Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Cardenas studied art there (B.A. in painting in 1980) and at the University of Arizona, Tucson (M.F.A. in printimaking in 1990). In 1994 she completed a ceramic mural for a minimum security prison in Tucson. She has won many regional awards. Cardenas currently resides in Tucson.
Cristina Cárdenas developed her approach to art following the tradition of the Mexican muralists. Through her friendships with Arizona artists Luis Carlos Bernal, Alfred Quiroz and Luis Jimenez, Cárdenas began to tackle issues of a more political and personal nature using Amate paper as a vehicle to connection with the ancestors. The Amate paper is made from the same Aztec recipe the Otomi Indians used for several centuries. Her large-scale works on Amate paper reflect Cárdenas' desire to link earth to soul.
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago, IL