I can show students a range of artists work and if Cristina Troufa is in the mix, there are certain to be several students who choose to look at her work. I shouldn’t be surprised. The first time I saw her work I did a double take. It’s not often that you look at an artists work and think – that’s different. In my eyes she’s mastered the art of ‘less is more’ and turned the idea of negative space on it’s head. Her self-portraits, with repeated images of herself, have a narrative quality. I love asking students what they notice about the clothing of the figures in her paintings and seeing the moment when they realise that the clothing is usually the same colour as the background. I’ve been lucky enough to question Troufa about her work.
Were you interested in art at school?
“I was always interested in art, because since very young I knew that I want to be an artist, a painter.”
Was your art teacher an influence on you?
“Some more than others, but all of them were very important to my growth. We can learn always something, even small things that will be necessary to understand art and help us how we may improve our talents.”
Do you keep a sketchbook?
“I have a small book where I put all kind of things that I have to do and all kind of information to don´t forget it. In that book I also draw some sketches of ideas that I have for new paintings.”
What are the major themes in your work?
“Life, death, resilience, love, memories, lessons of life, my childhood, spirituality, self growth… All about how I see my life and life in general. The eternal seeking of knowing what I am doing here, who I am, and what happens after death.”
What practical advice would you give students who were trying to make work inspired by yours?
“To look much longer time for the photo they are trying to copy, than to the painting that they are doing.”
Troufa is a Portuguese artist based in Porto. She has exhibited in solo and group shows all over the world. See more of her work here:
For a free presentation for art teachers on Cristina Troufa click the image below.