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You have to see this artist’s portrait on the most unusual canvas

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Christina Angelina, who also goes by Starfighter, is known for her portraiture — just not your typical portraits. For starters, her portraits typically take up an entire wall. Just one look at Angelina’s larger-than-life subjects is enough to stop you in your tracks; to anyone who’s seen her work, it should be no surprise to learn that she gravitated toward art early in life.

“I started drawing as far back as I can remember,” she says. “I would draw other people in class with me. I was always drawn to portraiture ... class was a great time to do it because everyone was paying attention — except me.”

Angelina might not have been paying close attention to the day’s academic lesson while she was sketching, but she certainly mastered her portraiture skills. Over time, she scaled that artistic style up to push herself into larger works. Now, she prefers working in large formats because the entire process feels more physical and all-encompassing: “Instead of your hand and your wrist being the instrument, your whole body is the instrument,” she says. “It’s like you’re dancing: It’s more like a performance. And your whole body is part of the movement of the entire piece.”

Angelina travels often for her work and to focus on her murals, which informs her next pieces. “Every time I travel I am influenced by the place ... the people, the weather, the light of that particular part of the world or city — everything influences what I do, and I’m always open to that,” she says. “I also always bring it back with me.”

For this project, Angelina quite literally brought travel into the studio, by rendering an American Tourister suitcase in her colorful style. Though it’s not as large of a canvas as the side of a building, Angelina used her typical sanding and painting techniques — plus the bag’s mobility enabled by multi-directional spinner wheels — to capture her signature dynamism and paint a captivating portrait she can take on the road with her.

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