Spotlight on Irene Cruz

Starting this December, Artconnect is launching it’s new online shop, with artworks created exclusively for us from some of our favourite artists of the network. Our first artist has been Irene Cruz, a Spanish photographer who moved to Berlin looking for the light she almost never found in sunny Spain.

She creates mysterious and intimate artworks generally with one or two people posing or dancing naked in the middle of the woods. We immediately fell in love with those delicate and poetic pictures and we asked her to collaborate with us. She was in within a second! Everything was organized quickly and spontaneously and we found ourselves suddenly at 9 AM in the morning of a cold November in one of her photoshoots, documenting it.

If you had been there while shooting this piece, you would give it a thousand times more value than you would just by looking at the image. Not that I want to undervalue the artwork itself, but it’s just that the experience behind it is fascinating.

Irene is a charming and warmhearted person. Although she runs away from the sun from Spain, she brings the sun from Spain inside of her. Working with her is easy and the ambience is relaxed and natural. Somehow I guess, it wouldn’t be possible to create such artworks if she wasn’t like that. People need to feel cozy, comfortable and natural around her – after all, they are about to get naked in front of her (or with her!) in the middle of the forest at very low temperatures to be portrayed.

Laura is being today Irene’s muse. Laura García Aguilera is a dancer from Malaga, she came to Berlin to find more projects and to expand her portfolio. She met Irene and loved her work and Irene loved her back. By documenting the production of this artwork, I am somehow being let in a very intimate moment between them.

Early in the morning at 4ºC and light showers we start preparing the flowers in Treptower Park by a lake. We have to carefully select them and sew a white string through them. It’s a beautiful landscape, and for a second we forget that there is a path with moms strolling their babies in their prams and dogs being walked by their owners. We almost feel lost in the middle of a forest. It’s calm and quiet. It’s the perfect moment to start asking Irene questions about her work and get deeply involved in the mood to document the process from the heart.

Nature seems like nature takes over in your work…

Nature is the system where we can encompass everything that exists, with my art I try to encourage people to remember where they really come from, what they are really made of, outside of the society establishments.

In your artworks there is never good weather. If you still lived in Spain, would you be able to create such artworks?

Yes, but not in Madrid city centre where I used to live. Normally I was always going to the Mountains in Northern Madrid (Guadarrama, Soto del Real…) and also San Rafael in Segovia, where my best friend and one of my muses, Sara, has a lovely house.

You get very close to your models… how do you choose them?

In the beginning, I was only doing self-portraits, but with Blumen series, in 2013 I started to work with my most beloved friends, dressing my own clothes, hiding their faces and their identities in order to become genuine photographic vital doubles. So around 99% of the times people that are an important part of my life. It’s easier for me to create a connection with them.

You’ve been here for a while already… how has Berlin influenced your artwork?

Berlin gave me the strength to continue with this hard career, has given me the opportunity of survive, and also its wonderful light, its wonderful wilderness (very close to the actual city). Also, finding people that has a sensibility for arts.

There is a lot of nudity in your pictures… why is that?

Because I am talking about nature. I want people to feel comfortable with their own naked bodies, the real “us” is that, and not the clothing or disguises that we use to cover up what we don’t feel good about, what we’ve been told is not ok, what we truly are.

What has influenced you the most in your work?

Countries like Sweden or Berlin, the blue light, yearning of knowledge, cinema, philosophy, literature…I am always influenced by the things I do, the things I see, I don’t always know where my inspiration comes from. But I can say that all my works are continuous life learnings. And my projects have fed themselves one from each other all along my career.

What do you want to say to those who want to buy your artworks ?

For me, buying art is an act of love, a gift for life, the ownership of something unique and special

Every time that I can, I also like to collect, since buying artworks you’re not only purchasing something material and tangible, you’re also contributing to the artist, to their ideas and philosophy, and lending them a helping hand in this incredibly rough career path we’ve chosen, thus indicating that you’re interested in their work and career and furthermore, expressing your admiration. Buying art always goes beyond the fact of owning “something pretty” hanging in the living room. And… we all have bills to pay, mind you :)

It’s been an hour and we are about to finish the shooting. Laura has turned off her mind and the cold had disappeared, but now that she knows it’s over, she feels like she is turning into a block of ice and needs to get warm immediately. I run towards Laura’s clothes and I get them all out of the bag. Laura and Irene run towards me and we start ripping the flowers off her skin.

It was an amazing experience and from Artconnect we hope that you can take a piece of this wonderful moments home through Irene’s artworks.

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