In the Limelight: Christian D’Cruz views the technological world through visual art

Senior in graphic design Christian D’Cruz has had his work displayed in a solo exhibition at the Iowa State College of Design and is pursuing a full-time career as a visual artist. 

Nyamal Gatluak

“Imposter syndrome is so real,” said Christian D’Cruz, senior in graphic design, while reflecting on his most significant accomplishments as an artist. 

D’Cruz has recently had the honor to showcase his work in a solo exhibition at the Iowa State College of Design. Through his work, he portrays how technology affects people’s perception of themselves and others, featuring his latest projects from 2019 to 2020. It is rare for undergraduates to get opportunities like this, making this one of his greatest accomplishments as an artist.

“When accolades come up, I’m so concentrated on making work and what’s the next project that actually, I have to actively work to sit down and smell the coffee and be like, oh my gosh, I did a thing,” D’Cruz said.

D’Cruz is usually inspired by ideas when creating art. Lately, he has been focusing on world-building concepts, experimentation in his drawings and placing more focus on his characters.

One of the few people that do inspire D’Cruz is Reeps One, a world-renowned artist who specializes in beatboxing. But he also creates visual art and collaborates with prestigious institutions like Harvard University to study the development of the human voice. The versatility and extent of Reeps Ones’ work at such a young age are what inspire D’Cruz. 

“There’s a lot of talk, specifically artistically, about how long things take and what’s possible,” said D’Cruz. “I’m a full-time student that studies graphic design, not fine art. I have a job, and I’m trying to be a professional artist on the side. I respect him because he’s created his own space, and he continues to do that. He’s made it very real to me that I can create the space for my work, and I can create more than what is expected of me.”

D’Cruz has an unconventional art process. Unlike many other artists, D’Cruz starts his artwork with the characters before painting the background. 

His process consists of sketching out the essence of the art piece before placing the characters on a big canvas using a variety of styles, like spray painting, brush painting and hand drawings.

“The characters to me are like the emotional root of the piece, so I do them first, and then I decide how the piece will be constructed around them,” D’Cruz said. “I see them, and I say, what world do these guys belong in?”

D’Cruz’s favorite art piece that he creates is always his newest, the latest being “G00nD0ck Future.”

“G00nD0ck Future” is the highest complexity D’Cruz has ever committed to on a project. Still, the excitement for growth and improvement in skill and technique are what push the artist to take on new challenges like this one continuously.

“I’m not even close to where I want to get with my work, and I hope to try and keep that energy,” D’Cruz said. 

From a young age, D’Cruz knew he wanted to pursue art as a career. But a grant he won during his freshman year at Iowa State gave him the confidence to commit to his dream.

“You have to be able to stomach a ton of rejection,” D’Cruz said. “Being an artist, you get told ‘No’ a million more times than you get told ‘Yes’.”

Looking forward, D’Cruz aims to pursue art as a full-time career and wants to change his community for the better through teaching and creative workshops with the youth. He believes that everyone’s voice is significant and wants people to understand how powerful their voices genuinely are.

“I’m really passionate about encouraging people to share their voice,” D’Cruz said. “Especially now, everyone is so overwhelmed and crowded by the amount of stuff that’s around. Asking yourself, where does me and my perspective and my voice fit in this space? There’s so much out there, why do I matter? Why does what I say matter?” 

The young artist said he firmly believes that “The most powerful act of self-love is daring to show the world your voice,” and D’Cruz continues to embody that through his work.