Reigning in from Asbury Park is Christopher Florentino aka Flore. He has some interesting work that's hard to overlook with the vibrant colors he uses and style of his work. He has been painting his entire life and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. His ultimate goal is to be in museums and create as much, if not more pieces than Picasso. He decided to pursue a career as an artist because of a clothing line he started years ago. He was trying to express himself and this was working for him. That led to where he is now, a full-time artist. He defines art as “something that you can express yourself with but it’s a personal thing. I feel like when you paint something for somebody, it takes away a little something. When you’re painting it from your heart and expressing yourself in a way you can’t do in any other way but putting it in paint on a canvas, that’s art for me.” He really enjoys being a part of different exhibitions and is amazed that people want to take out the time to come see his work and understand the story behind his pieces.
What inspires him? Traveling. He has been traveling a lot lately and seeing people in other cities have been inspiring him and his work. “We’re all unique, from every city, people are just unique and I didn’t know that until I started traveling and I feel like it’s been crazy international just meeting different artists from different cities. Their views and their passions are completely different than ours. And as people from New Jersey and New York, it’s nuts.”
ADDMAG: What made you decided that you really wanted to be an artist and take this on as a career?
Christopher Florentino: I guess I wouldn’t even be able to make that decision if it wasn’t for the clothing line that I had because I was working at a job at Nordstrom's and I just quit my job and just started making clothing and it was kind of successful where I was able to live off of that and that kind of gave me the inspiration to be like ‘hey if I can do this and I never made clothes before, I’ve been painting my whole life, why couldn’t I just paint and sell my work. And I just really trapped myself in my studio for 6 months straight and just painted. And when I was done, I brought them to a gallery, Gallery 69 in Tribeca and I showed them my work, and they gave me a show.
ADDMAG: What’s your favorite part of being an artist?
CF: I don’t even know to be honest with you. This is all so new to me. I’ve only been painting for a living since like November and I’m kind of in over my head at this point. A lot of people have just given me too much love and I’m like overwhelmed and I’m so happy. I haven’t even taken a minute to stop and enjoy it because I’m so scared of it going away. All I do is paint and I work so hard to get better cause I just don’t want this to go away. So right now, the good thing about being an artist is being able to have that hunger that you don’t want this to go away so I’m going to focus on my craft as hard as I can so that I can show people that I’m growing so the people who are buying my work are really getting an investment because I’m really putting in the time to become a better artist.
ADDMAG: What would you say is your least favorite part?
CF: People hating. Some girl ripped me apart the other day on Instagram and was so mean. I’m not a bad guy. I’m just trying to paint. Like I just want to paint and people want to bash your work that you pour your heart into that’s not put on this earth to bash. If you don’t like, then you don’t have to look at it. There’s no reason for you to open your mouth and be nasty about something that’s so positive.
ADDMAG: What’s your definition of art?
CF: My definition of art is something that you can express yourself with but it’s a personal thing. I feel like when you paint something for somebody, it takes away a little something. When you’re painting it from your heart and expressing yourself in a way you can’t do in any other way but putting it in paint on a canvas, that’s art for me.
ADDMAG: What would you say art brings you?
CF: Hope…I don’t know. Art is hope for me, if we didn’t have art, this world would be pretty bad. I just feel like it’s almost the same thing like sunlight and food. Art is just as important and essential to the world as water I feel like
ADDMAG: Why would you say you’re still into art? Why haven’t you put the brush down and said “this isn’t for me anymore, I’m done with it’?
CF: It’s never ending. It’s never ending art for me. The more I evolve as a person, the more I evolve as a man, my art will reflect that so it’s forever changing so you never get sick of it. It’s something where with me, I’ll never get sick of it because I know that my thought process will change over time and where I live, I like to bounce around I’m moving to Florida in a couple weeks then I’m moving to California for the rest of the winter. I try to bounce around so I don’t get sick of anything, painting . I never want to put the brush down. There’s a lot to paint. There’s a lot in me. I mean right now, I’m pretty satisfied
ADDMAG: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
CF: I would say try to figure out your strong point as soon as possible. Take as many art classes as you possibly can and just draw and paint every single day. If you don’t want to draw and paint every single day, than you’re probably not going to be a painter. It’s something that you have to do everyday. It’s not something that you can get good at overnight. It’s not like a sport where you train your muscles and all. It’s more than that. It’s mental, it’s physical and you have to learn certain things. You have to practice, read books, study the masters, look at the past
ADDMAG: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CF: I talk too much
If he was not living as an artist, he would be a teacher teaching kids about art. He can’t live without being connected to this world.