Audrey De La Cruz: Artist/Founder Annotated Audrey Art

Art Motif Magazine is happy to kickstart the next series of featured artists with Audrey De La Cruz. Audrey is originally from Los Angeles and has a background in Anthropology. Today she is a full-time artist living in Tucson, AZ and capturing the diverse stories and lives of this Arizona Sonoran Desert community through her vibrant artwork. Enjoy our interview with Audrey and learn more about her creative process and where she finds sanctuary and the inspiration to continue creating.

Bloomin Barrel by Audrey De La Cruz

What is essential to your work as an artist? Inspiration! I always have a sketchbook with me at all times and can pretty much create art anywhere. Sometimes inspiration just strikes and I have to be ready when it does. In order to find inspiration, I take walks in the Saguaro National Park, visit the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum or generally just go outside.  

Also, a flexible workspace. I like to change up my workspace depending on my mood. While my art supplies do have a space in my studio, I often create work all over my house, in the backyard or even away from my house. One of my favorite places to create art is while I am at an art market or event. I like to share my process with people who enjoy my work.

Succulent Frida by Audrey De La Cruz

How do your background, cultural roots, and/or sense of identity manifest in your art? I would say that my educational background influences my art and manifests itself into my art. In college, I studied Anthropology which is the study of human cultures and societies. I’ve always had an interest in stories, both written and visual. I like to tell stories with my art, especially with my feminine portraits. These portraits often depict people whom I know or admire and they explore the connection with the feminine spirit and nature.

Spring Succulents by Audrey De La Cruz

How has your artistic practice changed over time? My art is and always has been an expression of the ideas in my head and a means to find peace during stressful times. When I used to work full time in an office, I would create art after work, on the weekends and during my lunch break. Ever since I started to pursue art full time, I have been able to spend a lot more time on my art. These days, art just flows out of me. I would say that since I paint and draw so much, I almost spend more time creating than not. My art is an energy that escapes through my hands.

Cactus Love by Audrey De La Cruz

Are there any themes you gravitate towards more in your works? I tend to gravitate towards desert themes and feminine illustration. The desert theme is quite new to me. I started exploring the theme two years ago when I moved to Tucson from LA. It was something new that I grew to love. My desert art is a snapshot of this moment in my life. Feminine portraiture is also one of my favorite subjects and has been for as long as I can remember. I like drawing women from different cultural backgrounds because I like representing different narratives in my art. All people and cultures have their special and unique characteristics and I think that it’s important to recognize and celebrate our differences.

Grow and Cook by Audrey De La Cruz

Do you have a preferred genre, style or medium? I love experimenting with a variety of art supplies and it’s so hard for me to choose. Experimentation is an integral part of my artistic journey and the challenge is to try and keep my style consistent across different mediums. I tend to gravitate towards acrylic paint, colored pencil & watercolor. I also love mixing media and often do.

Arizona Sunset by Audrey De La Cruz

What inspires you? At the moment, I am most inspired by my new home in the desert. About two years ago, my husband and I bought a small house and some land near the Saguaro National Park. It was quite an adjustment moving from the city to a mostly secluded area. I like the quiet sanctuary that my new life brings and it allows me to hone my craft without distraction.

Roadrunner in Motion by Audrey De La Cruz

Your favorite painters? I tend to prefer stylized works of art over realistic ones because I feel that stylized artwork provides an interesting lens into the artist’s worldview. To me, stylized art is a unique expression of how an artist sees the world. I think there is beauty in exploring how an artist’s life, personality and perspective impacts their work.

Having said that, my absolute favorite painters of all time are Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. I love van Gogh’s use of color and his amazing brushwork. His world is vibrant and mirrors the spirit of his reality. I am very much influenced by his art when I work with acrylic paint. Frida Kahlo’s art is filled with raw emotion and surreal imagery. It is brave and unapologetic, just like she was. Frida’s work inspires me to incorporate my own personality and whimsical concepts into my feminine portraits.

The Succulent Bowl and Desert Rabbit by Audrey De La Cruz

Your favorite heroes/heroines in real life? My real-life heroes are my family members. They say that it takes a village to raise a child and I definitely had a village of people raise me when I was growing up. In addition to my parents, I had a loving grandma, six aunts and two uncles raise me. My family is my support system and they taught me everything I know about life. They even helped me move to the desert to pursue my dreams. Even though they all live 500 miles away, they are a constant source of inspiration, love and hope for me and I will be forever grateful for that.

Celestial Desert by Audrey De La Cruz

To learn more about Audrey and purchase or see more of her lush and colorful work, click on the following links:

Day Schildkret: Morning Altars Earth Artist

The connection between life and art is something that has long been contemplated and studied. We know that art imitates life just as often as life itself mimics art. In fact, the relationship between the two is so deeply interwoven that even those inherent parts of life with which most people struggle – change, loss, impermanence, death – become not only important but extraordinarily beautiful and necessary moving pieces in the artistic whole of our lives.

In this issue of Art Motif Magazine, we are excited to feature Day Schildkret. Day is known internationally for Morning Altars and has inspired tens of thousands of people of all ages from all over the world to forage, build and be awed with Earth Art. Day is igniting an international movement by sharing the art, teachings and spirit of Morning Altars as a tangible creative and spiritual practice that renews and redeems our relationship to nature, creativity and impermanence.

Below, Day shares a few of his stunning altars and describes his artistic practice and his devotion to the pursuit of impermanent beauty and how that can become nourishment for life to continue. Day is also thrilled to share that Morning Altars is being published as a book coming out in the Fall of 2018. Please join the book mailing list at

Mystery’s Mistress (Photo credit: Day Schildkret)

What is essential to your work as an artist? The supplies I use for Morning Altars are all growing in my neighborhood. They are the autumn leaves falling from the tree in the most spectacular splash of orange, red, green and browns. They are the turkey feathers left from the migrating birds who sleep in the trees down by the creek. They are the layers upon layers of twisted bark that peel off the redwood tree. But what is essential to my work as an artist is the fact that my art is impermanent and is not meant to last. Every single Morning Altar I have ever created has been destroyed. The sun dries it up. The wind blows it around. The animals eat it. The core purpose of this creative practice is to relate to change everyday and to know that because my art is made of the earth, it lives and dies.

What works, events, or moments in your life have influenced your art? It was a significant break up with my previous boyfriend that got me building Morning Altars everyday as a practice. I was so immersed in my grief that I truly had no capacity to do anything except walk my dog at first light. We would go on a walk into the hills of Wildcat Canyon and one morning, as the fog was rolling through the hills we came across a eucalyptus tree with a cluster of amber colored mushrooms that exploded at its base. For some reason, I decided to sit down and stare at the mushrooms which were glistening in the fog. They looked like they were painted with water color. Without thinking, I began rearranging the mushrooms and some of the eucalyptus caps and bark that had fallen from the tree and after an hour passed, there was a beautiful Morning Altar under the tree. It was the first time since the break up that I didn’t feel so burdened with grief. Almost like the beauty-making metabolized the grief. The power of that has helped me see Morning Altars as a resource to help me and others through uncertain times.

A Newborn Morning (Photo credit: Day Schildkret)

How do your background, cultural roots, and/or sense of identity manifest in your art? My ancestral roots are Jewish. I was a religious Jew for my entire adolescence. I was even the Executive Director of a Jewish school for teenagers for almost a decade. Judaism has always been at the core of my life and culture. While I was living in Israel in 1999, I was very close to a bus bombing that could have taken my life. In the same year while living in Jerusalem, I came out of the closet and took a big step away from my religious orthodoxy. But my spirituality got even stronger. With the success of Morning Altars, I’ve continued to ask myself how does Judaism manifest in my art and the more research and learning I do into my people’s history, the clearer it becomes: While modern Jews like to consider themselves a people of the book, our ways of prayer and devotion are older than literacy. Shrine-making on mountains, rivers, trees were how the people pre-Bible would communicate with their deities and make offerings to the land. When I make a Morning Altar, I definitely feel a very, very old connection to an ancient lineage. I don’t know how it survived this long but I see my art and expression as a way of carrying this ancient form of prayer, connection and devotion forward in a modern time.

How has your artistic practice changed over time? It’s funny. When I look through my early altars, it seems like I am looking at prehistoric art. There are a lot of sticks, stones and bones. My earlier work is messier, less exact but there’s definitely a voice and soul that wants to be expressed. Over time, I have really allowed my perfectionist to find his stride and it is evident in my art. It’s remarkable that I have found a way to take nature – which is rarely symmetrical – and make it look geometric and refined. This has been a practice of cultivating patience because just when I think I’m done and I’ve gotten it exactly where I want it, the wind blows it all away. The impermanence is also the most important companion for my perfectionist because without limitations, it would never be complete. My artistic practice continues to change over time because I’m always exercising my relationship between what I want and what nature wants.

Desert Sunrise (Photo credit: Day Schildkret)

Are there any themes you gravitate towards more in your works? I tend to lean toward symmetry. I like the way it feels on my soul and in my nervous system. It just lets me relax and open up to what is being expressed. There’s less trying to figure something out intellectually and more permission for the beauty to come into the body. Plus, symmetry in nature is just such a rare and wonderful thing.

Do you have a preferred genre/style/medium? My preferred genre is the ephemeral. Anything from nature that is born and dies. I like creating at that edge.

What inspires you? I am inspired by bare earth which is my blank canvas. Depending on where I am (the grey clay of California versus the red sands of Southern Utah) and the season of the year gives me a completely different base to work on. I tend to never work on grass!

Northstar (Photo credit Day: Schildkret)

What is your creative process? What does a typical day of creative expression look like for you? Wake at dawn when everything is still so quiet. Take my basket and go off into the neighborhood for a forage and wander. Everything is dictated by the treasures I find. After about an hour or so, I come back to a spot I love by the creek and I sit with it for some time. I let myself listen to the place. The place speaks very differently at different times of the day and different times of the year. I let myself get a little closer to witnessing where I am. Then I take a brush and sweep the canvas so that it becomes bare earth. Then I create. And when I am complete, I photograph it and walk away and let it change and go back to the earth. I then edit the photograph and post it on my social media. I love inspiring other people all over the world to build their own. People send me Morning Altars from all over the world: Australia, Peru, Iran, England…it is incredible!

Different people perceive and respond differently to art. Do you recall any memorable response by others to your works? While there’s an infinite number of responses to draw from, the one that is coming to mind right now occurred last year when I was building a large scale Morning Altar at a conference. It was a 20′ circular altar and a little girl about 3 years old left her mother’s hand and came up to the altar and watched. She then went on to mimic what I was doing and built a little version of the large altar I was building. It literally looked like a planet and a moon. The mother said this was the first piece of art she ever made by herself. It was moving to remember how easy and accessible building earth art is.

Temple’s Tile (Photo credit: Day Schildkret)T

What piece of advice would you give other aspiring artists? Art must be in service to the time and place we live in otherwise it’s just more entertainment. In the face of so much destruction, we artists must keep creating the world alive again and again. It is a burdensome privilege to carry this responsibility of creating art, but one that is desperately needed in these dark times. Be courageous and do not fear. Create every day. Create remembering how needed you are.

Your favorite writers and/or poets? Each year I memorize new poetry. Last year I focused on Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. The year before was David White’s profound words. This year I am going to learn some Langston Hughes.

Your favorite painters? He’s an earth painter: Andy Goldsworthy. And Monet.

Your favorite composers? Bach, Debussy, Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Gershwin, Elliot Moss, Sufjan Stevens and all the old traditional Georgian music.

