Christina Szakonyi is an award-winning representational artist, and Associate Member of Oil Painters of America. Her interest in art began at a young age when she spent her summers drawing the characters of traditional animation and the horses surrounding her home. She later studied art in college where she earned an associate degree in graphic design. It wasn't until 2014 that she sought out more rigorous training in traditional fine arts with Jonathan Hardesty of Classical Art Online and Charles Miano of the Southern Atelier. Her work has been exhibited nationally, and she was selected as one of 21 Under 31 Young Artists to Watch in 2017 by Southwest Art Magazine. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Florida State University.
With the work, UNBRIDLED, she has referenced historical icons of power, both in imagery and materials. The horse, both a physically powerful animal and an emblem of influential power as often appearing with the kings of the past, prances proudly on the gilded surface. Why? No mechanisms of outside control appear to be present, yet the horse performs with graceful precision. UNBRIDLED aspires to question the assumptions we make about ourselves; what we believe ourselves capable of compared to what we can or cannot accomplish in reality. How many of our choices are truly our own? How many choices are dictated by some outside force? And how many choices do we falsely believe are out of our control? The horse seems to pin us with an unyielding stare. How honest are we with ourselves about our choices? Are we underestimating ourselves? Are our actions in alignment with our true selves? Secondly, she wanted to treat the painting as if it were a drawing; to somehow capture the same essence and simplicity seen in an old master drawing. To do this she layered paint with gold leaf, allowing the reflective qualities of the gold to act as the “paper” while she manipulated the paint on the surface.