Like many children, Christina Cottingham spent her days exploring the world of art. Supplies in hand, she’d draw and paint whatever came to her imaginative young mind, holding up her finished masterpieces proudly for her mom to see. Unlike most other children, however, Cottingham’s artistic pursuits didn’t just end at the scribbles and stick figures hung on the refrigerator. As an artist herself, Cottingham’s mother nurtured Cottingham’s creative side and turned art into one of their shared pastimes.
Now, as a professional abstract artist, Cottingham thinks about scribbles and paint splatters a little differently. Through her studies at UNC Charlotte and UNC Chapel Hill, as well as international institutions such as the Studio Arts College International in Kyoto, Japan, Christina Cottingham has learned to use inspiration from the world around her to showcase her own way of seeing things. Cottingham sits down with us to talk more about what she’s learned and where her art will go from here.
Where did your interest in art begin?
I’m a fourth-generation artist and athlete, so sporting events, art, and art history were incorporated into our family vacations and everyday life. I have appreciated viewing art as much as I have enjoyed creating it for as long as I can remember.
Do you consider art your full-time pursuit?
I balance art with other interests and family time. I love to volunteer, travel, read, and play tennis. Raising my 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son keeps me busy, as well as walking my 3-year-old puppy on the Booty Loop and on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. I also renovated and restored my 100-year-old Myers Park Tudor home and started a wallcovering line called TIGE last year.
How would you describe your style?
I’m an abstract expressionist painter, and I work very quickly. Over the years, my painting style has become more relaxed, while my paintings have become more complex. I love to explore the interplay of colors and unexpected marks.
What does your artistic process look like from the start to finish of a piece?
Being both an athlete and an artist requires a lot of kinesthetic learning. I like to turn on fun music and start doodling and writing notes and thoughts on the canvas. I section off areas for composition and mix colors that inspire me…I often use pencil, charcoal, and acrylic paint.
Who or what most inspires and influences you? Is there a specific source that you seem to draw from the most?
Nature and other artists inspire me. I also appreciate other art forms such as photography, architecture, landscape design, fashion, and interior design…I draw inspiration from quiet time, good books and traveling. I’m always motivated to create a new painting or series after I travel and visit museums and galleries.
Do you take commissions? Where can people find the work of Christina Cottingham?
I take select commissions, and people often find me through someone they know. People can see my work on Instagram, and I currently have seven abstract paintings on display and for sale at The Asbury, a modern space inside Uptown Charlotte’s only historic boutique hotel, the Dunhill.