Tai Cruz is one of our newer artists in the Risen family. She doesn't say much, but when she does everyone is all ears. She is someone that should not ever be looked over, despite her efforts to stay hidden. I still remember going through Risen Recruits submissions for new members with Priscila on Facetime and opening her submission. My jaw dropped and I went "Oh shit, wait when did we open this?". Pris goes, "I don't know, I don't think we did?" and I frown and mumble, "Yeah cause there's no way I would've forgotten about opening this Pris," 'Til this day, Tai's opened email remains a Risen Mystery but one thing that isn't questioned is Tai's talent. 

Tai's art heavily portrays feminism and "a surreal feeling with my work that does not have an accurate depiction of what it is suppose to look like". She has never been a fan of "trying to proportionate how the body or face looked correctly" since doing quick strokes was always her favorite technique. It's a delight to get a glimpse of the inner workings of this little genius' mind.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from artist all around me, from instagram to tumblr. I particularly love the work of Rupi Kaur and Petra Collins because they truly represent feminism through their art in such a raw and provocative way that really makes you really think deeply on the issues surrounding women today. Frida Kahlo is also an inspiration to me, due to the fact that she was a women of color who lived in constant self-expression.  
When and how did you first start art?
I started art at a young age when my mom encouraged me to do small sketches in my notebook that she gave me. No matter where I went, from traveling on the subway going home, to a field trip to the Museum of Natural history, my mom always encourages me to sketch out my surroundings.  

What do you want to say to young artists out there who are still trying to find themselves? 
Draw all the time. Keep sketchbooks with you no matter where you go. It's important to let your creative ideas out, and drawing in a sketchbook makes it feel more free. There is a lot less pressure to make it look exactly how you would want it to be. You don't need to be enrolled in an art class to become a proper artist. Yes, paying about $500 for an art class is nice to get the technical skills, but be your own teacher. Find your own skill and a voice that is your own.

What's your favorite 90's movie? 
I can't choose between Scream and Dazed and Confused! Scream is a very pop horror movie that was captured so well by Wes Craven. It has many significant scenes that are remembered by a majority of people today. Dazed and Confused is a movie that makes teenagers want to live in that decade. It takes place at a classic high school in the suburbs as the characters all deal with the last day of school before summer vacation starts. It makes you feel very nostalgic even if you were not born in that time period!

What do you want to be when you're older?
I want to do something along the lines of computer science. I enjoy coding and I want to be able to combine my passion for art along with computer science. Hopefully be able to find a creative computer science job that allows me to combine both of my interest. Definitely would like to work at a business Tumblr, Pixar, or Google.

 Purple and Blue Make the Perfect Two
This stitch-work piece depicts a set of breasts was made to emphasize the important fact that breasts come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Society teaches us that there are a perfect set of breasts to make a woman beautiful and acceptable, but this artwork demonstrates that this is not true.

 Surrealistic Girl
I used acrylic on canvas and just made quick brushstrokes. I like how the cool colors combine with one another to create this girl who seems to have a lot on her mind.

This was the only self-portrait I have ever enjoyed doing. It was something quick in my sketchboook and I just appreciate the style of making it somewhat cartoony and fun.

 This is mixed media with a combination of a drawing I did, inspired by my friend Sophia. Then, I photoshopped it on a picture to give the drawing a setting.

Follow Tai on instagram for more of her amazing art: @virutaltai