Camilo Cruz

Camilo CruzArtist’s Statement

In writing about the prison system, French philosopher Michel Foucault says that the human body is directly involved in a political field and that power relations have an immediate hold upon us. Power marks the body, “trains it, tortures it, forces it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, and to emit signs.”

As an administrator within the largest court system in the nation, I witness scenes that testify to the role of institutional power upon the ‘consumer’ of justice. As a visual artist, I explore these dynamics through photography.

I have worked in several government environments while acquiring my fine arts education. As I evolved into a full-time artist and public administrator, and as I witnessed the machinations of government, I have been compelled to create visual art about humanity and its survival inside institutions.

After normal business hours, with court approval, my place of employment transforms into my ‘studio’ as I recreate and photograph scenes I witness during regular hours. I also photograph judges, attorneys, litigants, law enforcement and the incarcerated. My photography seeks to expose the profound role institutions have in governing our souls, our hidden truths, and ultimately our places in American society.



Select Solo Exhibitions from 2009-2013

Judicial Insights, Spare Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA.

Inside White Space: Portraits of Black and Brown Power in the Institution, Museum of African American Art, Los Angeles, CA.
Theater of Souls, Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA.

Dept. 77, A Crossroads of Consciousness, Public Art Project at Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Los Angeles, CA.

Select Group Exhibitions from 2009-2013

Signature Works: 25th Anniversary Gifts to the Permanent Collection, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL.

Random Acts of Time, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA.

Border Art Biennial 2010/Bienal Fronteriza de Arte 2010, El Paso Museum of Art. El Paso, TX. Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

College Art Association Annual Conference, MFA Exhibition, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Fellowships and Awards

Recipient. Visual, Craft, and Literary Arts – Investing in Artists, Artistic Innovation Grant ($5000), Center for Cultural Innovation.

Honorable Mention. SCORE VIII, 2010 Southern California Regional Exhibition, Valley Institute of Visual Art.

First Place. College Art Association MFA exhibition at University of Southern California juried by Karin Higa (Curator, Japanese American Museum), Rita Gonzalez (Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, LACMA), and Kimberli Meyer (Director, MAK Center).
Award for Distinction in Creativity (Commencement Award), College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach.


M.F.A., California State University, Long Beach, CA

M.A., Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

B.A., San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA