“To be an artist is amazing and beautiful. To live as an artist is a fight sometimes.” – Cristina Jimenez Rey

Cristina Jimenez Rey is a visual artist and an art director from Spain. Her journey with art began when she was only eleven years old, through the traditional medium of drawing. During her teen years she picked up her mother’s Yashica Electro 35, an analog camera, and began to shoot her friends and her social circle. From then on, her passion for photography rose. Rey has won artistic competitions and received major grants, time and time again she has exhibited her caliber and passion for the arts.

Quoting Bukowski,

“If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else.”

Rey says, “I sincerely believe that it is true and can be extrapolated to anything you want to do in life. It is not enough if you like something, it has to be inevitable.”
The unique perspectives demonstrated in Rey’s work reflect just that- inevitability. It stirs up a sense of nostalgia in one’s heart. The textured edges of her photographs are reminiscent of old albums. Through her lens, we see an interplay between shadows, light, and colors. Usually, the night is depicted with cold hues and a neutral color palette. Warm tones play an interesting role in her photos, kindling comfort. Photographs taken in the dead of the night are often eerie or unsettling, but Rey creates pieces that do the opposite, finding solace in loneliness. Golden and orange shadows help resemble old vintage lamps and fixtures in worn-down buildings. The confluence of modern and the old is unique to Rey. A mundane food truck or a gas station is transformed into sights of still memory by the artist. Most images use light as a means to create a spotlight on the subject, in some cases using silhouettes to highlight the main focus of the image. Even in pieces where the focal point seems to be the odd one out the composition and elements fuse together seamlessly.

Having studied Art History at University, all disciplines of art appeal to Rey despite her specialization in photography. She favors no specific discipline and notes that all disciplines are valid as long as they invoke some feeling and move a person’s core. Rey’s taste in artists is ever-evolving. The things she cherished yesterday may not amuse her today. She is drawn to change and refuses to be anchored. In her process of taking photographs, she shifts between cameras and formats.

“I like the cinematographic style in both fashion and lifestyle photography, the light, and the framing. Gregory Credson and Erwin Olaf are my eternal references. I am inspired by everything around me, it is true that the cinematographic style in photography has one of the bases in many of my photos but not only do cinema, music, skateboarding, and surfing inspire me as visual poetry and a great lifestyle, going to museums, books and also my friends, going to have a beer, a good conversation, my mother, Nala, my puppy and a lot of things”

Rey has called many cities home, such as London, Granada, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, and Dusseldorf, and in recent years has traversed between Madrid and Barcelona. Currently, Rey is confined to her hometown- Salamanca, where she continues to develop her craft while abiding by the new norms of isolation. “These moments when we spend time with ourselves are really good creative moments.”
She quotes Leo Tolstoy: “Melancholy slows down, it cools the ardor and puts into perspective the thoughts, observations, and feelings generated in other moments of greater enthusiasm.”
Rey continues her contemplation of these times with an appreciative stance: “the melancholy in me is repetitive and comes with its creative part. Sadness pushes us to look at ourselves, to look for alternatives, and to restructure our emotional world, and there we find everything for our creative process.”

All Images by Cristina Jimenez Rey.
Text by Jyotsna Iyer.
Edited by Romina Bertetti.

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