#ArtdropSpotlight | Issa Cruz
“What does it mean to be one with nature?” Issa Cruz ponders on the different interpretations of the question, ranging from the awareness of the world around us to its conservation and protection. For her, the synergy between humans and nature is something to be observed.
Issa combines illustration and hand lettering in an effort to convey the subtle language of the universe… the push and pull of the tides, the movement of light from the sun and moon, the pitter patter of rain against her window. Her personal relationship with nature lends itself to one of her life’s mantras, that the world runs on energy exchange.
We make meaningful connections with everything around us, the people most importantly. This week at #ArtdropSpotlight, we get to know Issa through her thoughts and insights on art, nature, and life in general.
Hi Issa! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! We’re really excited to learn more about you and your work! To start, could you talk about what you’re doing lately?
“Currently, I work as a graphic designer for South Street Designs and a project manager for Natural Selection Design. The work I do and the project I’m in are very strategic to me as an artist. Being exposed to the incredible outputs of the artists and designers around me keeps me grounded and inspired. I recently moved back home with my family after living independently for quite some time. There’s been an adjustment period but I don’t regret it because I get to spend quality time with my family.”
What’s the inspiration and influences behind your art?
“I draw inspiration mainly from nature and from my other hobbies. I do aerial arts, swimming and diving. Before the pandemic, I was usually out in nature but I’ve been working from home and haven’t really gone outside since March, so staying inspired has been a real struggle. I got into diving for the sport but it opened me up to the reality of the current state of our environment, and led me to being active in advocacy building. What started as an interest in sports became a creative outlet through projects in collaboration with several other organizations that share the same passion for both environmentalism and swimming.”
“An important aspect of my art is how everything in nature moves together, that everything constantly moves, everything constantly changes, and how these changes can only happen through energy exchange.”
“My theme isn’t that intentional, but I guess I just draw what I observe. I like observing how we move with nature, or how natural phenomena in nature can be a great metaphor for how we feel at the moment. Or how we move with the seasons such as planting and harvest season, depending on your location in the world. The ideas that can be drawn from this narrative is endless.”
Did your art start with hand lettering? We noticed that was constant in your work.
“Hand lettering is my first love! I’m a frustrated writer so doing hand lettering is actually an attempt to write. Back in grade school, I always watched my older sister do calligraphy because it was a requirement in school. Back then, I thought, sana high school na ako para lang makapag-calligraphy, tapos nung high school na, tinanggal nila yung calligraphy classes. LOL. Then I got into UP CFA and took up Visual Communication, but in VC, they teach you all of the possible paths that you can take but it’s up to you to specialize in a medium or a style. I decided that I wanted to be good at hand lettering and illustration so I started self-studying since back in 2012.”
“From hand lettering, I started incorporating more illustrations to my artworks. Lately, I’ve been doing more artworks that are completely illustrations without any lettering on it. I find the process of illustrating more relaxed and more free than hand lettering.”
“They say, “Always think before you speak.” It’s the same with hand lettering, you have to think a lot about what you want to say before you write it, unlike illustrations which are more open to interpretation and you can really just not think all throughout the process of creating the artwork.”
They do say a picture is worth a thousand words. The pieces in your collection here at Artdrop have both! What do they mean to you?
“I worked on my first collection early in the pandemic when my emotions were all over the place and I wanted to document what was happening. It was my own way of grounding myself with reality, presenting myself to the canvas and just releasing everything, kind of a meditative process.”
“Takipsilim is about endings. All things, good and bad, must come to an end. The brevity of this allows you to truly value the moments that pass. Without it, we’d just take everything for granted.”
“I was trying to remind myself that the pandemic will end eventually. Ulan is about the comfort that I felt with the sound of the rain. This was back when we were just transitioning from summer to rainy season and it was just a drizzle every other day. But now, I get scared when I hear the rain because it sounds like a calamity is about to arrive. The last one, Bukang Liwayway is about hope. Tomorrow, the sun will rise, things can get worse but it will get better.”
Do you have any goals for your art? How do you see your art moving forward?
“I’m trying not to overthink it. Right now, my intention is to just print my artworks and take up physical space. I’m a digital artist so I do everything on my computer and my iPad and I realized that I couldn’t archive my artworks properly. I feel like they just disappear if they’re digitally rendered and posted online. I wanted to see my works in person and to share them with more people. As for my long term goal... I just want to be able to make art sustainably until I get old. I want to set up an art studio by the beach and just swim, move and make art all day.”
That’s the dream! It’s certainly not impossible for Issa who believes that there are no rules in art and that we should simply keep on creating.
“Gawa lang ng gawa. Mind your own stuff and don't compare yourself to other artists because everyone has a different path.”
Again, the world runs on energy exchange and as long as you put in the time and effort to improve yourself, you will eventually get better. Finally, Issa reminds us to “enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, and enjoy every step of the way.”
Written by Cate Cue, Artdrop Creatives Team