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