Rip Tiger, acrylic paint on canvas, 64 by 51 inches, 2016
Pellicanz , acrylic paint on canvas, 110 by 50 inches, 2016
Polar Bear, acrylic paint on Metal, 4 feet by 4 feet, 2016
Parrot, ornametal knives, glazed ceramic, 13 X 2 X 2 in.
Stand Up, acrylic paint on cotton,74 by 56 inches, 2016
Mandrillo, acrylic paint on metal, 4 feet by 4 feet, 2016
left: Hipnotic - right Consequence, both acrylic paint on cotton, 70 by 30 inches, 2017
IENA CRUZ a.k.a FEDERICO MASSA
First Residency Show
Federico Massa is a world-renowned street artist with a unique style that blends hyper-realistic animal portraiture with psychedelically bright backgrounds. He gained traction in the 1990s as a rebellious graffiti artist in the burgeoning street art movement under the alias “Cruz.” As his body of work progressed, he began using the symbol of a hyena (iena in Italian), which led to his current alias “iena Cruz.”
Originally from Milan, Cruz has called Brooklyn home for the past ten years. Initially trained in stage set design at Milan’s prestigious Brera Academy of Art, he is primarily known internationally for his large-scale, eco-conscious murals that use special nanotechnology-infused paints to scrub pollution from the air around them.
Throughout the years, iena Cruz has expanded his practice to include a variety of different mediums. In 2018, he spent six months studying screen printing techniques at the Gowanus Print Lab in Brooklyn and began producing original silk-screened textiles as samples for future upholstery fabrics and wall coverings. The following year, he focused on the ceramic processes of modeling, firing, glazing, and re-firing during a six-month project at La Mano Pottery in Manhattan, and produced numerous objects including lampshades, ornamental plates and knives, pitchers, and vases. With this multidisciplinary knowledge, he has launched a design collection called Zurcanei that features custom textiles, wallpaper, mosaic, clothing, and custom home art decor. In this spirit, iena Cruz has collaborated with designer Jan Kath to bring the worlds of street art and textile art together: Cruz painted murals directly on the walls of the Jan Kath gallery in New York, replacing select areas on the wall with hand-knotted carpets in the same design, thus blurring the line between the fabric and the hand-painted mural.
Recent work also includes Hand Woodblock Printing. Designed in NYC and hand- made in Jaipur, Cruz is exploring textile production based on an ancient Indian technique of woodblock printing to support and draw attention to the importance of preserving artisanal traditions.
On Saturday, October 1st , VISITOR CENTER will present a series of new works by Cruz created during his two-week residency in Newburgh with a never-before-showcased series of glazed ceramics. Spanning the entire gallery, the comprehensive presentation will chart the recent evolution of Cruz’s practice.One of the most innovative street artists in the world, Federico Massa (known professionally as iena Cruz) has been selected as VISITOR CENTER’s inaugural artist-in-residence.
Much of iena Cruz’s work is inspired by the ever-growing threat of climate crises. Speaking about his mural titled ‘Hunting Pollution’ in Rome, Cruz remarked that “the inspiration to use the heron is above all because it’s an animal in danger of extinction. Most of my work is influenced by the desire to bring attention to environmental problems, like global warming and the extinction of animal species.” In 2022, The Art Newspaper named ‘Hunting Pollution’ one of “ten essential artworks to see in Rome,” alongside works by Caravaggio and Bernini.
As part of VISITOR CENTER’s mission to support emerging interdisciplinary artists of the Hudson Valley and beyond, the invitational residency will provide space for creative investigation and experimentation with new concepts or materials. During the self-directed residency, artists are encouraged to experiment with a new body of work or develop a new process and are invited to engage with the local community of Newburgh.