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.

Website: camilocruzphoto.com

Biography

Select Solo Exhibitions from 2009-2013

2012
Judicial Insights, Spare Change Artist Space, San Francisco, CA.

2010
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.

2009
Dept. 77, A Crossroads of Consciousness, Public Art Project at Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Los Angeles, CA.

Select Group Exhibitions from 2009-2013

2013
Signature Works: 25th Anniversary Gifts to the Permanent Collection, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL.

2012
Random Acts of Time, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA.

2010
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.

2009
College Art Association Annual Conference, MFA Exhibition, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Fellowships and Awards

2012
Recipient. Visual, Craft, and Literary Arts – Investing in Artists, Artistic Innovation Grant ($5000), Center for Cultural Innovation.

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

2009
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.

EDUCATION

2008
M.F.A., California State University, Long Beach, CA

1998
M.A., Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

1996
B.A., San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA