We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Elizabeth Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina Elizabeth, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I choose never to give up. I think especially in the last year so many of us have thought about giving up on something, a dream career, our art, love… I know for me, it has been such a time of questioning professional and personal choices and whether to continue to pursue everything I dream of, but I always come back to the same answer inside of myself that whispers “keep going”. The stories that always inspire me the most are the people who never gave up on that inner voice, even when the world was railing against them, telling them it was impossible. That is what I aim to be, someone who never gives up and maybe inspires at least one person to never give up on themselves. I also know that after all the years of being in the arts, it is what I am meant to do. I am meant to be an artist. This is how I relate to the world, how I add my story and my softness to it. Art is the best way I know how to communicate. I am constantly wanting to communicate how interconnected we all are, how much we all struggle, how much we all want love, and art is my channel. So if you ask me if you should give up, I say never. If giving up feels like putting a part of your soul on a shelf, never ever sacrifice any piece of you. Besides, you could give up and hate what you choose to do instead, so you might as well be uncomfortable doing what you love.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Amrta, my brand as a painter is a forever evolving exploration of universal themes of how we are all interconnected, all struggling on this wild ride together. The name Amrta comes from a myth I read years ago that talked about how Amrta (Ambrosia) would fall from the sky at the end of a long battle. It was a symbol of rebirth and of peace after suffering. That felt like my life, going through battles and looking up at the sky for answers. I decided to adopt Amrta as my art name, because then I could stop waiting for the Amrta to fall and just be it for myself…and maybe for other people. I want my art to bring people beauty and peace and make them feel seen and held. We live in a tumultuous world, so if I can paint something that when someone looks at it hanging in their home it helps them exhale or feel less alone, it will all be worth it. I am working on a gold series now inspired by Kintsugi. In Japanese culture gold is poured in the cracks of broken pottery “golden joinery,” Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi, is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. The idea is that when the items become broken and the gold is poured in, the item becomes more beautiful. We are the same. Through our suffering, we pour metaphorical gold into the broken parts of ourselves each time we rise up from our suffering. Therefore fortifying ourselves more and more. I want to paint everything gold as a reminder that the gold is what we have been all along. Perfect gold. Never broken, but forever breaking to get back to our purest and most perfect state. I carve into these pieces modern (and sometimes crass) statements to keep them light and humorous, but also to merge the ancient with the current, the highbrow with the lowbrow. Once again showing we are all the same deep down and we might as well have a laugh along the way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, I love it here, we are so lucky to have so many amazing places to explore! I like long walks and really good coffees, so I’d probably take them to Bourgeois Pig for one of their almond matcha lattes, they sneak a little chai in there so it is my absolute favorite, I usually get one on the way to the studio. I’d also take them on a long walk into Griffith Park, pop down to Hillhurst and grab a snack at Greenleaves which is vegan Thai food and I love it! Figaro is another favorite because….bread….I really like bread. Nights before the pandemic were Mini Bar or La Poubelle for wine, candlelight, and long catch up sessions.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I could shout out so many people…but major shout out to Mike Collins at Shockboxx Gallery. Not enough can be said about him and his community/ encouragement. Really, the whole Shockboxx crew. I am better because I know all of them. Also, shout out to my family and my sweet friends who feel like family. You are engraved in my heart.