Sofia Cruz - otherwise known as KRUS - is a Portuguese artist living and working in Lisbon. Our co-founder, Pedro, met her at Waking Life festival last summer and they became friends. It was out of that friendship that the idea for this collaboration was born. Sofia painted 20 of our premium Tencel shirts to create a limited edition collection and our first artist collaboration.
What city, time, and date were you born?
I was born in Lisbon on the 9th of November in 1989.
Tell us a little bit about your early life. What was Sofia like as a child?
I grew up in the center of Lisbon, on Avenida de Roma. I have always lived with my parents and my two brothers, both boys. We had a garden and ended up spending a lot of time outdoors climbing trees and thinking of things to do outside. I think growing up like this really influenced my adventurous and resourceful personality.
When did you know that you would grow up to become an artist?
I believe it was when I decided to pursue studying arts in high school. I was always imagining what I could create next, and this turned into a gradual need to dedicate my time 100% to painting. I think the process of creating was very much associated with my happiness.
We’re very interested in how mentors guide people on their paths. Is there anyone in your life - a friend, family member, teacher - that really influenced you and shaped your journey to become the artist you are today? Tell us about them.
My parents were always my mentors, they always advised me. They were very sensitive to art and ended up instilling that taste in me. They always bought art, sculptures, took us for walks in the Gulbenkian gardens and taught me to be attentive to the art surrounding me in whatever space I was. As they knew that I knew how to draw and paint, they ended up encouraging me to do more and more.
Do you feel there was a specific moment in your career that really propelled you on your path?
My mother became ill and one day, and at the time I was working a “regular” office job. There was a day where I was unable to leave work in time for visiting hours, so I missed seeing her that day. That episode really made me feel like I had not made the right choice and that I was not dedicating myself professionally to what I truly wanted. It was at that moment that I felt I had to take the risk to try to do what I really liked.
How do you generally describe your body of work?
I would describe my work as existing between portraits, human figures, nature and experimentation.
What is something people usually misunderstand about you?
Nothing, I guess. Art leads people to have their own way of interpretation.
How would you describe your personal fashion style? How do you like clothes to make you feel?
Always relaxed, practical and comfortable. Versatile clothes.
We saw you listening to music on wireless headphones while you were painting a mural. Is music an important part of your process?
It's essential. It is often what helps me to start painting.
What are 5 albums you think everyone should listen to?
1- The Universe That Smiles Upon You - Kruangbin
2 - Any live performance by Mayra Andrade
3 - Room 25 - noname
4 - Mac miller - NPR Tiny Desk Concert
5 - Beautiful Human - Jill Scott
You have painted portraits of a few famous faces. How do you go about choosing who you paint? Tell us why you chose those people in particular.
I have often portrayed Frida Kahlo and Dalí. Frida Kahlo for her life story and figure, which I always felt fascinated by when I was younger.
Currently I feel more drawn to portray moments that I capture and people I see in everyday life.
Are you a night or a day person?
Day. I love the sun.
What does a perfect Sunday look like to you?
Waking up with light energy, have a good latte and go on an adventure along the coast or the countryside. Walk without a destination and eat good food along the way :)
It’s been a strange year. What do you have planned for the rest of 2020 and is there anything we can expect to see from you?
I’m going to produce more originals, further develop the KRUS brand with more products available and experiment with new surfaces always combined with painting.