The author of some clear, clean, honest and strong photographs, the lector of “Vama Under Oscar Light’s” (VSLO) nude workshop. Cristian was published by TACHEN, in “The New Erotic Photography (2007) and “The Big Book of Pussy (2011). He was also published by LOFT Publications in “Nude Photography” (2010), having published his own nude photography album since 2005, published by DAAB Gmbh from Germany.
A lot of people ask me “How is it like to have Cristian Crisbășan as a father?” or simply “How is Cristian Crisbășan really?” waiting probably for me to give some sort of pompous answer. No. He is exactly the man who talks to you when he has the chance and his photographs represent so clearly the honesty of creation and humanity, the nudity of a person on a deeper level than the flesh, exactly because they reflect his self-honesty. Cristian is not the type of man who enjoyes being called “master” or “artist”, because he doesn’t create to be an artist, he creates because that’s who he is and what he enjoys and feels like doing.
For me, because I saw him from the public’s perspective, but also from my own, he is a man without masks, an open-minded man, who doesn’t accept inhibitions, nepotisms and politically correctness because those are some dishonest bullshits. A man who doesn’t like detours, wrappings, labels and mentalities which are contaminated by symptoms of manipulation, because he is against the system. A cult man who has an antipathy for the work “cute”. A fan of Marilyn Manson and George Carlin, a man who doesn’t let age to put a stop to his evolution, who continues to update himself, to document, know, discover, culturize, research and create.
Tell me something about you. I know you better than most people who interview you since I’m living with you for 18 years. Therefore I want you to tell me something. Something essential, something surprising, something from which I can learn.
You are not a product of planning, you’re born from a miracle. The miracle of the seed which sprouts within the earth. We see a green meadow with thick green grass and we think all the seeds there have grown. I think that a lot of those seeds don’t get to grow, only a part of them have transformed into that meadow. Also, we think that all the seeds sprouting there are the same, but their are not. They just seem to be the same.
Every grown seed is a miracle and miracles are unique. Every seed has for this reason, a right for exception – the exception of your own way to view the world. The rain pours over the meadow, but every bit of grass feels the rain differently. Therefore the meeting between a drop of water and a thread of grass is unique. Every thread of grass dies in it’s own way and feels death differently. That is more than what we can see, touch, taste or smell. All of them are grass threads – this is a label. Every thread is an unique miracle – this is what life is. Me and your mother are just a part of the miracle which brought you here.
You said you knew from a very young age that you wanted to create. How did the process of creation change you as a person? With what is Cristian the creator different from Cristian the human? How much of what you wished to do came true?
I think my first trait was always curiosity. I never get bored, because I accumulate continuously, even now when I am 47 years old. My ideas to create come from this continuous process of knowing. This is my primary source of pleasure in life: “Tremendous feeling and monstrous seeing” just like Caragiale used to say. The human and the creator are two complementary parts of the same being. I don’t think I knew since I was little that I want to create, but I listened to my instinct which told me that curiosity was my game. Only later on I realized that I actually create. I never thought “I will become an artist”. I always thought to do what I like to do. Only when you do what you like for real you will get really good at it, only if you express yourself as coherent and as honest as possible through any form of creation.
I don’t know how much I realized, because I never wanted “the gold medal”, I didn’t set quantitive goals for myself. I only wanted to be honest with me and my talent, with the pleasure of exercising it. I only wanted to communicate and feel good. I don’t know if I accomplished much or little, because I don’t have any terms of comparison. Each of us is different, each of us has an unrepeatable destiny. I don’t think you can measure life in numbers.
I don’t think the process of creation changed me as a person, but I know everything transforms and therefore I have evolved as well. It’s inevitable. Curiosity, new, exploration, discovery – all of those things transforms you irreversibly. From a technical point of view I did change, in the sense of learning a better way to create, so I can express myself easier and save some time. But this is a technical solution, a necessary condition, but not at all sufficient. The world is full of people who know how to write or talk correctly, but they express nothing, because they are empty of contents. I don’t have time to become a master or famous.
People’s views vary a lot when it comes to art, but some primal elements of it seem to be: strong, mostly negative emotions, like pain, internal war and sexuality/nudity. I know what you think of sexuality and nudity and the fact that nude photography is your trademark, but I am curious, what do you think about the rest? What’s your fuel for creation?
I don’t think my trademark is nude photography. Maybe this is the false image others created about me, a label. I think it’s about people. Their oscillations between abject and sublime is fascinating. Undressing has a symbolic function: itțs not only about exposing the human anatomy , but rather about exposing the human. A very long time ago, people would dress strictly because they had to protect themselves from the adversities of nature. Today we dress up mainly because of the embarrassment of being seen naked, because of the false taboo which generated this shame. Dressed, many women seem beautiful in an artificial way, in a stereotyped cliche way and only when they are naked, we see which of those women are beautiful for real and not only from the anatomical point of view. For me beauty comes from the courage and honesty to not be ashamed of your naked self in front of others. The courage to admit truthfully who and what you are. For me this liberty has strength and beauty.
