5 Mins, Artist 4 years ago

Joe Cruz on going with your gut.

Every now and then, a creator comes into our lives that picks up the same tools we’ve all touched, and the results are completely unique.

To quote Joe, his craft led work

“employs hands on methods and low-tech materials, it mostly revolves around appropriation, mark making and colour.”

and the strongest themes running through his work are

“sexuality, gender and beauty.”

Joe Cruz Craft Illustration Crazy Animal Face

Joe Cruz – Pastel Portrait

With a client list that includes Adidas, Warner Music, Stussy and Red Bull. There is no question Joe’s craft led creations communicate on a commercial level. Joe is also a regular with his gallery shows. Listing Mother London, Somerset House and The Royal College of Art as homes for his exhibitions in the last 6 years.

We managed to catch Joe to have a quick chat and see what makes him tick, here’s what he said:

Could you give us 3 tips that you’d say have got you to where you are today?

ABe motivated, determined and believe in your work.

Joe Cruz Craft Illustration Crazy Animal Face

Joe Cruz – 2016

Why illustration? is it best suited to you as an art form? What excites you about it?

I would not necessarily say it’s what I am best suited too. As a creative. I want to expand and do different things with my work.

Give us an idea of your average day, how you work and how do you get your creative ideas done?

An average day would be to get up, tea and breakfast. After that, I go to the studio for around 9-10am.

I try to dive in first thing in the morning, especially if I am working on a craft client project. I am usually fresher and more motivated.

Then lunch, which I always enjoy, I love my food and usually make myself something or go out to eat.

Meal deals do not do it for me.

After lunch I try to find some time for my own personal craft projects, this may be researching, drawing, playing with concepts and techniques.

I exercise 3-4 evenings a week, this is a real outlet, as after being on my computer knees deep in a project. It is a great way to take your mind away from it all. Then in the evening when I go back to look at the work I have more clarity.

Joe Cruz Craft Illustration Crazy Animal Face

Joe Cruz – 2015

How do you attract new work?

I feel doing my own work and trying new things is very important. Ultimately, I do not want to be too comfortable with my commercial projects. Therefore I make sure to continue to push my work.

Using social media platforms to showcase your ongoing work is such a powerful tool.

They a fantastic way to attract new craft work. Try to get seen on the right websites, and be proactive with people you want to work with.

Joe Cruz Craft Illustration Crazy Animal Face

Joe’s Instagram

Can you talk us through the process of how you get inspiration and how you form new ideas?

I get my inspiration from galleries. Going to a show, getting lots of books from the library. Trying to find something I never heard and get a new insight/direction.

As a result, I get that agitated feeling where I need to go back to the studio and start exploring these influences.

How long would you say you’ve been a craft based creative? and would you say it’s your career?

In essence, I would say I have been a creative ever since I left university in 2010. It is only the last couple of years or so that it has been my career.

Joe Cruz Craft Illustration Crazy Animal Face

Joe Cruz – Blister Submission 2014

What’s the best advice would you give to someone starting out?

Be independent with your ideas.

Also, do not follow trends because you think you will get work.

Go with your gut, do what you want to do!


Check out more of Joe's work on his site



I'm co-founder of Crazy Animal Face, host of the CAF Podcast, and compere of our CAF events. My views are my own.

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