Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Jeniffer Rivera Cruz

With the internet being so easy to access, it has become easier for independent artists to find an audience and let their work be known. As a result, a variety of movements, collectives, and scenes have found a way to pave their path. The independent art scene in Puerto Rico is no different. Recently, many artists from a variety of disciplines have found platforms that have made it easier for them to share their work. In addition, small businesses such as Electroshock in Santurce and Rio Piedras, bars like Off The Wall in Mayaguez, book stores like La Casita Books and Gifts in Aguadilla, Libros AC in Santurce and Libros 787 online, and independent festivals like Feria de Libros Independientes y Alternativos and Tintero: Festival de Cómics y Arte Independiente de Puerto Rico have provided up-and-coming artists a space to display their talents. “Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene” is a series of  interviews that provides a glimpse at some of the women who have recently gained recognition in the art scene. Though the artists are asked similar questions, some are asked queries surrounding their work, specifically.

Jeniffer Rivera Cruz is an art director and graphic designer.

What got you into the visual arts?

My interest in art began since I was little. I took art classes and continued to practice with different mediums through the years. Then I studied architecture at the UPR of Rio Piedras, where I took an introductory class of graphic design which sparked my interest in graphic design and illustrations.

How did you develop your style?

By practicing and trying different styles. At the beginning, trial and error was and still is the best way for me to develop and improve my skill. However, I think my style is still in process every day.

How has it evolved through the years?

Well it went from painting landscapes, to illustration and interpreting architecture to just illustrating my daily life or situations.

What are some of your influences and inspirations?

I find inspiration in daily life and common situations. My influences are old artists like Dali, Matisse and Hockney and other contemporary artists like Inès Longevial and Isabel Castillo.

Is there any other form of art you wish to pursue? If so, what field and why?

I’m always open to learn new things, so if there is the opportunity to make other forms of art I would go with animation. I love the process involved in it; creating storyboard, colors, movement and the creation of each frame.

What do you think about the current state of the arts in Puerto Rico?

Although we are going through a social and economical crisis in our island, I think art is still thriving. There are different artists creating and producing all types of art every day; some maybe do it to express their opinion with the current situation in Puerto Rico or to showcase their ideas or feeling.

What do you think about the current state of the independent scene in Puerto Rico?

Well I’m seeing it really thriving and people are creating opportunities to showcase the local talent. I think after the hurricane different artists started to have a louder voice through their art and some people got to see it. I know there are new opportunities for local talent to create and the best part is that the independent scene support each other’s works.

If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to be an artist, what would be your advice for her?

Go for it! It's a really competitive field, but there is always the space for new talent and ideas and the best way to achieve it is by practicing. Creating something whether you like the final product or not, is all a process of trial and error.

What is your biggest goal right now?

My biggest goal is to do a master in design, but right now I would like to dedicate more time to my illustrations and finish my web page.

What do you seek to achieve with work?

Through my work, I look to express my ideas or emotions. Some people may connect or like what trying to express, but after all I just like to create and challenge myself with every work.


All of the pictures in this article were provided by Jeniffer Rivera Cruz