We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Mata and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, do you think college was worth it?
Personally for myself, college did nothing for me. I know growing up as kids we are taught to go after the American dream, go to college, get a good job, buy a house and start a family. Who says you can’t achieve all that with out going to school? I had taken a few photography courses at MCC (Mesa Community College) and at Academy of Art University, and in the course of over 3 years I had spent an estimate of 14,000 on courses alone, in which I never received a degree for. I found the classes to be mediocre and I remember feeling it was beyond my skillset at the time. Not to say the education wasn’t important, I was always someone who struggled in school, but being a young 18 year old at the time, I felt that I wasn’t learning anything that I couldn’t teach myself. A college education when it comes to the anything in the arts I think is difficult. How can you teach a natural talent? You may already have this gift of painting, writing, signing or even photography. Being self taught was always something that I had admired in artists and even certain business people. The technical skills that you may need to learn can be taught outside of any classroom, without any degree and definitely without that student loan.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always loved images that speak to you. The ones that make you feel emotions that you can’t even pinpoint. A certain scent, a memory a nostalgia you might not even know where it came from. I always try to incorporate that into the images that I shoot. Feelings. I just want you to feel something. I always felt that art is feelings set out side of the body. No one can see inside your mind unless you create it outside and put into the world. Art. If I struggled with anything in regards to my photography is just getting out of my own head and letting my photographs speak for themselves. Not letting the insecurities I have about whether i’m good enough or not and letting that prevent me from taking any family, newborn or engagement sessions. Especially since that is the most popular and money earning photography. If you take a look through my gallery, you can see that’s not where my best work lies, so it’s a struggle for me to try and essentially branch out to the more mainstream photography than the work I take the most pride in. The self expression I choose to embody is an understatement when it comes to my work. I can almost always tell you how I was feeling when I shot a certain image, and that is something that I know I will continue to carry with me throughout my entire career.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I really like downtown Phoenix. Film bar, Valley Bar, Angels Trumpet Ale House, Cobra Arcade. Even the Wilderness they recently built down there. I really love all of those places. That along with all of the murals by local Phoenix artists, even the cityscape, it’s really hard not to love being there – I gotta give credit to my friends who took me there to hang out, my first time ever almost 4 years ago (I’ve been living in Arizona since I was 7, I know i’m terrible)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The encouragement that I constantly receive from my close friends and family are really the one’s who keep me going. I am my own worst critic, I always feel like my work isn’t good enough and struggle to see worth in the work that I have done. To have people in my life who see beyond the blinders that I have up when it comes to my artwork is amazing. They are my constants and they’re always there to help me pick that camera up again.
All images by Christina Mata Photography