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In the Embrace of Darkness: Cristina Cernicenco’s Luminous Journey

Local Artist

By Brett Maternowski, Co-Founder of the Artistic Incubator

Cristina Cernicenco, a name now synonymous with the visceral exploration of femininity and sensuality through photography, invites viewers into a world where every portrait is a story waiting to be unraveled. With over two decades under her belt, she is not just a photographer; she is an artist who “celebrates and accentuates the profound aspects of femininity and sensuality.”

Standing at the precipice of her local art scene debut, Cernicenco conveys a candid blend of exhilaration and vulnerability. “This marks my debut in the local art scene, and I must admit, I’m feeling a mix of excitement and nerves,” she confesses, underscoring the raw humanity that also permeates her work.

The epiphany of becoming an artist struck her during a visit to the MET, a transformative moment that shifted her perspective from capturing moments to creating art. Her medium of choice, Tenebrism, is a deliberate dance with darkness, allowing her to “capture raw emotions without the fear of judgment.” Cernicenco wields shadows not as mere absence of light but as a canvas for passion and narrative.

Her work is a quest for self-discovery and empowerment. “It’s about helping people on a personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment,” she articulates, underlining the transformative power of her art. She aims for her audience to find joy and acceptance in the embrace of their authentic selves, echoing the liberating essence of her photography.

Cernicenco’s European heritage breathes life into her compositions, with the architectural splendor of cities like Amsterdam and Brussels having informed her aesthetic sensibilities. Ybor City, with its historic allure, beckons to her as a muse, promising future works that blend its rich narrative with her artistic vision.

Like many artists, Cristina Cernicenco has navigated the ebb and flow of creativity, finding solace and strength in the lessons learned from periods of burnout. “This experience taught me the value of mental health and self-care,” she shares, a vital acknowledgment in an often relentless field.

Her definition of success is refreshingly honest and evolving. Recently invited to display her work in a gallery, she admits to harboring self-doubt while holding onto dreams of inclusion in the art world. Her story is a testament to the courage and vulnerability inherent in the artistic journey.

Cernicenco’s artistic mindset transcends photography, enhancing her study of UX design and imbuing her projects with intuitive understanding and empathy. She envisions art as a conduit for emotional expression, harboring the potential to foster compassion and unity in society.

In the quiet corners of Tampa’s diverse landscape, Cristina Cernicenco has found inspiration, though she eschews the spotlight of the party scene for the intimacy of family life. Her gratitude flows to Chase Parker, a fellow artist who inspired her to dream and aspire within the art world.

Open to the unexpected, she invites spontaneous inquiries, believing in the power of authentic dialogue to forge connections. While there are no immediate projects on the horizon, Cernicenco remains hopeful for what the future holds post-Guava.

For those drawn to her story, her advice is simple yet profound: “Don’t be afraid to dream.” Cristina Cernicenco’s journey is a beacon, illuminating the path for budding artists with the courage to step into the light—or, in her distinctive style, the beautiful darkness.

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