Wynwood’s Christin Paige Minnotte Interview
Fashion/Fine Art Photographer and Painter comes to Wynwood!
Photos & Article by: Kristen Lacayo
Christin Paige Minotte In her studio/home in Wynwood
When I was a little girl of 7, I remember going out on our driveway, dancing and choreographing music videos in my head. I think I’ve always wanted to create, through imagery, that bigger sense of who you are inside, that is infinitely greater than what you are on the outside. I had also always painted but began photographing myself when I was a teenager. I continued to practice art but studied languages and literature in college, and after, held many jobs in NYC, all of which prepared me in different ways for what I am doing now. I learned about scope of vision, small business and digital imaging from two amazing architects. I learned about publishing and really creative business thinking from an incredible boss at Conde Nast and much more from many others in the 7 years I worked in NYC before I went to art school. My boss lost his job in 2008 and so did I. I then decided to do what I’d always really wanted to do and attended art school at SFAI in San Francisco. After graduating I worked for a couple of years photo assisting and doing graphic design; but having lived most of my life in NYC the work I was creating just didn’t seem to suit the sensibility of the west coast and I knew I had to get back to the east. I didn’t however, want to start a business in NYC, knowing how hard it can be to struggle there, so I chose Miami, a major city with ties to NY on the east coast. I moved to Miami not knowing a single soul. I stumbled upon Wynwood and the building I live in now while trying to get a sense of the city. A testament to the spirit of Wynwood, only ten months later I have an amazing creative team of beautiful aspiring women in Venezuelan clothing designer Lisu Vega, makeup artist Michelle Cameau of Lipstick Ammo and the gorgeous and talented model/dancer/actress Elaine Gregory. I have been inspired by new friendships and creative collaborations with more people than I could ever have dreamed. Wynwood has a special magic being in its nascence as an arts community. There is a fervent joy and camaraderie here, an openness to hearing others’ ideas, and to helping each other achieve them that is exhilarating.
In both my photography and painting, my work tends to be about a striving to reveal something closer to the deeper aspirations of inner being. Whether it’s creating a character for a fashion picture, the long exposure performance pieces that are my signature work, or the urgent movement in the line quality of my painting, there is an attempt to transcend finite physical bounds.
The long exposure performance pieces were the nexus of this exploration. I asked myself, how can I “see” my body, see myself in the way that my subjective mind, or the idea of who I am, “feels” it? The photographs in these two series titled “Formless,” create impressions of my body that are more akin to what is felt by the mind trapped inside that body than how it is seen, perceived or configured in linear space-time by the five senses. The individuality, the “being,” that emerges in each photograph is an image of a feeling, sometimes sorrowful, sometimes resplendent, sometimes gloriously defiant, sometimes pained. These photographs are an aspirational catharsis, the mind escaping the body — an attempt to use the abstract form of self in the mind’s eye, the mind’s attempt to shape the body. In a way these pictures are my mind, they are my soul projected on the canvas of my body.
In a way all photographs are like this in that they contain more than the outline of form, but contain also the outlines of the thought of the taker and the subject too. So I believe that images facilitate our seeing ourselves as we feel, that this function dictates their form and is the reason for making them, a sort of catharsis for the heart.
All my work is made with the intent to create a new space where form meets abstraction and the literal meets the aspirational, to describe more fully the relationship, both harmonious and conflicted, of our minds to our bodies, and to the larger world around us. It is about transcending, stripping, reconstructing or mimicking the formal world in an attempt to bypass our spatio-temporal limitations and to reveal and elucidate the abstract qualities or principles which govern these forms or our relationship to them.
I love everywhere in Wynwood, no real favorite spot; but there is a special place in my heart for my first real connection here with a lovely young woman named Ysset Boan who epitomizes the collaborative spirit of Wynwood. She runs StylCtzn, a concept boutique showcasing the work of local artists and designers, and she made me feel welcome and part of something from the moment we met.
In the short time I’ve been living in Wynwood, I’ve seen several restaurants open and many new commercial spaces being built and occupied by small businesses. What is wonderful about Wynwood now is the collaboration and energy of young and untried talents with one another and the freedom we have to create work and spaces. I’ve noticed too from talking with people at Panther or Lester’s that a lot of young artists who grew up in Miami and left have returned and are really invested in the arts here. The other amazing thing about Wynwood is the unusually balanced combination of more seasoned entrepreneurs with totally raw talent. These social strata often don’t mix without a lot of artifice in big cities. In Miami now, especially in Wynwood, it seems patrons of the arts are able to get closer to artists and artists to their patrons in a more human way that allows for more conversation and real communication. It’s beautiful. For instance, in NYC a young artist would never be able to walk into a gallery and have an hour long conversation with it’s owner. In Wynwood, that’s possible. For me, Wynwood is about people realizing their dreams, artists and entrepreneurs alike.
I think what I’ve learned and am still learning is that you can never know what good or beauty the next moment may bring. So that in terms of a creative profession, life in general, one has to actively have faith in good in the moment… to create, trusting that the need to communicate whatever it is you’re inspired to make already contains within itself the means to be expressed, even when that seems impossible.