Computer Arts: Tell us about the project ...
Joe Cruz: The Pastel Portrait series was a self-initiated project. I was working on another commission, at the time, and these prints developed organically alongside it. I was looking at Andy Warhols portraits; I have aways been a fan of pop art and I wanted to show my take on portraiture.
CA: Describe you workflow ...
JC: Research first, which I really enjoy. It's great to learn new things. I always do lots of visual study – looking at art and design, which is new to me. I have a quick play in my sketchbook, then I just go for it. For instance, with the Pastel Portraits, I print a couple of images out and work directly onto them with my chalk pastels. It's very immediate and I know if the piece works or not pretty quickly. A lot of it's trial and error and experimenting with different marks. Once I'm happy, I scan the artwork – as chalk pastels are very temperamental – then sometimes I play with contrast, colours and stuff on Photoshop until I'm happy with the composition.
CA: How did you get into design, and who or what influences and inspires you?
JC: I've always loved to draw, and all through school, art and design subjects were my strength and what I enjoyed most. I studied at Norwich School of Art, graduating with a BA in graphic design: illustration. My style is simple but bold, using strong colours and mark making, mixed with photo juxtaposition. My favourite artist is Henri Mattise. Other influences are John Baldessari, the German expressionists and pop art. I'm always discovering new work I like. At the moment, I'm really enjoying the work of Edouard Vuillard. My ideas develop largely from from history and sociology. My personal work links in strongly with myself and my family background.
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