Cristian is a Romanian-born Canadian fine artist, illustrator, graphic designer, art teacher, producer, and speaker. He self-published his first graphic novel in 1996, while still in high school. Here are his answers to the Indie Eleven.
1. Are you currently working on any projects and what can we see?
Yes. I have two related projects. One is my ongoing FREE Instagram comic Instagram: @bigbosscomic and the second is producing and directing my first feature length film, based on my “Big Boss: Gun For Hire” graphic novel character. And you can see both actually. You can read the comic each day on my instagram @bigbosscomic. I publish one panel per day, 5 days per week, and everything is part of a sequence in a longer story. Secondly, I am happy to share with you and your readers (for the first time publicly, as I hadn't given away the password in an interview before) my short live-action pilot: The password is: bigboss
2. Is there a particular concept or piece you are most proud of in your work and why?
As you may have seen on my website and on my Instagram (if you scroll down past the beginning of my comic), I have a background in fine art and my last art exhibit consisted of 6 original metal sculptures that premiered at the Delano Hotel in Las Vegas in 2016. That was a great show and a great opportunity, although I am an illustrator and a painter, traditionally. My first “real” masterpiece, as I call it, is probably my favorite achievement. Here is another link to the last part of a 7 part video of me painting this 97”x93” canvas back in 2005:
I like the achievement because it was a catalyst for my moving out of that apartment, as I literally outgrew it.
3. Do you have any formal training? Do you even think it's necessary?
I attended a magnet high school for visual arts, Canterbury, in Ottawa, Canada. I then graduated from Algonquin College's Animation-Television program, also in Ottawa, and followed that up with attending Concordia University in Montreal, majoring in Creative Writing with a Minor in Studio Art and Art History. I think my formal education, although not as thorough as some people's, was helpful to me in that it offered information to me that would have taken me longer to come across on my own. Not everything was what I had an initial interest in but it's funny how in my professional career I keep going back and utilizing all the knowledge that I had accumulated in those formative years. Once you are a professional artist though, that is actually when you learn the most and when you have to think the most quickly on your feet.
4. Analog(traditional) or Digital, or a combination of both? What tools do you use and why?
Lately, for my commissions and my Instagram comic, I switched to an iPad Pro and iPencil. I quite like it and it has sped up my work, although I find myself adding more into my art now so the time spent is almost the same. Less mess though. I like all mediums though. If I go to a life drawing session, I can't imagine that I would want to not draw with a pencil or conte. Nothing beats traditional art materials. And there is an acrylic painting that I have plans of touching up sometime. I have plans of getting back into oil painting but we will see where life and creativity leads me.
5. How did you stumble into the Indie Comics scene?
I was at Canterbury High School, back in Ottawa, circa 1995. I was 17 years old. I was drawing a lot, for school and personally. There was a school magazine that some older peers were contributing artworks to. Also, there was another artist that had printed his own zine and was selling it for a $1 on the school grounds. Their art was really crappy though. It was stick figures, practically, and it tried to be political. So I thought, I could do better than that. I asked a friend to contribute a short story for it as well and he and I printed it with the help of our art teacher, on the copier in the teacher's lounge. That was my first self-publishing experience. We sold about 40-50 comics to friends for $1 each. It was called “Dark Realms.” I had a short story with my “Big Boss” character in Hell and my friend had a story about Gilgamesh.
Later that year, I self-published all three chapters of my “Big Boss” in Hell story. The comic/zine was called “Dark: Special #1” and I distributed and sold about 60 copies to stores and friends for $2 each.
And the rest is history, as they say.
6. There can only be one survivor! Penciler, Colorist, Letterer, Writer. Why'd you pick that one? Please Explain.
Right now, my tastes are somewhere between Penciler and Writer. I am quite in a writing mood lately, writing my film treatment and an autobiography, that I would have to pick Writer -as long as I can always come to my first love, drawing, as I would never give that up.
7. Who's your hero? Athlete? Family member? Teacher? Caped Crusader?
This is a tough one because all people are flawed. When I was a child, there was no-one that I idolized more than my dad. But besides him, I have watched videos of famous people that have inspired me (even today I was watching some documentaries about Arnold Schwarzenegger) and I constantly meet people that have achieved great things that I admire and I want to work with them.
8. Do you even read comics, bro? If so which ones, if not...why not?
Right now I am in a mode of not reading anything that might influence my writing style. With comics, I pick up random comics here and there. I read comics by my independent creator friends, like “Super Corporate Heroes,” titles from “Mas Media Studios,” and Tom Spellman's “Year of the Goat,” to name a few that pop to mind. One of the last series I read was a miniseries called “Pencil Head” by Ted McKeever. I met him at a convention and he signed them. And literally the last comic that I bought was “Tokyo Ghost #8” and I have not read it yet. I actually just bought it for the artwork.
9. You can earn a comfortable living doing ANYTHING. What is it? Feel free to explain why.
The thing is that I am doing everything that I want. For me, most of my satisfaction comes from self-discovery and creative endeavors. I also love to connect with people and to share inspiring stories; to share in the human experience. I do not let anything stop me. If something seems interesting, I will do it. Like, I have designed a diamond ring, I have made sculptures, large paintings, painted murals, made a short live-action film, will make a feature, am living in New York, am writing an autobiography, I've made love to enough women, I still have a great passion for life, I am healthy, and I have a great visit with dear friends lately... Life is good. I live my life based on Nietzsche's “eternal recurrence.” [Eternal return. Eternal return (also known as "eternal recurrence") is a concept that the universe and all existence and energy has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space.] And I try to be true to myself. Lastly, one thing that I have learned is that whenever I hear myself stating what I desire out of live, I notice that upon close inspection I have a very close variant of that very wish right now. I guess our vocabulary is limited to what we know, even to wants.
10. Where can people see more of your work or find out more about you?
Facebook: Cristian Aluas
Website 1: Cristian S. Aluas
Website 2: MasterpieceArtSchool.com
BONUS: "Big Boss: Gun For Hire" comic
And search on Amazon.com and Comixology.com
11. Anything else you'd like to share with us? Political view. Religious view. Baby on the way? Your first job? Email address? Favorite sports team?
I'll go with favourite sports team: The Chicago Cubs. Although I am not from Chicago, I used to watch the Cub games in Canada, with Harry Carey announcing back in the late '80s. I used to draw myself as a grown up having a career as a baseball player and playing for the Cubs. I ended up sticking with art. But anyway: Save for rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays when they were winning back to back World Series in '92 and '93, I rooted for the Cubs from afar. When I lived in Las Vegas, I saw them twice in exhibition games. The last year I saw them was right before they brought Kris Bryant up for his first year. He hit two impressive home runs in that game. Needless to say, it was great to see them finally win the World Series and hopefully they repeat.