Not long ago, artist Aaron De La Cruz was faced with an ultimatum: take on more work in the education sector to support his growing family or throw caution to the wind and fully pursue his art. Luckily—for the world’s sake—he chose the latter. Raised in Fresno, California, De La Cruz loved art from an early age, even before getting into graffiti at the behest of his older brother. He eventually went on to study at California College of the Arts before transitioning into an art education job in Oakland—but all the while, the philosophy and composition of graffiti stuck with him. Now De La Cruz’s intricate, maze-like, typography-based artwork is known the world over, adorning countless clothing brands like Nike and large-scale murals, such as at MACLA or his largest at Eastridge Center in San Jose. As his acclaim grows, De La Cruz is focusing on bringing his trademark style into physical form through sculpture. He will also be exhibiting at the upcoming POW! WOW! San Jose arts festival.
“My work is about organization. I feel like I’m organizing all these shapes into a coherent piece or making sure it has a really nice composition. All my pieces start with the question ‘How can I create some type of visual element that still carries the same type of effort and style as a tag, one black mark on a surface, but gets to a point that it would resonate in a larger way?’ ”
Written by Tad Malone
Photography by Alex Knowbody
This article originally appeared in Issue 9.5 “Profiles”