Lady Nouveau (Photo credit: Day Schildkret)

Your favorite heroes/heroines in real life? I’m amazed by wildlife and that wild deer or plantain or skunks or mugwort or coyote are still living free in the middle of an unending human assault on the wild.

Your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction? I’m a big fantasy nerd. So, Frodo.

Your favorite motto? “I’m listening.”

Your idea of happiness? Watching the miracle of life creating itself – in whatever form.

Morning Altars Stratton Aerial (Photo credit: Unknown)
Photo credit: Day Schildkret

To learn more about Day and see more of his exquisite altars, click on the following links:

Gabby Garcia: Makeup Artist, Cosplayer, Illustrator & Photographer

Art Motif Magazine is proud to feature Tucson, AZ artist Gabby Garcia in its inaugural web publication.

At 19 years of age, Gabby has been honing  her creative skills almost her entire life. She is a  freelance makeup artist currently studying cosmetology at Aveda Institute in Tucson, as well as a talented cosplayer, illustrator, photographer and self-proclaimed film geek. As busy as life can be for the multi-talented (and quite comedic) young artist, Gabby graciously took the time this week to share some of her art and discuss her creative process with us.

What is essential to your work as an artist? Having music blaring in the background is essential to my work flow. The genres vary depending on what I’m working on. The music helps to place me in a state of deep concentration and it sparks my imagination.

Jared Leto by Gabby Garcia | Ink on multimedia paper | July 2017

Do you have a preferred genre/style/medium? As far as my illustrations go, I prefer black and white, minimalistic line art portraiture. That style came naturally to me and I enjoy dabbling with simplicity to give myself some balance.

What inspires you? My work is heavily inspired by film, television, and music.

What is your creative process? What does a typical day of creative expression look like for you? I have the same creative process today that I had when I was a kid. When I was watching a movie back then, I’d become instantly intrigued by the characters and run to my room to dress up as them. Over the years, I’ve just improved the outcome.

What piece of advice would you give other aspiring artists? Keep practicing. You won’t learn anything overnight. Find your own style and don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come to you right away. It took about seven years for my style to find my address.

Who are your favorite painters? Kevin Llewellyn and Kelly Eden. They both focus on hyper-realism and I totally dig that style. Kelly Eden also inspired me to go from box-dyed, jet black hair to cotton candy pink hair. Don’t try that at home.

Jack Sparrow: I’ve cosplayed Captain Jack three times over the past couple of years and I keep improving each time. I did this look as an homage to the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Let’s have a moment of silence for the extensions that were sacrificed during the making of that ‘stache.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine in real life? Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and author of Girl Boss. She’s a successful, self-made, business woman that kicks ass. I really admire her story. Sophia is a huge inspiration to me because I’m going into an industry where I’m going be my own boss throughout my career. She was able to keep herself motivated even though life tossed some crap at her.

Lily Munster: I’ve always been a huge fan of The Munsters (sorry, Addams Family). Lily is one of my favorite glamour ghouls, so I chose to cosplay her for my 2016 Halloween makeup series.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine in fiction? Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. She moved far from home at the tender age of 13 to a city she barely knew (solely because she could see the ocean) on nothing but a broomstick and found success by rooming with two complete strangers who coincidentally helped her find her passion in life. If she can do that, then I’ll do just fine when I move out to Los Angeles. Maybe I will also be able to find a place that doesn’t charge extra for a cat.

What is your favorite motto? “Make something beautiful before you are dead.” ~ A sticker I was handed at the All Souls Procession

Walker: I had to learn how to apply foam latex appliances during a class that I took at Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles a few years back. This is the outcome of my zombie prosthetics on my buddy Liz.
Untitled: I did this look for a makeup challenge by What It Takes. Our goal throughout this challenge was to practice on a style of our choice. I adore Avant-garde looks and enjoy doing them. This is what I came up with.
Zella Day by Gabby Garcia | Ink on multimedia paper | July 2017

To see more of Gabby’s work, click on the following links: