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The topic of desire is something I constantly think about—especially during a global pandemic, the ongoing George Floyd rebellions and climate crisis. Desires don’t disappear in times of upheaval. During this time of collective grief, my intention is to invite the audience to create space for their desires and to feel witnessed while engaging with the themes of dreaming, holding and joy.
Imperfect, concentric circles can be seen throughout most of the piece. The circles originally started as meditative dot paintings in one of my bodies of work in 2014 and, since 2016, have evolved into drawn out circles. I started referring to them as “portals” as of last year, partly influenced by Edgar Fabian Frías’s GIF collages. Portals are often used for magic, divination, dreams, fantasy, time travel and to enter different lands, planets and realms. The visual aspect of Desire Portals intends to elicit a sense of immateriality.
Much of my previous work includes painting, sculptures and documentary filmmaking. Moving toward digital art came naturally to me. For me, it’s the most accessible medium and it’s easy to work with. In 2019, I started to create digital work specifically for my Instagram page because it’s a space where I feel safe enough to share my insights and experiences regarding self-discovery and political autonomy.
The images are available for the audience to print and utilize outside of the virtual space. A huge salamat to Jennelyn for her encouragement, guidance and for supporting FilAm artists.
Christine Hipolito works with painting, sculpture, and graphic art and has experimented with documentary filmmaking and photography. Much of her previous work grapples with FIlipinx/a/o identity, diaspora and assimilation. Hipolito’s most recent work utilizes social media to share her personal process with healing and psychology, often weaving together spiritual practices and politics. Autonomous and QTBIPOC (Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Color) creative communities both in Los Angeles and on the web are her sources of inspiration in her art, organizing and personal work. She is currently based in Tataviam and Yuhaviatam territory (Antelope Valley, Calif).
Jennelyn Tumalad: How have you been doing during these really uncertain and difficult times? What has been helping you stay creative and motivated?
Christine Hippolito: I wish there was a word that could sum up how this year has been. My mental health has definitely taken a dip. Despite that, I’m really grateful for the support of my community to keep me afloat. The relationships with the people in my life—even through the internet—encourage me to stay motivated. Seeing the work of other artists who continue to create work during this time helps keep my creative mind going.
JT: I love how your work lives somewhere at the intersection of 2-D, performance and conceptual. Who are some influences on your work and mental health practice?
CH: The artist communities that I’m involved in exist along the intersections of visual art, activism, magic and psychology. As an artist, Chris Mancinas, Carolina Hicks and Grace Rosario Perkins have work that I find myself returning to every year.
While Instagram has become a massive information hub, it’s also where I find some of the most useful and compelling pieces of work. Some of my current favorite “content creators” who overlap critical thought, counseling and spirituality in some form include: meenadchi (@whostoleserendib) and their decolonizing non-violent communication and transformative justice work, Annika Hansteen-Izora (@annika.izora) and their beautiful graphic design and affirmations, Leah Garza’s (@crystalsofaltamira) decolonial spiritual work. I’m a huge fan of Lindsay Mack’s (@wildsoulhealing) Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast—listening to that has really held me and inspired me this year—and Lisa Olivera’s (@_lisaolivera) therapeutic writing. Andrea Alakran’s (@thecomradecloset) political education writings on anarchism, collective care and autonomy have impacted the way I approach my work and perceive myself as an artist. These artists and creatives challenge colonial narratives in healing practices, while harmonizing both the political and the spiritual. I think my work reflects that as well.
JT: You made your works available to be downloaded, printed and experienced. Tell me about your process in making these creative mindfulness prompts and the final product. What role does your audience play in interacting with your artwork?
CH: I have a lot of fun and freedom working digitally. I utilize Sketchpad to create the drawings. Then I upload the drawings onto Canva and assemble them together with images and text to create collages. The themes for the prompts are ideas that I’ve thought about the most this year. I see a couple of the prompts as tiny spells for self-care. The Dream Cultivation prompt, for example, is a shortened spin-off of a spell that I remember reading about and I wanted to share that because it feels accessible and tender.
You totally encouraged me to think outside the box! I’m used to my digital work solely existing for myself and my community on social media. For an audience who enjoys journaling, the 4x4 prompts and affirmations can be printed and pasted onto journal pages to work on. People can also print them as stickers. A friend and I also talked about how we can print these out to wheat paste. I think the possibilities depend on the person engaging with the work and how they can see it evolving for themself over time.
JT: Mahalaga, means essential in Tagalog, and was the idea I approached you with at the beginning of this project. What would you say are essential characteristics of what it means to be Filipinx American?
CH: Authenticity and vulnerability. These are characteristics that I value and strive toward, and sometimes they’re not easy to practice. I see authenticity and vulnerability as a way to push back against colonialism, white supremacy and patriarchy—which have none of these characteristics.
JT: You have an interesting artistic trajectory. I met and worked with you while you were making mostly photography. Tell me about your discovery and work with new and various mediums, and where your artwork has bee, and where it’s going.
CH: My photography that you’ve seen was originally taken in 2015. It was kind of a one-time collaboration with a peer while I was an art student in college. That’s around the time I started to become more politically and culturally aware through reading books such as E.J.R. David’s Brown Skin, White Minds, and looking into work by the likes of Michelle Dizon and Stephanie Syjuco.
I felt that I had the flexibility to explore various mediums because I had access to the space, materials and the right people at that time. As a student, I think I took myself too seriously because I believed that every part of my process had to be meaningful and tied to my cultural identity. Since then, a lot of the visual work I do is intuitive and meditative. This year I’ve worked on some hand-drawn zines and larger-scale abstract paintings.
It’s honestly difficult for me to imagine where my artwork is going or how it will evolve, but I do see myself continue making digital collages for as long as the pandemic is present.
JT: What does For the Love of L.A. mean to you?
CH: For the Love of L.A. is about celebrating and nurturing our creative communities, and how much art and expression is a critical part of life—and we feel it and see it, especially during times of crisis. I feel that this platform is a vehicle that continues to help artists and creatives thrive, especially within the Angeleno community. I’m so excited and grateful to be a part of it.
JT: Do you have any future projects that you'd like to share with us?
CH: I have no idea--you’ll have to wait and see!