I am very excited to introduce to our newest guest instructor here at Alla Prima – Mercedes Rae Cruz! Mercedes is a lifelong friend and has been in and around Alla Prima since its humble beginning, so sitting down with her to talk about art was an absolute treat.
Mercedes was borned and raised here in New Braunfels. After graduating from high school two years early, she moved to Chicago and enrolled in college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio degree. After a brief stint in the corporate world at Kendra Scott, Mercedes decided to bring her craft and passion back to her hometown of New Braunfels and opened her business, Native Knots. Through her business, Mercedes combines her personal artistic style with her family’s Native-American traditions.
Here are some of the highlights from my interview with very talented local artist:
When do you first remember making art?
When I was seven, I remember being in my grandparents garage with my easel set up, and I had every chalk and paper. They really gave me the tools to make any art I wanted, but I was much more interested in the drums and dream catchers that they were made. I really enjoyed learning about the culture and traditions – the roots – of my family through art.
What is your favorite art medium and why?
Archival ink – I like how raw and permanent it is. It really forces you to commit versus painting where you can easily fix or rework any mistakes.
Who is your favorite artist?
Joey Lawrence. I studied him when I was focusing on photography in school and was drawn to his work when I began to study and draw the human form. He did a series of portraits where all the subjects were homeless people… it was amazing. He travels to every corner of the world to highlight human diversity and I really enjoy that… it’s beautiful.
What has been your best art viewing experience?
Definitely going to the Seattle Art Museum with you. We we rushing around trying to catch every exhibit before it closed and then we got to see Eric Fischl’s work. Seeing his paintings in person completely caught me off guard. I had studied his work in school, but seeing the size of them in person was jarring and incredible.
Desert island. One art medium. What do you have?
If I could have the whole set up… Clay because it is the most diverse! I could make myself containers and utensils to use, plus entertainment! I think that firings pieces would give me a sense of time and help make me stay sane.
Any parting words about art in general?
How I feel about art now, may not be how I feel about it in a year. There is so much growth and change with art and artists. If you like an artist, keep watching their work. Watch and see that change and evolution, it’s amazing.
And there you have it. Mercedes Rae, folks! If you would like more information about her work, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also catch her at Art Haus at the Pour Haus and many other events in and around the area.