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Art & Life with Natalie Cruz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Cruz.

Natalie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Coming from a family of non-artists, I somehow always followed my passion for creating. When I really consider it, I think it stems from a love of making things with my hands. I loved piecing together beaded keychains, drawing detailed pictures, and fixing myself the quirkiest, edgy outfits. My high school had a variety of art classes available to which I took full advantage of. Under the guidance of a couple of very supportive art teachers, I came to consider being an artist in the real world. I graduated in the spring of 2018 with my BFA in Drawing & Painting from Cal State Long Beach. I have been able to develop my own creative voice through painting, drawing, and installation.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
The content of my work comes from my interest in light phenomena. I’m constantly documenting interesting cloud formations, cast shadows, or light situations occurring in the world around me. I’ve always been one to observe and ingest my surroundings. My work reveals this through oil painting, drawing, and installation as I work in a converted shed studio. No matter the medium, I like my work to feel intimate but still vast. My work is fused with personal situations or memories through shapes and symbols.

When I look at the sky, I feel as if I’m looking inward. I think about my place in the world, my relationships, my past and the future. I’ve always been drawn to Light and Space era artists as well as Latin American Kinetic artists of the mid-1900s. Illusions or things that change with movement are elements I incorporate in my work. I hope for people to get a sense of that atmospheric etherealness. I hope they question how and why things occur in the natural world. My work is about wonder and becoming self-aware.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge for some artists is also the biggest advantage for others, and that is proximity to a metropolitan area that supports art. Living and working in Orange County, it’s difficult to always be a part of the LA art scene. I drive to and from LA to North Orange County weekly and it takes a toll on my finances, of course. To be a part of the scene and achieve a career, you have to put yourself out there and get to know people in that community while also maintaining your day job. That is my biggest challenge, but to other’s who are closer and fully engaged in it, it’s great and accessible. The artworld is competitive and everyone wants a shot at it–it’s easy to get discouraged. Finding people who know where you are coming from and support your art practice is crucial to overcoming all the adversities that come with this type of career.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People can view and follow my work on my website or Instagram. I typically post in-progress shots of new work as well as photographs of the light phenomenon that fascinated me on Instagram. People are able to tap into my brain that way a little bit. My website has my email in case anyone wants to contact me about my work.

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