In the midst of her twenty-plus year art career, D Nina Cruz has embarked into a new phase of work and expression. As her work has deepened in meaning, so has her palette. Most notable is her use of wood stain as a painting medium. “I didn’t know if I could pull it off, would the stain obey?”
Obey it did in the 2015 debut with this new medium. A door, re-purposed into a coffee table, featuring two botanical subjects. It went into Habitat for Humanity’s annual fund raiser, ‘Toast to Hope’ with great success. Moreover, it also caught the attention of the Minwax company who featured it online.
Early on, her natural gifts often caught the attention of her teachers. While they collectively helped foster her talents she recalls one influential teacher, Mrs. Moser. Moser pushed Cruz to explore subject and medium further.
“Mrs. Moser seemed a woman on a mission, giving me assignments that opened creative possibilities. I remember how committed she was, giving instruction and critique. This woman somehow got me, the teenager I was. She knew art was my escape.”
Moser set her on a path of independent study. This was permission to fly. Under her guise, Nina came into her own, becoming focused and grounded in her craft.
During this time graphite and watercolour techniques played a dominant part in her work. No sooner was a piece done before it had already been signed up to enter a local or county show. This collaborative duo brought back winning ribbons every time. With gratitude Cruz remembers Mrs. Moser’s discernment to know how to teach and communicate with her.
Likewise, studying light and negative space within photography brung more depth to her work before heading into college. In 1994 Nina put herself through school and earned a BFA from Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT.
This time of exploration marked an admiration for the works and lives of the 19th century Impressionists masters. Soon after she relocated to New Jersey putting her visual arts training and concept development to work commercially. In 2004 she realized a childhood dream by illustrating two children’s books.
Cruz continues to create and sell works into private collections and recently settled on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She volunteers locally to help those in need.
Enjoying a new home studio and establishing roots in community, she is breaking new ground in her experimentation with wood stain as a painting medium. Embracing possibility, she sees great potential in the art scene on both sides of the border.
Nurturing all her creative inclinations from concept
development and design, to re-purposing and curating, Nina Cruz lends herself to a new season
of creative work.
My work is detailed, the coming together of many parts. I see details in everything. From these comes inspiration and ideas about concept, medium and presentation, through to interpretation and production.
In my world creating isn’t a choice. Seeing and processing visually is my normal, and I never think singularly. The attic inside my head is three dimensional, with moving parts. Rhythm and balance, texture and design, light and hue are all things twirling about when inspiration strikes.
Anything can trigger an idea and not long after, the medium and size are known to me. I simply see it in my mind and most often have to produce it by working backwards. Napkins usually fall prey to the inspiration as ideas often arrive when there isn’t a sketchbook to be had anywhere. In over 20 years of work I have found that human subjects and nature hold the most interest.
I communicate my emotions and interests through my work. The passion driving it is to bring elevation to the human condition. I create to provoke thought and possibilities of change and hope. We are more alike than we are different. I believe my humanity instinctively speaks to others through it.
When painting I work in three to four hour slots. Usually there are several projects going at once to keep things from becoming stagnant. When actually building something however, I can work for many hours. No matter the project, when producing, music often plays a role. It provides energy, focus, and sometimes connectivity to the work.
I enjoy being limitless with medium. Inspiration comes freely when I don’t confine it. Allowing ideas to develop in their own language, time and space keeps things new and the process engaging. This held true in the table I created, First Light. If I confined myself to “...but I don’t do florals” this piece would have never realized. After re-purposing, it simply begged for a bloom! Staying open keeps you a willing participant for wonder and grace.
I’ve given up trying to make sense or to subdue my creativity. I am a steward. Gratitude is important because what we focus on expands. Mine pours out like paint. I work to leave a legacy of creativity that surpasses beauty... to empower positive change within people and the world.
Planet Earth, USA
School of Life, Ongoing
Paier College of Art, 1994
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design
The Rowdy Rowdy Ranch,
Arte Publico Press; 2003
My Grandparents and Me,
Arte Publico Press; 2004
"Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door." —Emily Dickinson
“There's some folks, that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.” —Louis Armstrong
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