Student Profile: Adriana Torres Cruz
Adriana Torres Cruz is an MFA student in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Adriana Torres Cruz is a Puerto Rican artist who received their BFA in Printmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2018. After graduating, they returned to Puerto Rico where they worked as a freelance illustrator and as a studio assistant for a local printmaker. In the artist’s studio, Adriana worked as a printer for other artists and as an assistant/collaborator for extensive projects, such as the 2020 SGCI Conference “Puertográfico,” and “El Portalito,” a permanent collaborative installation located at El Yunque National Rainforest’s Visitor Center. In 2021, Adriana moved to Virginia, where they kept developing their own work and became an artist in residence at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. In addition to pursuing their graduate degree, Adriana works with the UT Office of Information Technology Support Services while also continuing to work on freelance design projects, such as upcoming exhibitions about Puerto Rico by the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
My subject matter combines my interest in Puerto Rican fauna and flora, personal analysis and the human condition. Through imagery of native plants, and the internal dialogue of the extirpated white-necked crow, I process my own experience with familiarity, defense mechanism, and my place in this world. The Puerto Rican landscape is my homeland, but just like the crow, I struggle to keep up with the changing environment and new demands required to survive. This endangered species suffers from diminishing habitat, displacement, and cultural/religious stigma; a reality that mirrors what many experience within their current cultural and sociopolitical environment.
Visually, my work is influenced by John James Audubon’s scientific illustrations, Ukiyo-e flora and fauna woodcuts, and Puerto Rican artist such as Francisco Rodón and Rafael Tufiño. I pursue both printmaking and painting, which feeds my interest of blending the visual language of both mediums to further explore the use of materials.