Metro Art has a new digital art series, and the inaugural exhibition is now on view at all open Blue Line stations. More People Than You Know features portraits of transit patrons created by local artists. To celebrate the re-opening of the refurbished rail line, we are featuring an interview with each of the commissioned artists. Make sure you look for these portraits displayed on the newly installed digital customer information panels. This is Metro’s first transit corridor with this new cultural amenity.
Kristina Ambriz – Interview – Friday, July 19, 2019
Lives in neighborhood: Huntington Beach
Metro Arts & Design met artist Kristina Ambriz at Del Amo Station on the Blue Line. Together we looked at the architectural elements that influenced the composition of the artwork she created for this exhibition and spoke about how her daughter inspired the portrait.
What is your connection to the Blue Line?
I lived in Belmont Shore for four years and worked in Shoreline Village for seven years. I used Metro and Long Beach Transit a lot.
What type of art do you make? What is your primary medium? How do you work as an artist?
I am an artist and also a mom. For the most part, I am self-taught although I did take some studio art classes. I typically work in acrylic although I have also used oils. I prefer acrylic because it’s less messy and also takes a shorter time to dry. My primary subject matter is portraiture. I am drawn to the eyes, facial expressions, and body language of the subject. Portraiture is challenging because it’s difficult to capture the facial expressions just right.
I also work from photographs; I use them as reference. When I have an idea, I usually let it marinate; I multitask and work on different pieces at the same time. I am inspired by textures and love working with acrylic because I can try to truthfully render the tactile surface qualities in an artwork. For example, using the photographs of the Del Amo Station wall as source material, I attempted to accurately render the layered surfaces of the concrete, the vegetal growth, and marks (natural and human made) of the wall in my painting. I used acrylic paint as impasto to create a trompe l’œil reproduction of the actual things/structures.
How did you approach the Metro’s portrait project, More People Than You Know?
I am interested in street art and walls in general. Walls have a history like rings in a tree. For the project, I was thinking about using a wall from one of the Blue Line stations as background. Being a mom, I am with my daughter all day. So, with her in tow, we took the train and spent the whole day traveling along the Blue Line. We explored the neighborhoods and looked for a station location that would serve as a backdrop for my portrait. It was a bit challenging to photograph my daughter in transit spaces because she is quite active at this age. This was the most difficult process throughout this commission. My idea is to depict my daughter at Del Amo Station. The goal was to convey a younger generation who will be using Metro.