Cristina Bolzon

A thoughtful, meticulous, stylish, spunky, and energetic designer who strives to see the good.

About

Combining my love for critical thought, creative writing, and image making, I use design to tell unique visual stories of the world that surrounds me. Camera in one hand and journal in the other, I am an eager learner who seeks to uncover the profound in daily living and is always on the search for new adventures to document people, thoughts, and experiences. I have a keen interest in brand identity, packaging, and editorial design; always making an effort to present ideas and solutions in a genuine and authentic manner.

What is the most useful piece of design advice that you have received?

“Design decisions are made with the knowledge and experience you have at the time.” -Renata Graw

As a perfectionist, there is always the temptation to fixate over the visual decisions I made in the past for an old project. Discovering this quote has helped me to appreciate and be proud of past work, remembering that I’ve only improved since then and will continue to improve with each day.

Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?

I have unearthed a new found love for photography and portraiture, and I delight in making illustrations and watercolour paintings to satisfy my fine art cravings. I also love fashion and makeup arts, having successfully transformed myself into Venom one night, and Van Gogh’s Starry Night the next.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

Fire red. Design reason: it’s bold and mesmerizing. Real reason: I blush easily.

If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?

Definitely skateboarding. I have always admired my brothers who are incredible at it, and I love that it is both a sport and an art. Seeing as there are no rules in skateboarding, it perfectly embodies freedom and creativity.

Design Interests

Editorial and Book Design
Packaging Design
Branding and Identity Design
Design Studies and Theory

Exposed

A thought-provoking book that offers a window into seeing our humanity in a new light.

Exposed takes tattooing and puts an unconventional spin on it.

Through my findings, Exposed offers a different way of understanding individuals by utilizing tattooing—an act so often viewed as something purely physical and trivial—as a visually appealing foundation to address many of the metaphysical questions related to being human. Taking a look more than skin-deep, Exposed also examines various individual’s tattoos to demonstrate that not everything seen on the surface reflects the entire story.

Project Goals

Exposed provides individuals with an opportunity to:

  • Become more aware of the impact of the visual and the effect tattoos have on our perception of others when not put into context.
  • Consider the tattoo’s essence.
  • Gain a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of human beings as a whole, demonstrating that human beings are more than their bodies.
  • Expose perspectives, challenge thinking, and create dialogue in a way that is beautifully designed.

Why Tattoos?

This project originated from a fascination with tattoos and a love of body art. After conducting research to learn about the history of the tattoo and tattoo culture, I discovered that although the tattoo itself is not a new phenomenon—dating back to 3,300 B.C.—the prevalence of the tattoo among millennials is, particularly in North America.  I then became very curious to find out why the desire to mark the body permanently has increased so dramatically within young people over the past decade.

Refining the Research

Narrowing my scope, further research demonstrated that for a large majority of tattooed millennials, there was a desire to hold onto a memory or record a “meaningful” moment in their life in a permanent manner. Pauline Zahalan, owner of Yonge Street Tattoos, says that “…nine out of ten people who go into her shop will get a meaningful tattoo. ‘I don’t even need to ask why they’re getting that tattoo. It’s like they want to tell you.’”

Overall, my research reflected that the decision to have a tattoo has been taken more seriously by millennials over the years, who have transformed the tattoo into a very personalized, meaningful & intimate form of art on the body. At the same time, I found the tattoo shares a lot in common with art in the traditional sense.  

Through these discoveries, I desired to highlight the tattoo’s potential to function in a distinct way: as a piece of art mapped onto a particular body that reveals something meaningful about that particular person, with the potential to inspire others, spark dialogue, and create community.

Testing the Theory

With the research in hand, I wondered how tattooed millennials would perceive my take on their body art, and so I interviewed eleven millennials about their tattoos and followed with a photo shoot.

Presenting Exposed.

Curious about the art form of the tattoo, interested in the motives behind it, and desiring to understand human beings as a whole through bridging the gap between secular and divine, Exposed came to fruition.

Exposed consists of two parts: Seek and Reveal. Part I features an in-depth analysis of my research and explorations, which poses questions and draws insights in regards to identity, existence, self- expression and art, in order to provide a foundation for the second half of the book. In Part II, an intimate and wholistic portrayal of eleven tattooed millennials is revealed, using Flannery O’Connor’s short story about a tattooed man, Parker’s Back, as an enhancing narrative to assist in uncovering different themes relating to the tattoo.

Each theme is followed by a reflection, which then transitions smoothly into a participant’s feature by utilizing a quote said from their interview that relates to the theme being discussed.

Final Design

All design decisions and art direction made for this book were carefully considered to reflect the idea of exposing, by slowly revealing concepts and visuals over time as a way to keep the reader intrigued and engaged. The book also plays on the idea of exposure using both metaphors for dark and light and employing the literal contrast of black and white, keeping colour to a minimum.  

Striking the perfect balance between text and image, explanation and observance, Exposed encourages the reader to slow down and navigate through the content in a pensive and reflective way, in the hopes of sparking a new dialogue around tattoos and our being.

See more of my work at the graduate showcase