Miguel Cruz Talks About his Illustrations, Argentina, NFTs & More

by Rubén Palma
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Miguel Cruz is a young, interesting and talented illustrator based out of Argentina. These past couple of years he has been making a name for himself via. social media. Especially Instagram has been perfect for him, when showcasing his popular colorful illustrations. His jolly but yet soulful characters, mixed with a twist of psychedelic-ness, draws the spectator closer, leaving us curious to what they symbolize and represent.

Hi Miguel, Thank you for sitting down with me. First question. How is a normal day like for you in Argentina?

The conditions we are going through in the country are very difficult (no matter when you read this). Personally I feel very exhausted. Lately I find it hard to concentrate, but oh well, it is not the first crisis we are going through here in Argentina, so we are used to it. In spite of that, I continue doing certain habits in which I almost always found a refuge in getting through life. And for some time now, drawing has become my best way to waste time. 

Tell me a little about this crisis, what is happening in Argentina? and how do you think it can be fixed?

So far this year we already have an inflation of approximately 51%, which places Argentina among the countries with the highest inflationary level in Latin America and the world. It does not delve into what this is causing to the middle and lower classes. The oligarchs in this game never loose and take advantage of the crisis with the help of certain media to generate more fear, inequality and greater speculation on the price of the dollar is our big problem. It’s chaotic, and I personally don’t feel able to think of how to fix something so complex. The way I see it is that to begin with, the basic services and the main means of production should be nationalized.

I read somewhere that you create your pieces very quickly and that you don’t use sketches. Tell me a little about the process of creation, from start to finish. 

When an idea or a feeling comes to me, whether it’s pleasant or not, I try to not let it take too long and get lost, it has to be captured as soon as I have the opportunity. I am not good at transmitting something in the long term. 

Your blurry colorful and vibrant style is unique and easy to recognize. What’s the story behind it? And when did you start to develope it?

It has many origins, on the one hand I’ve always been interested in the alteration of the senses which leads to perceive colors, shapes and ideas from another point of view. That is why my illustrations have a strong sensory charge, and also as I mentioned before, the need to capture that in a short period of time. On the other hand, I grew up in the 90’s and I’m inspired by all of the fantasy and terror of that time.
As for the style, you could say that the strongest inspiration comes from my father, who in his youth was a car painter and as a child I accompanied him in his workshop. I say this because the tool he used was a paint gun, with which I also played with and without knowing it well, I created blurred images with the colors that were left over.

There is something peaceful and innocent about the characters in your pieces. Who are they and what do they represent?

They are amorphous beings that try to show their emotions or ideas sincerely. To tell you the truth, I’m not really interested in the form, but in what can be transmitted. 

You create your illustrations in Photoshop. What made you gravitate towards digital art, and not lets say paintings?

The time, and I didn’t have money to buy paint.

Have you ever thought about venturing into to the metaverse and create NFTs, since your digital art fits perfectly for that?

Yes, I’ve been making NFTs for about a year now. The results have been satisfying. I find them to be a great possibility for Latin American artists with difficulties to cope with the day to day struggles. 

You are able to work and live off your illustrations. What brought you to that? Are there any specific illustrations that catapulted you to be able to do that?

Although it is true that I have been doing illustrations for several years, I have managed to live entirely from illustrations, relatively recently. It is something very rewarding and I feel that social networks have helped me a lot to generate these ties and collaborations with people from other places. Jumbo Press and Kaleidoscope Books are two great examples. They are graphic stores located in Spain and China, and has helped me a lot with my work.  

Your pieces often come with a message or a quote. Talk to me a little bit about that feature. 

Most of those messages are based on personal experiences, close people, existential dramas, mystical revelations and memes. 

Who or what inspires you?

Intense people and animals .

What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?

Not to think too much about time and sleep .

What’s your favorite movie?

I don’t have a favorite, but I really like Persona (Bergman), Sans Soleil ( Chris Marker), Storytelling ( Todd Solondz) and Rambo 1.

For more information about Miguel, check out his Instagram

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