Born and raised in Northern Italy, Cristina Barna, Scholar’s newest director, has been immersed in art and the culture of design from the very beginning.
Painting, architecture, music, and film have all influenced the multifaceted aesthetic and chameleon design personality she is now known for.
As Barna puts it, “we tend to separate the arts, but I believe in the end the objective is always the same, so anything that might be intertwined or bring in a different technique or a new technology is very inspiring.”
Because of this outlook, Barna is not just a creative explorer but an extremely technical leader. She’s dipped her toes into most aspects of production during her career, from storyboarding and filmmaking to CG and cel.
She’s translated this passion for learning into a wide spectrum of aesthetics that go from minimal, dark architectural, to colorful hand-drawn impressions, even to the far reaches of comic book concept art and hyper-realistic digital painting.
“Cristina is a natural leader. She’s confident in so many aspects of the field that she is able to jump into any project, at any point. It’s incredible.”
It is this same technical expertise that allows Barna to focus on discovering new visual avenues for client messaging. Her outlook on design is that everything can be beautiful with enough care, something she learned growing up in Italy.
As she describes her experience, “it wasn’t just being exposed to the masters, back home the entire culture values the arts. From the architecture to a simple trip to the grocery store, there is a certain regard for how things look and how they present themselves, and I’ve learned an image can emote without being narrative.”
That emotional impression is what’s at the core of Barna’s work, harnessing her curiosity and technical expertise to evolve the way audiences experience visuals, an ethos that she uniquely embodies.
When speaking of growing up between cultures, Barna notes that “I weirdly identify with everything and nothing, and being kept on my toes when it comes to identity has led me to try everything for myself. That’s the best way to discover your own path.”
As a director, this translates to valuing the expertise of her teammates and clients because when everyone’s interests and abilities shine, there is joy in the work, and that, for her, is what leads to the most powerful and emotionally resonant creativity.
Scholar is a creative production company drawn together by a love for design, endless curiosity and passion for engaging viewers on an emotional level. The company blends top-tier artistry with production expertise to forge braver, smarter content that is highly original. A full-service studio fueled by a diverse array of award-winning creators, Scholar produces work that is driven by substance and elevated by style.