For a “stimulation of the senses” join Miguel Cruz’s amorphous characters in their psychedelic dream world
The Argentinian illustrator combines a speedy technique with inspiration from meditation, poetry and paint guns to capture the “aura” of his jolly characters.
- Elfie Thomas
- 16 February 2022
Miguel Cruz’s delightful illustrations draw you into psychedelic, hazy worlds where amorphous characters roam and dissolve languidly into their colourful environment. The artist is fascinated by the “stimulation of the senses”, practising meditation and “experimenting with substances” to explore his mind for creative inspiration. He often bases his “diffuse, asexual” characters on the personalities of people he knows or meets. Always working quickly and rarely using sketches, he works to capture the “aura” and “essence” of a human character before inserting it into the technicoloured world of his imagination.
Miguel’s love of fast-paced processes has had an important influence on the trajectory of his creative journey. Although he studied printmaking at university, and loves making engravings, he doesn't have the “patience” for this laborious medium. He prefers the “faster and more fluid process” of illustrating. When he first started experimenting within the discipline, Miguel stuck to watercolour and ink drawings. But soon he began branching out and decided to bring his little characters to life in the digital realm. With no previous experience, Miguel began teaching himself how to use Paint, Photoshop and Procreate. His lack of experience turned out to be an advantage – allowing him to develop the “ most basic, rustic and direct way” to express his imaginary worlds.
“As for my influences, I feel that one of the most important comes from my father, who is a car painter and when I was a child allowed me to play with the paint gun in his workshop.” Miguel feels a continuity from these childhood days and his current practice: “Nowadays I use the same process, only in digital form.” The airy figures that morph in and out of their surrounding environment seem to recall the powerful puffs of air and paint which filled the car workshop of his youth. In terms of his less technical influences, Miguel looks to the “nostalgic poetry of Chilean poet Jorge Teillier”, and “the psychedelia of Miguel Abuelo” but he’s also admits a love of cheap and cheerful visuals from 80s and 90s candy wrappers, Japanese animations and toys.
Speaking of some of his favourite projects, the illustrator points us to his work with Kaleidoscope Books in China and Bubblegum Vol 2, a book edited by Jumbo Press in Barcelona which combines the contributions of illustrators from around the world. Both of these projects, he feels, played an important role in his career, allowing him to go full time as an illustrator.
This year promises a whole host of exciting projects for Miguel. He will collaborate with Chilean textile designer Fer Perez, produce an animated series with Argentine director Teo Palvi and a book with illustrator Lui Mort. Looking forward to 2023, Miguel wants to go on a “graphic tour” and take his creative practice to Europe.
Miguel Cruz: Subo (Copyright © Miguel Cruz 2021)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.