I had to choose a job that would help me face the new realities. Besides arts, I was good at math, so I decided to study Business Administration. I started working at the age of eighteen and never stopped since. At the age of twenty-four I was leading a team of sixty people and developing business projects abroad. I worked in several multinational companies, then, gradually, stepped into politics. My last assignment was of an Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the United States of America. I was the first woman from my country and from the region that held such a position. Moreover, at the time I served in Washington D.C., there were only seventeen women ambassadors. I didn’t find the job difficult, it’s the same as in business – you need to know your agenda, a good planning and management. I performed well, managed to highlight Moldova at many events, had a great communication with the U.S. stakeholders, and even was featured on the covers of the Washington Life and the Washington Diplomat. You get quickly noticed, if you’re good.
From an important position in politics you become the Ambassador of the greatest world power, and then you switch to an absolutely different quiet life... You stay at home and create art... How would you explain that?
I returned to art while being in the United States. My friends and colleagues encouraged and supported me a lot. I returned from my mission with several large format paintings knowing that I will fully commit to art. This pause from art has been too long. All these years, I would buy canvases and art supplies and keep them in the storage.... Now I am a painter. It’s been a year, but my works have been already featured at several group exhibitions in the United States, I had a personal art show and in February 2020 my works have been displayed at the Muse show of the 104 Gallery that is a part of the New York Art Center. There are many projects that I am working on for 2020, worldwide. While looking back, it’s hard to believe how many things have changed and how much I have advanced in art in such a short period of time.... My life is not quiet, I work as hard as I used to, travel a lot and still go not get enough of sleep...
What happens in a woman’s mind when the Universe sends her such challenges?
If you refer to career, then every stage of it was my choice. I don’t do simple things, I find them boring. From childhood I have been stretching my limits, always tried things that seemed to be impossible at a first glance. I never waist time. My friends and family are used to the fact that I carry out several projects simultaneously, it’s a norm.
Why painting? What do you transmit? What is the message?
The talent is a gift from God. If he/she decided to grant it to you, then receive it and make it work, as nothing is random. If you decide to do something else, it’s OK, but only for a while. If you are not applying your talent, then you somehow neglect the most valuable blessing that you have in your life. I paint what is coming from Above, from the Universe. I am absolutely fascinated by the entire creation process. First visions and shapes come, and I know that I need to depict them. When I take a canvas, something tells me what colors to use. Before paining, I meditate, listen to high vibration music, light up candles and have crystals with me. I prefer to be alone in my studio, the energy within me and around needs to be clean. This is how the magic works to me. I paint four several in a row and I stop when I feel that I have given everything to my painting. There are paintings that take only several sessions, other take months until ready. I test all kinds of materials. Sometimes I feel tempted to apply glitter, gold, crystals... these are things that are not really my thing, as I am generally minimalist. What do I transmit? Emotions, vibrations, experiences. All beautiful and cosmic. I recently discovered the concept of Energy Art, I think this is what I do.
You have mentioned about your participation at art shows in the USA. How do the critics see you? What are they telling about your work?
The feedback is mostly positive, I have been told that my works are beautiful, but after all the way that your art is perceived is very subjective. Some people are overwhelmed, some are looking and see nothing. This is valid for those who are not fans of abstraction. I have a good friend who is a very gifted writer, who he told me at the very beginning: „Who cares what others say?! Manifest yourself!” I always have his words on my mind. If we’d keep thinking what others would say, we’d probably get nowhere.
I would like to find out something about each of the five Cristinas: Cristina-daughter, Cristina-beloved, Cristina-mother, Cristina-career woman and Cristina - the artist... Cristina- the daughter is reliable and caring. Cristina-beloved is supported and protected. Cristina-mother is the best mom in the world, according to my kids. Cristina - the career woman is fulfilled and calm. Cristina - the artist is blossoming now.
Who is the strongest, who dominates, who wins and which one of them cries, and why?
Good question, all are strong. The one who may cry sometimes is the mother, but she is the one who gets the most happy as well. I am a mother first of all, my children mean the world to me.
Are you being weak sometimes?
A strong woman is a soft woman. Loving, generous, creative, patient... The power is not measured in money or positions, it is harmony and your psychological comfort. Weak, yes, I sometimes do foolish things that I later regret.
Friendships, do you believe in them? What are they based on in the 21st century?
Sure, I believe in friendships. I am an Aquarius, after all. A friendship, as any other type of relationship in fact, lasts only when you don’t have any expectations from people. Just enjoy them and be thankful that they exist in your life.
What is it that you’d never give up on?
Respect – for myself, for others, for the Mother Earth...
Do you believe in marriage?
Yes, marriage can be beautiful when you don’t have exaggerated expectations. It is nice to have a life partner, a home, kids, common friends. Marriage is not a must, some people choose another path. It’s important to do what makes you feel right.
Do you believe in love that last for a lifetime? What is the secret and why are they less frequent?
Yes, why not? There are loves that last more than one lifetime. Love has so many forms of love, it always evolves and transforms, and all we need to do is value and protect it.
Can a modern woman be successful in all aspects of life? How bad if not...?
It’s bad if the is not happy, all the rest is optional.
What does happiness mean to you?
To be alive.
Do you like the term „successful woman”, or you treat it with irony?
Each woman determines for herself what success is. Success is the satisfaction we get from what we do. Nowadays, a „successful woman” somehow means automatically a woman who has remarkable results in business or politics. A mother is also a successful woman. Each of us have our own vocation.
Who would you enjoy a coffee with?
The best coffee is with my friend. We laugh a lot and share stories. If that would have to be someone I don’t know ... that would probably be Salvador Dali. That wouldn’t be a typical “coffee savour”, but it would be definitely fun.
Who would you like to thank for what you are now?
Please find the original version of the interview in Romanian language here.