Cruz is a leading wood stain artists, creating masterful works that connect the human spirit to the beauty of the ephemeral. Cruz coined this quality in her work as, "Wàsayū". Inspired by Japanese perspectives that contrast to the western view of beauty. Her 'Wàsayū' means, "profound grace in obscured transient beauty". Born in 1972 in the South Bronx, Cruz was raised in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and Arizona. At the age of six began drawing in a realist style. Innately drawn to tools and wood finishes, she began working with them at age ten. During her academic years Cruz continued to create and frequently earned awards in competition.
In 1994, Cruz put herself through school, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After graduating she settled in northern New Jersey. The following decade, working in a more illustrative style with mixed media.
"Between 1996 and 2006 I found myself repeatedly buying earth-tone tubes of paint that I didn’t need! I could not explain this, nor the fact that I had been seeing the ideas in my head in ‘Sepia’ since 1993.”
In the aftermath of 9/11, Cruz was suddenly without employment, a roof of her own, or a vehicle. This two-year experience was the catalyst in further exploration monochromatics, that had begun eight years earlier. She tapped into the relevance of how the pairing-down of things illuminates and stimulates connection. This powerful discovery fueled new work. Cruz began rebuilding her life while continuing to paint.
In 2013, with a dedicated space to create, Cruz transitioned to wood stain, recognizing that this was the medium that had been calling to her years earlier. Pairing down a subject's colour would also allow for more study of light, shadow and form. This birthed her development of original methods and techniques, GrainStain Arts®, which uses wood stain as a fine art medium on vintage and premium wood substrates.
In 2017, a solo exhibition with Cruz's signature approach was held at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem PA. Consisting of fourteen portraits, the show dealt with issues of community and the amazing giving capacity of the human spirit. It was featured on the front page of the areas local newspaper, an interview on NPR radio.
“Life has taught me the blessing of ‘non-attachment’. While I know wood stain has been calling me since childhood, I remain open to creativity as a whole. The gifting and purposes we have are limitless if we allow them to be. I see my works on paper very much part of the tree and art relationship.”
Cruz continues to work in her New Jersey studio along the Delaware river. A new Japanese inspired series is currently underway.
Born in 1972 in the South Bronx, Cruz was raised in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and Arizona. At the age of six began drawing in a realist style. Innately drawn to tools and wood finishes, she began working with them at age ten. During her academic years Cruz continued to create and frequently earned awards in competition.
Paier College of Art Inc - 1994
2018 Group Show, “THAT - The Hunterdon Art Tour”,
Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton NJ
2017 Solo Exhibition, “the new BLACK —VOLUNTEERISM”,
ArtsQuest at SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA
Traveling exhibition that gives testament to the amazing giving capacity
of the human spirit. Using art and narrative, it explores the unseen
rewards TO the volunteer.
2015 Solo Project. Habitat for Humanity, "First Light"
Habitat of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem PA
Utilitarian table and fine art work. Reconstruction of a pocket door into a table.
The bloom on the face is the flower 'from' the cactus painted on the underside.
2014 Group Show, “The Art of the Flower Exhibition”,
Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia PA
2014 Group Show, “To Plaid or Not to Plaid”,
The Gallery at St. John's, Easton PA
2014 Group Show*, “Member's Art Exhibition”,
Artsbridge Group, Lambertville NJ
2007 Solo Exhibition, “The Open Door"
Paula at Rigoletto, Weehawken NJ
1994 Group Show, “Alumni Show"
Paier College of Art, Hamden CT
1992 Public Art Project. Collaborative.
City of Meriden, Meriden CT
Design and concept development of an 11’ wooden archway of an annual public
community event. As well as life-size reproduction of wooden storybook
characters for children’s reading area.
*The piece entered in this show was a monochromatic brown work. It sold within fifteen minutes of the show's opening.
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