Emilia Cruz

:: AGE

24

:: LOCATION

Simi Valley, California, USA

:: MEDIUM

I think my true love will always be paint. I do however love to explore all types of mediums whenever I get the chance to. Recently, I discovered super sculpey clay and I have been having the best time making small sculptures out of it!

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Soy Chicana.

As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

Creating has given me a voice and a way to mark my existence. More importantly, I want to continue to make artwork that can uplift and empower other womxn, especially womxn of color who are not always being appreciated in the way that they should be.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

So not too long ago, this little girl came up to me at a cafe where I was displaying some of my paintings and she asked if she could get a picture with me. She was so shy and sweet. Afterwards she also showed me her artwork! I was so touched. I really hope she continues to make art!

How do you define love?

To me, love is the way my hermanita braids my hair for fun and afterwards she’ll look at me and says, “wow you look good!” Love is when my mom wakes up momentarily at five every Thursday morning before I go to school just to make sure that I at least ate oatmeal. Love is when my dad sends me text messages throughout the day to make sure I’m ok or just to show me pictures of his random selfies. Love is when my amigas and I laugh uncontrollably together. Love is when I want nothing more than to see those who I surround myself with prosper and to be happy.

How do you make time to create?

My days now are primarily dedicated to creating. To be fair though, I do go to an art school and that does help push me to be constantly working on projects. I also think that it’s important for me to carry a small sketchbook around everyday, that way I can pull it out whenever I have a spare moment to draw something real quick.

How does your mental health affect your work?

I am not going to lie, I have my really bad days. You know the kind where you feel like you are just not capable of doing anything besides laying on your bed and staring at your ceiling? I try to take it easy when that happens. I do keep a sketchbook specifically for my dark days and I will draw something real quick, then jot down whatever is going through my mind at that moment. This has really helped my healing process. As much as I love when I have never ending energy and drive to work nonstop, I know that I need to be gentle and forgiving to myself on the days that I don’t.

What is your earliest memory of making art?

Oh wow, I think it was when I was about three or four years old, I have this memory of drawing anthropomorphized rabbits. Apparently my first drawings I made were little smiley faces on my fingers when I was two years old, according to my mom.

What social issues do you care about most?

Wow I get anxious just thinking about everything that really needs to be fixed in the world. Colorism and racism are definitely two that hit home.

What could you not live without?

My parents, Camila, and my friends. Then of course there’s things such as donuts, art supplies, socks and whatnot.

Who are your influences/inspirations?

I’ve met so many amazing and caring artists, sorry but I think that would be too long of a list to try to fit in here. I do however want to mention two relatives who influenced my artistic path from a very young age and who I will always have a place in my heart for, my tia osa and my abuelito Jesus. My tia supported my artwork since day one and would constantly teach me about different artists. My abuelito was an artist himself, an AMAZING one I might add (I promise I am not being biased). He was an architect as well as a sculptor.

What message do you want to spread with your art?

Representation is so important to me, so I want to be able to depict womxn of color as much as possible! My friend Ivonne and I have a really exciting project coming up that is all about empowering woc. I also want to be more transparent with my work and allow myself to be vulnerable. Overall I just hope that in some way my work can resonate with others.

What does self-love mean to you?

It means accepting yourself. It means taking care of yourself. It means acknowledging your right AND your wrong doings. Self-love is when you allow yourself to grow into the best version of you that there is.