Pierce I. Cruz is a mixed media artist living and working in Chicago, IL. His work primarily focuses on his explorations and identity in the world around him. Cruz has exhibited in ICONIC: Black Panther, a juried show in Woodstock IL, and the Beverly Art Center. He recently finished an artist residency at the WNDR Museum and is working as the Marketing Assistant for Chicago Children’s Theatre. His studio is located at Art on Sedgwick where he is a teaching artist and resident artist at Marshall Field Gardens Community Center.
am i? I AM.
2018-ongoing | Oil & mixed media on canvas | 11″ x 14″
Self-Portraits that explore my identity under the influences of various factors including media stereotypes and personal situations.
A selection of these self-portraits were exhibited at ICONIC: Black Panther. Since 2016, ICONIC: Black Panther has been celebrating the legacy of the Black Panther Party in American history, interpreted through pop up group shows featuring emerging and legendary artists alike. In recognition of one of the most influential political movements in the past century, this exhibition was planned in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s Illinois chapter.
Black Like Us
Collaborative Portrait Series
2019-ongoing | Marker and White-Out on Linen Paper | 26″ x 40″
Black like Us is a portrait series of children from Marshall Field Garden Apartments, who in turn participated in coloring the vibrant street-art like vistas in the background of each portrait.
Inspired by the poem “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes. As an artist-in-residence at Art on Sedgwick, I wanted to celebrate the unique identity of the children at the Marshall Field Garden Apartment Homes. Neighbors of the community, including local children assisted in the pattern and colors provided in the background. These patterns connect with each other in an infinite loop to emphasize “We’re here, we matter”.
Langston Hughes – 1902-1967
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me—
That is my dream!
To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.
The Golden Child (2019)
In response to the parental pressures of being an honor student and subsequent depression, this pin serves as a symbol of my self-authentication-only I can influence my worth. My signature beanie also serves a historical context to the Phrygian hat, which was seen as a symbol of liberty during the French Revolution. They cost $15 but if you can’t afford it, pay what you can in the midst of Covid-19. Contact Pierce for info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pierce Cruz at Lookingglass Theatre
Pierce Cruz’s Work “Black Like Us” at Lookingglass Theatre & Pierce Cruz with playwright J. Nichole Brooks.
Lookingglass Theatre Company exhibited a collection of Pierce’s portraits during their latest production, Her Honor Jane Byrne, which takes place in 1981 in our neighborhood and shines a spotlight on three weeks in the lives of Jane Byrne (Chicago’s first woman Mayor) and residents of the Cabrini-Green housing project. Black Like Us was featured as a connection to the current community. Before the play was closed due to COVID-19, audience members were able to see Cruz’s portraits of children living in Marshall Field Garden Apartments now next to historic pictures of the era depicted in the play. Marshall Field Garden Apartment Homes, where the Art on Sedgwick studio is located, is a few blocks from Cabrini-Green and is mentioned in the play.
Art + Impact Teens go to Lookingglass
We’re so thankful that Lookingglass Theatre Company made it possible for the teens in our Art + Impact program and many community members to see the play during the few days it was open. We’re also grateful for the time invested by several of their artists — Andy White, J Nicole Brooks, and Osiris Khepera — leading workshops with the teens. We miss you all!
Lookingglass Theatre Company’s New Podcast
A playwright, an activist, and a non-profit leader walk into The Infinite Room and talk about the intersection of art, politics, and the way radical imagination can lead to real change.