Charlie Cruz’s life began in the South Pacific. The only son of military parents, he grew up in the 1950’s and ‘60’s in Hawaii with lots of time on his hands and too many questions for his “isle-solated” life. Early on, drawing became his way to pass the time and to fulfill his childhood dreams . One sunny day, a youthful Charlie saw a magazine on the newsstand that featured hot rods and custom cars on the mainland; He was fascinated and soon hooked… it wasn’t long before a volcanic passion erupted from his pen.
Eventually, Charlie’s dad was transferred to Edwards Air Force Base near the old Muroc Dry Lake in California. The move, as luck would have it, brought Charlie up close and personal with the kind of cars and enthusiasts that up to then, he’d only read about. To say that Cruz began to artistically “cook” is an understatement… his blood began to boil from the excitement. It solidified his feelings about the hot rod movement and soon he was a familiar sight around the dry lakes and southern California. It wasn’t long until he was “tooling” around in a chopped GMC Panel Delivery that did double-duty as a rolling studio.
Later on, to help fuel his impassioned past time, he took a job with a local newspaper. There he was influenced by an old-timer who was heavy into india ink and cartoons. It wasn’t long before Charlie was also cartooning his lil’ behind off and learning what it took to put a paper to bed every night; dedication and deadlines! Work habits that served Charlie well as he developed and continued to do his own thing.
In the early days, he copied the styles of all the guys whose work was being published on the pages of those big ‘n’ little rod & custom mags. However, it was the zany Mad magazine that was most influential on his artistic career. “Mad” managed to hyper-fuel his passion and take Charlie’s art into deepest space. “You’ll rot your mind with that kind of weird stuff!” he was told, both from home and at school. But as Cruz relates, he was way too far gone to care what would or wouldn’t rot his mind. Sez Charlie, “The cartooning thing had to work its way out of me for my soul to rest”. Thankfully for all us, Cruz chose to take the road less traveled.
That road eventually led him off the coast and inland to the “Rockies”. The beauty and solitude of the mountains broadened him introspectively and added to the depth and fabric of his art. Today finds Charlie going strong and “keepin’ on”, from his sky view studio “high” in the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. He’s now truckin’ around in a ‘48 Anglia Thames Panel. His automotive cartoons and artistic observations are uniquely his now… the style is laid-back, confident and above all, unmistakably – C•Cruz.
You can browse c.Cruz’s Motorburg Shop in the Mall HERE.: