Alumni Art Exhibition 2021 - Juan L Cruz

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Nutritional Facts with Metaphorical Content

Success: Nutrition Facts, 2020
Archival Inkjet Print
26 x 18 inches

A man with tattoos

Inmate #20200912095 Michael Ericksen “Untitled”), 2019
Archival Inkjet Print
26 x 18 inches

Man blocking view of Virgin of Guadalupe

"Santo" Jake Arrieta, 2021
Paper, Scanned Images, Photography and Mixed Media
26 x 17.3 inches

Many approaches to photography are at play here. Although, influenced by graphic art, music videos, time-lapse effects, and principles and elements of design, my process of making art proceeds from my own mind rather than the external world. I render memories of places, events, and individuals as they evolve further and further from their original source. My background and experience in graphic design are imbedded in my process in combining and utilizing different mediums such as scanned images, analog & digital photography. Ultimately, by manipulating my chosen vistas, I enhance what I feel deserves attention to convey a sense of astonishment and loaded reality. In these versions and timely combinations of photographic ideas I intend to revive the medium itself. There are of course highly recognizable photographic attributes being hybridized here. The amplification and the inherently and classically photographic, the medium and its mechanics gives visual charge to its ostensible subjects. These portrait archetypes of intimidating figures, prostitutes, gang members, and gay males explore the way in which these physical types are utilized by society (media) to communicate complex codes of identity, social structures, and the subjects’ fearsome presence to society. These photographic portraits describe hidden stories and myths that are painted from my own experience growing up in Southern California. The men in my work: “are men in my own fantasies, but they are also the fantasies of other people. They are also the guys I see in the neighborhood, on the street, in the clubs, everywhere I go. It is the shuttling between the realms of private and public fantasies dialectical relationship between imagining and imaging that ultimately restages the form of the fantasy in the arena of representation.

Juan L. Cruz ‘Cruz Dela Cruz” is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. Juan completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago. He is a multidisciplinary artist with experience and education in Graphic Design, Photography and Fine Arts. In his decade-spanning practice, Juan L. Cruz explores sexuality and desire through his continued exploration of collage, mixed media and photography. Juan is currently a graphic artist in Chicago, Illinois producing top content for iCanvas working in the creative department under Art Director Terumi Tashima. During the pandemic Cruz has also worked as a photographer in documenting the process and progress of the installation of the "the Hokun, “6 Artist / 6 Spaces,” a professional gallery operated by Columbia College Chicago students enrolled in the Gallery Management Practicum. It’s a hands-on experience in the development, curation, installation, and operation of exhibitions, programs, and events. Prior to the pandemic, Cruz would spend time with long time artist friend and mentor artist Hector Duarte. He would assist Hector Duarte with his many projects and his responsibilities would include constructing mosaic components, templates, drawings, and applying his skills in design and photography. Cruz also would translate English to Spanish or Spanish to English communication in the workshops Duarte held for visiting students from neighboring universities, schools, and visitors from abroad.