Component Exploration: M.C. Cruz’s Art
A Series of Paintings by M.C. Cruz
M.C. Cruz (they/them) – Artist’s Statement and Reflections
M.C Cruz is a child of Chilean immigrants. Born, raised and currently based in Toronto, they also lived two years in Chile and more recently completed an Artist Residency in Morocco and Spain. They attended Etobicoke School of Arts and majored in Visual Arts before moving to Vancouver to study film and video production at Capilano University. They facilitated filmmaking workshops for marginalized communities as part of Fright Film Academy and Fright Film School. They have written, directed and produced several live action and animated short films including “Vampyric PSA”, “La Llorona” and “Root Causes”. The animated film “Root Causes” screened at OCAD in a special preview and Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival with an invitation to join a filmmakers panel.
Honestly, I don’t know how to do art directly about those [mental health] experiences without it being tremendously fucked, very dark. I did an animated short film, and it was about that, but it was very dark. I don’t know how to do something that will be softer. I don’t know how I would do that. Or like how to make it into some kind of metaphoric thing because I’ve seen people that have done paintings and they’re about mental health, but they do stuff that is very like it’s a metaphor. Maybe they didn’t have a very heavy dark experience so maybe it’s easier for them to come up with a nice image, a nice metaphor, but it’s hard for me to do that because it just felt so fucked and it still does. I don’t know how to do that part of making it about mental health and making it an image that is appealing, and people can understand, but it’s not too dark it’s like. I don’t know how to do that. I’ve seen that on Instagram. I’ve seen people do that but, like for me it’s not it’s not what I do. It’s too intense. If I try to do something about that whole experience, it’s too much. I can’t do it.
I’m going to do this painting that’s about what’s going on in Chile right now with a massive protest and there’s a lot of human rights abuses, people getting shot in the eye by the police. So I’m going to be doing some painting about that because I feel like it needs to be talked about more I feel people are not aware of what’s going on over there. I’m gonna be doing something about that for sure. I don’t want to do anything else, right now, in terms of painting. In other areas like writing I’m doing other things, but with painting, I want to do that.
I think the Chilean Government knows this because it’s something that they’ve done over and over. When the dictatorship of Pinochet was going on, they tortured people physically, but they knew that they were fucking with people’s minds and they knew the type of torture, that they did was affecting people mentally as well as physically, they knew that. It’s something that they are experts in. They tried to destroy the person’s body and the mind; they know how to do that.
I do understand that this violence is wrong and I’m going to talk about it, and even if people don’t want to hear it I’m still going to talk about it. Because it’s just so immoral and unfair and unjust. It’s not something that I’m going to ignore and I’m not going to just put on a happy face and just pretend that it’s not happening when it is. I know that other people are not like that, and that they can sweep things under the rug, but I am not like that.
I don’t like the man-made landscape so much; I want to keep painting natural landscapes. I think it makes sense because the land it’s always there, it’s always been there and it’s a silent witness to everything. It witnesses the beginning of time, it witnesses humans arriving at witnesses, the Spanish arriving it witnesses everything, everything so. I think it makes sense they say things like water has memory and it makes sense. I can see that so yeah, especially in Chile, I feel that way more in Chile than in Canada, because Canada is not my real homeland. In Chile, I feel like I understand the history of that land and I get a certain feeling from the land over there, like it doesn’t happen here. I think Canada is very beautiful, but I don’t feel the way I feel in Chile. So it’s also showing that for me there’s that special connection in Chile with that land.
I mean it always is because it’s my painting, it’s my hands that are doing it, so it’s going to be my experience, it’s my views. If anyone else, did it they wouldn’t be the same. It’s always going to be like that. There’s no way that you can make art detached from yourself. I think that’s impossible. There’s no way of doing that even if you’re doing something about a general issue, it’s still going to be from your point of view and it’s still going to be your perspective. I think that there’s no way around it, you have to put yourself into the painting anyway.
It’s everything. It’s even like the brush stroke. It’s like everything, every single thing. Every year color that you use, every paint that you use. Everything. I made the choices, no one else did, there was no one else in the room, making the choices. I decided what brush to use, I decided what brush stroke to use and what paint use. It’s all it’s all me from the idea of it, the concept, to like the actual technical stuff that’s all me. It doesn’t matter what part of it. You’re transferring part of your soul into a canvas that’s what you’re doing. Or when you’re drawing you’re just like transferring a part of your soul onto a paper piece of paper and pen. And the way that you move the pen that’s you, that’s how it is, it’s like you’re directly transferring a part of yourself.
The thing that I want most from the artwork is that I want people to get some empathy. To try to understand what it’s like to be this person. I want at least that. I know it’s very fucking hard, I know that some people don’t have empathy. But I’m trying to do that with my art. If it works, I don’t know. But I’m hoping it does a little bit, I know that not everyone is going to be that way. I know not everyone is going to suddenly get a heart and get a conscience. But I hope that some people will be moved, and they’ll understand and they’ll be like “Yeah this is messed up and we need to treat each other better, and we need to have a better society”. I know it’s not going to be every person that sees my art is going to be like that. But it’s what I’m hoping for.
With anything that I paint I want people to reflect and to question and to think. Yeah anything that I do is going to be like that, in any type of painting that I’ve done. I usually don’t paint things that are so light. Pretty much anything that I’ve painted it’s for reflection.