ZANESVILLE – He turned what he loved as a child into a career as an adult.
“When I was a kid,” recalled Cris Cruz, “I’d draw when I was bored and draw when I’d go to my dad’s job. I was always drawing. And people were always praising me on my artwork, so I figured I had some sort of talent.
“I’ve always wanted to be an artist,” he added. “I would picture working for Disney all the time. I even mailed my artwork, sketches, paintings to Disney as a kid. I wrote them a letter saying they didn’t have to pay me, that I’d work for free. They sent it all back with a letter saying, ‘Thank you. Please finish a degree in art and to reapply after that.”
Today, Cruz is a member of the Artist Colony of Zanesville for his graphic design, illustration, painting, sketching and comics under the name Cris Cruz Art and Designs.
“Cartoons and illustrations would be my expertise,” he said. “But I’ve drawn still-life images and paintings. I think it’s best to have tried it all.”
Now 42, Cruz grew up in Miami, Florida. He studied at Miami Dade Community College and then the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
“I loved that school but never finished,” he said. “I’m now currently enrolled at Columbus State Community College to finish my degree and move on. Not to pursue a career in art, but just to say I finished it. The only career path I wanted aside from art was police officer, so I kind of chase both now.
“It’s hard to label art as a career,” he noted. “It’s more a passion. I draw pretty much every day. I’m either doodling or painting rocks – making photoshops online.”
He does it, he said, “because it’s a drive to create. Sometimes boredom leads me to start drawing, but mostly I’ll have to want to.”
Kristen Brown, president of the Artist Colony of Zanesville, appreciates his artistic style.
“Chris Cruz is a wonderful artist. I love his style,” assessed Brown. “One of my favorite pieces he’s done is a painted banner that hangs on the streetlamps when it’s warmer. It’s a pizza zombie that’s well painted and comical. I love that he’s still creating art with his fun sense of humor and great talent.”
“There’s been ups and downs, as with anyone’s life,” Cruz responded. “And the struggle to finish my art degree has been a mission. But I’m very happy with the family I have built with my wife Heather. I feel like Miami has a lot of art, but Ohio has given me so many opportunities in the art field that it makes me feel like I’m where I am supposed to be.”
For more information about Cris Cruz Art and Designs, call 740-771-6195, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Facebook.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com.