It’s not hard to create as long as you feel and think. It is hard to get to think and feel
It’s idiotic to say that ONLY nudity has something to do with sexuality. Sexuality has to do with everything, but in other ways than the one censured by taboo and dogma. Who is curious and conscious of his/hers creative side as a lifestyle choice and human communication, has an eternal source of subjects to get to know in life. Life offers you an impossible to consume fuel, every single day. Only stupid people and impostors say that they get bored or that they are “not inspired” .
What do I need to create? Liberty. But you cannot cultivate and be conscious of your liberty if you are not curious to know, to search the bizarre, different, unique, the exception. As long as creation is the privilege of man, it can only be about man and the man disappears if he cannot express honestly and freely his emotions, thoughts, ideas, sentiments, experiences and dreams.
What do you think about the way in which art evolved? Would you change something about it’s evolution?
Art evolved exactly how humanity evolved, wether we like it or not. I wouldn’t change anything. It would be pointless to be born today a new Leonardo, Michelangelo or Rafael. A new Bach or Mozart. They were unique and they will remain that way. The man has transformed a great deal. Of course, all the great titans of creation, mentioned above are extraordinarily valuable because they told us something fundamental about man, in their own way, in their time. Their lesson should be learnt, but not to be repeated, reproduced, copied, mimed – but to help search for solutions to go further, to always discover something new.
We forget something: everything discovered ever about man, counts here, on Terra. Nobody can say that what we humans discovered is valid for the whole Universe. We barely discovered something important about our staying on this earth. We still have a lot to do here on, Terra, but if we resume ourselves dogmatically on what we believe we know here in our word, we will always spin in the same circle, in the illusion of evolution. Man is infinite because he is connected with the Universe through the subconscious.
Tell me about the project you are working on now.
There are periods in which you MUST create, because that’s what you feel to do, and other periods in which you feel that you only need to contemplate, to listen, to learn, to accumulate, to observe and to search.
If you would have all the possibilities you desire, what project would you create?
I would change the paradigm. I would travel all the time and from this initiating journey I would have project ideas. This does not mean that I cannot find sources of inspiration outside of this, it’s only a different paradigm. I’ve been sedentary fro 47 years, I know what’s it like. Now I wish to be nomad too. I want to see what and how from what I’ve discovered being sedentary, remains valid in the nomad Odyssey.
How hard/easy is it to be a creator in Romania?
It is really hard to express yourself creatively in a country where the majority of people doesn’t really care about: creativity, creation, curiosity, research, discovery. People feel more comfortable with their old problems, (because they think they know them) than with new solutions. In Romania lives a very used up mentally and spiritually nation. That is why most people want the easiest way, the superficial substitutions for the moment, to have fun in the crowd.
Creation cannot be moral or immoral. Creation is amoral. Or, in other words, creation has it’s own moral
It’s not hard to create as long as you feel and think. It is hard to get to think and feel, it’s true, but it’s an other story. If you have these two gifts, you can create continuously in your mind and you don’t need more than a good memory, a paper and a pencil to mark off some ideas. Hard is to express them in public. To get ideas out of your mind, in a concrete form which can become a perceptible message for others.
You think that you are very talented in photography but can’t afford a camera? Communicate intensely with others, express your ideas. If they have value, somebody one day will help you get a camera so you can express these ideas. He or she may help you in a way you never expected, but authentic communication is fundamental today. Really good ideas always get a chance, sooner or later, a chance to be expressed. It all depends on how you think, the energies you transmit to others and honesty.
How much has this intervened with your passion for nude photography?
My passion is not for nude photography. My curiosity to undress the man, literally and metaphorically is the passion. For me, today, clothes are the symbol of manipulation, layers of lies, strait jackets for the natural liberty of man. False and dishonest wrappings and publicity. I want to peel the man of all of those wrappings, of those masks of “politically correctness”, to remind him what he can really be. Taboos, (especially the one about sexuality, nudity) were imposed to control the man for a reason, but not to make man more moral. You don’t hurt someone because you don’t feel like hurting someone, because you think how it would be like for you to be hurt, because you cherish life – not because that’s what laws and religions tell you to do. Who needs laws and gods to not hurt others, is a sheep in the flock – animal exploited for milk, fur and meat, one which will anyway end up in the butchery.
People need to get to live well together – no matter who they are – because that’s what feels right, not because that’s what the priest preaches or the officer orders. The man is manipulated today to wear dozens of artificial masks. I want to unmask this process and through it to unmask man. It’s not necessarily to get naked of clothes to show your nudity. It’s about honesty. The honesty to say who you are, without shame, fear, or guilt. If you win that honesty, you will never have a problem again to show yourself physically bare.
You showed me some time ago, drawings and paintings made by you. Do you think you will pick up painting and drawing again?
I have three principal plans for later: to travel more and take photographs, to paint again and to write a book about all I’ve learnt and known from the women I photographed. I hope health will help me to live long enough to do those things.
What advice would you give to a young creator?
Creation cannot be moral or immoral. Creation is amoral. Or, in other words, creation has it’s own moral: if it does evil or lies, then it is not creation. Every form of creation based on hypocrisy, lack of honesty and lie is stricken by nullity. Therefore it is a fabrication, not a creation.
This interview was first published on the 3’rd issue of Cultartes Magazine. Read and download the issue for free. Support unconventional art by sharing the issue.