Harlem native Adriene Cruz was deeply inspired by her mothers creative use of color and the rich cultural influencesof her childhood community.
After attending the High School of Art and Design, Adrienereceived a BFA from the School of Visual Art in NewYork. Though a sculpture major she found herself steadily less interested in wood and stoneand increasingly drawn to the beauty her mother created manipulating colorful threads . Graduallycrochet, became a recurring element in her work. The first seventeen years of her career Adriene created as a tapestry crochet artist. Sculpture gave way towearable art.
Adriene relocated to Portland, Oregon, where she explored a quilting course at the Oregon School of Art and Craftin 1991 . Whatemerged were brilliantly colored and adorned quilts, large and small, piecing together richly patterned materials in rhythmic arrangements, stately as well as exuberant, structured as well as improvisational, deeply moving on a spiritual level and simply enjoyable for their sheer beauty.
Fabric, cowrie shells, mirrors, sequins, beads , tribal silver, even beetle wings and fragrant herbsare among the endless adornments and amuletsin Adriene's artistic alchemy. All are used to collage, stitch, quilt, appliqué colorfultalismansemphasizing the spiritual content ofherwork.
In addition to her fabric artAdriene's gift forcolor and design, inspired artist Valerie Otani to invite Adriene to design one ofPortland'sLight rail stations. The artists collaborated creating colorful glass mosaic with accentsof handmade tiles , cast-concrete benches reflecting Ashanti cultureand "stone quilts" in the paving design adorn the station platform. Killingsworth Station thehardscape design for Portland State University's Walk of the Heroine's , andmural work throughout the community, mark Adriene as a rich part of Portland’s Public Art legacy.
"The art I create fulfills a powerful desire to express visually what's not easily spoken, a passion for color, a love of symbols, and a deep interest in matters of the Spirit. Gifts of my ancestors, angels, and spirit guides celebrating the power of art beyond visual image flows through me as a celebration of survival. Ancestral roots real and imagined offer a base to channel elements of healing and blessings. "
Adriene has exhibted internationally in Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa. Nationally including the Smithsonian in D.C. the Folk Art Museum, American Craft Museum and Museum of Biblical Art, New York. The Museum of theAfrican Diaspora, San Francisco and theFowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA.