Mel Vera Cruz
“My process started with the frames that I bought on sale. It’s an idea I came up with to ‘comply’ with the tradition that paintings should be framed, and as an artist I try not to discriminate because change could come from the unknown so I reversed my process that made these works distinct.
Digging into my past is like the missing piece of my puzzle. Being marginalized is one reason for my insecurities so I hid it for a long time, but accepting and facing it was an awakening. It’s a great feeling to know my courage, so I have to include images about my ethnicity because it’s part of who I am. It’s what separates my art, and showing it is necessary as a revelation and contribution to mine and the art world’s evolution. To create a spark I have to look at things not from existing beliefs but from my own point of view. The images I use are a kind of celebration and assimilation into my current situation. I’m like an import that brings my own individuality to my current collective to evolve and make my obscure past visible.
Art and life for me isn’t separate. It’s the bond between my spirit and physical existence. so, my heart, mind, body and soul are one with my convictions. I have my own belief system, so i don’t buy my materials from art stores because I don’t go with traditional art making styles like oils and acrylics.
Independence as an artist is important to me. It’s not a career but it is who I am. My job as a graphic designer is my hobby and it finances my passion too.
Some of my materials were collected during my stints in different jobs but I don’t look at it as stealing because it’s an honest expression Robin Hood style. I used to work in a print shop and while there, I always felt like a kid in a candy store. I take what’s available, create something out of it and distribute it to the people. That’s how I see it. We cannot create much change if we’re always fearful so I have to be ‘child-like’ and not worry about traditions, copyrights and stuff to have sincerity, purity and authenticity in my works.”
Mel’s artworks illuminate in a chaotic but fun way. He has been interested in utilizing available materials or found objects because he likes to be self-sufficient, not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually. His surroundings definitely impacts his process and art making. Like a chemist, he can transform materials from his surroundings and then make them into pieces of art, because he believes it is integrated with his life and not separate or detached. Mel Vera Cruz, overall, believes in the freedom and independence in art making.