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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Nick Cruz Velleman

Biography

Nick Cruz VellemanNick Cruz Velleman is an American artist of Peruvian/Filipino descent born and raised in Washington, D.C. While living there he taught in the studio art department at Georgetown Day School, worked as a manager and director for the 9:30 Club, and performed locally and regionally as a musician with various groups. He has also spent much of his life in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he studied painting and drawing on-and-off since 2009, and earned his M.F.A. degree from the Marchutz School of Fine Arts in 2020.

Nick aspires to a career of teaching art, creativity, and the mental health benefits that come with it...while traveling the world and painting, of course.

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Artist Statement

I paint and draw what I see in the world - landscapes, skyscapes, architecture, still lives, people - and prioritize process over product. I approach my work with a mindset that is open to the experience of creating without intention or agenda. I balance my attention on the razor's edge of where the outside world ends and my inner self begins, the moment when stimulus turns into sensation. The art that results is energetic, raw, immediate, and sometimes chaotic. It is simultaneously a rendering of my subject and a reflection of my inner state which yields greater awareness about myself as an individual and life as a whole. My work comes from this frontier of sight and insight.

My art draws inspiration from the drama and scale of late-19th c. Romantic-era landscape painters, and the bold, emotive brushwork of an abstract expressionist, as well as my time spent studying painting in the south of France.