Today we’d like to introduce you to Raven Cruz.
Raven, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My passion for design and illustration started when I painted my mother’s beautiful white carpet green when I was 2 years old. From then on everyone knew I was going to be in some sort of creative field. Throughout my public school career, I continued to take as many art classes as possible. It got so crazy, I was taking double art classes by my Senior year in high school. I originally started as a watercolourist, but then one year in high school we gained a new teacher who was into digital art and she was the coolest person I had ever met. She told me I could scan my paintings and illustrations into photoshop and make digital collages – this blew my mind. After that, I attended the Art Institute of Phoenix, Arizona, got my BFA in Graphic Design and then everything just blossomed into today.
Has it been a smooth road?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had some sort of struggle that has made me into the person I am today. I grew up moving from city to city, living with my mom’s friends and never having a room or bed of my own. I was born in Oxnard, but my mother moved us to San Diego when my sister was born and we lived in the more questionable parts of town that, back in the 90’s, that was very similar to old Compton and South Central LA (Chula Vista, National City, North Park & City Heights). The street art there was the most fascinating I had ever seen and the most inspirational to me. I never knew my father, but my mother raised me on her own which meant she worked long hours, so a lot of my passion for the arts and creativity stemmed from boredom and me trying to hide the ugly truth of the world from myself. I even attended different schools every 2-3 years up until high school, gaining and losing friends along the way. Once when I was young I ended up having to live with my Grandmother in Oxnard, away from my mother. I was so sheltered and only had 2 friends who lived across the street from me. Freshmen year of high school I ended up living with a good friend of mine to finish all 4 years because my mom had moved my sister & I to live with my stepfather in Murietta, a good hour and 45 away from my high school. And in college, I left California to go live with my then boyfriend in Phoenix, Arizona but that ended up with me working 2 jobs, schooling full time and paying for 4 other people’s rent (though I admit, rent in Phoenix is WAY cheaper than California). Art & Design was the only constant in my life that kept me moving forward.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment in my career has been when I was announced the Art Director of the Versus Cosplay calendar projects. I have always been a support character no matter the situation and after years of practice and doing, I finally have my chance to show my leadership skills and creativity.
Every story has ups and downs. What were some of the downs others might not be aware of?
I struggled during the beginning of my career. I was still in college and interning, but my internship was unpaid. There were times I’d be hungry during lunch but had no money to go anywhere or do anything. Sometimes I barely had gas to get to the internship. I had worked on some big name client work and was so proud of the work that was going out into the world, I even believed they would hire me after the internship and my graduation but it never happened and I ended up at a more friendly advertising firm that supported my creative dreams which eventually lead me through to the path I’m on today.
What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
Los Angeles/Orange County is definitely a good place for Graphic Designer & Illustrators. It’s the hub of all thing creative here on the West Coast and has the best artistic vibe I know. As a creative just emerging in the L.A. scene, I recommend looking at what your competition is doing on social media, what the latest trends are, then continually sending out your resume to the top agencies and asking for their thoughts on your portfolio and how to make it better. Not everyone will help, but a lot of veteran creatives love giving a hand to newbies who are willing and able to compete with other like-minded people as well as follow/grow on what’s trending.
- Website: revengelover.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @revengelover
- Facebook: fb.me/revengeloverdesign
- Other: dribbble.com/revengelover
Image Credit: Phoenix Comicon, Men Vs. Cosplay/Anabel Martinez, Four Eyed Radio Network (Eric Dewey, Steve Mooney, & Matt Renfro), Kurt Barbee (Karvt), Jason Gonzalez (La Mano del Destino).