The work of London-based illustrator Joe Cruz never ceases to excite with his signature oil pastel markings adorning black and white photographs to create a wonderful communion. His personal work is as bold as ever, but it’s great to see more of Joe’s creations in a commercial context. Most recently his images graced The Sunday Times Magazine in their feature on Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set A Watchman and Whistles has also cottoned on to his magic.
Joe’s extensive use of found imagery adds to the freshness of his work as he takes an already existing object and re-appropriates it in a stark and accessible way. Finding these photographs has become a part of the illustrator’s process, “I enjoy researching, my interest in art history can fuel new experiments allowing the work to develop,” he explains. “I am constantly on the lookout and sort through lots of material to find something that appeals to me.”
While Joe has established a style for himself, it’s his penchant for experimentation that allows him to embrace change and other ways of working. “A large part of my work is play. I get bored and am very fidgety so all the experimenting goes hand-in-hand with my research to drive my practise.” Expressive and beautiful, the vivid shades and dialogue created build an energy that’s hard to ignore.