Humberto Cruz on defining artistic success and building a personal brand
Even if you don’t immediately recognize Humberto Cruz’s name, chances are you’ll recognize his work via his studio name, I Scream Colour. Through hard work, dedication and posting consistently amazing work, Humberto has amassed 148,000 followers on Instagram. And it’s easy to see why. Her uplifting and colorful work is a joy to behold, and her unique pop culture-inspired style springs from your stream.
Yet even for artists like Humberto, the road to success can be long and convoluted, especially when you pause to reflect on what success looks like as an artist. All of this and more was covered in a recent interview with Everpress, where Humberto talks about his career so far.
Why Everpress? Well, in 2020 Humberto started selling T-shirts printed with his designs on the site. Thanks to the huge success of his designs, Humberto started designing full-time and said goodbye to the grocery store job he had worked in since college. To celebrate having helped make Everpress the platform it is today. The site decided to sit down with some of its leading artists to hear their stories.
After studying graphic design at the University of San Diego in 2007, Humberto told Everpress that graduating in a recession made it difficult to find full-time work as a creative. Freelancing was certainly welcome, but to make ends meet he continued to work the same grocery store job he had since high school.
Like many artists at this point in his career, Humberto began to doubt himself. However, when social media came along, he realized it was a new opportunity to help him become an artist. “I started posting daily on Instagram and built a following. I’ve been doing this for 10 or 11 years, and it’s fun!”
Inspired by the work of Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama and Andy Warhol, Humberto’s art is an evolution of the doodles he drew as a child. Freed from the worry of making a mistake, his art gained in style and confidence. Having once been preoccupied with celebrities and pop culture in general, he now wants to focus on creating art with a message people can relate to.
One of those messages seems to be unbridled positivity. It manifests itself through a palette of bright and positive colors. However, it’s surprising to hear that he emerged from a place of anxiety, with Humberto unhappy with what he was creating. To combat this, he started making art every day.
“Being creative every day has become a habit for me because it has helped me deal with my anxiety,” he says. “When I had my full-time job at a grocery store and was doing my freelance work on the side, it was too much work for me. I went to therapy, but I just felt like it wasn’t working. didn’t work. So I started drawing more, which helped me focus on the positive side of life.
“Creating new art every day keeps me inspired. It’s like therapy, in a way. It makes me happy.”
Steady production, a positive attitude and an ever-changing style helped Humberto build his brand and achieve huge success…but does that mean he feels successful? The concept of success can be difficult to grasp and define for artists at every stage of their career, so what does it look like for Humberto?
“I was thinking about this a lot,” he told Everpress. “I feel like as an artist, you never feel successful, and it’s hard to describe success. Because we’re always creating. And we’re trying to evolve into more artists. I believe that an artist can be successful without satisfying others’ expectations.Success for an artist can be simply about showing their work to the world, being seen or heard.
It is a lofty vision that many artists will surely take to heart. However, that’s not all. Humberto also encourages artists not to listen to their teachers and to fuel their inspiration by practicing their craft on a daily basis.
“Draw what you want to draw, don’t listen to others and be yourself,” he adds. “I don’t like planning what I’m going to draw. I just like drawing how I feel right now, and I don’t care if I make mistakes.”