|The magazine of University of Houston-Clear Lake
Fall 2013/Winter 2014 | volume 20 | number 1
Culture and Conflict
|Christina Carfora in her studio at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.|
Artist Christina Carfora was enrolled at UHCL for the fall 2013 semester but seeing her around campus was rather unlikely. Instead, she was expanding her education off-campus as a teacher and a student completing an internship at Glassell School of Art, the educational arm of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Carfora, who was pursuing a Master of Arts in Humanities, believes that it was her education at UHCL that prepared her for this opportunity.
She began studying for her master’s degree in the fall 2010, and after completing her core courses, honed her art skills in the university’s renovated Arbor Building and state-of-the-art studio. In addition to an expanded ceramics studio with large kilns and studios for individual students, the building also offers a drawing, painting and printmaking area, a woodworking shop, metal foundry, fibers studio and dark room.
“My newest figurative sculptures are now life-size,” says Carfora. “The new kilns have allowed me to expand the scale and breadth of my work.
“This allows me to communicate with the viewer on a more emotional level.”
Before enrolling at UHCL, Carfora spent a year in Indonesia, which, she says, considerably influenced her artistic direction. In her drawings and figurative works, Carfora says she confronts issues related to communication and change, stimulated by experiences in the 23 countries she has visited.
“I am fascinated with the concept of preserving time,” says Carfora, who adds that she often includes masks, breathing apparatus and eye gear in her work, which isolates both the figure from the viewer and from its surroundings.
In addition to her work at Glassell, Carfora will be busy as an artist-in-residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. The nonprofit arts organization awards five to 10 residencies from hundreds of applicants each year, with Carfora being one of the nine this year. In her role as an ambassador, she supports the organization’s mission of educating people in modern uses for traditional craft materials such as ceramic, fiber, glass and metal.
She credits her UHCL mentors for sharing their joy of artistic creation, and building an educational environment that inspires engaging discussion of art-related issues.
“Professor Nick de Vries has been an integral part of helping me to achieve my career goals – being a full-time artist and ceramic educator,” says Carfora about the UHCL professor of fine arts.
About Carfora, de Vries adds, “What makes Christina unique is that she has fully integrated her art with her experience and how they translate with her interaction with the world around her.”
UHCL’s graduate program provides several international study opportunities, including an annual ArtCamp at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen, Czech Republic, offered as part of the university’s International Consortium. Carfora attended in 2012.
“Ultimately, my work is about change,” says Carfora. “These bodies of work encourage us to look introspectively at the change in our own lives.”
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