Illustrator, digital designer and creative artist Humberto Cruz has been making waves on Instagram thanks to his unique pop culture-inspired style. Having recently gone freelance thanks to a successful run on Everpress, he shares his insights on what it means to be successful and how to build a following.
Even if you do not immediately recognise the name Humberto Cruz, chances are you will recognise his work via his studio name, I Scream Colour. Thanks to hard work, dedication and posting consistently amazing work, Humberto has amassed 148,000 followers on Instagram. And it's easy to see why. His uplifting and colourful work is a joy to behold, and his one-of-a-kind pop culture-inspired style leaps out from your feed.
Yet even for artists like Humberto, the road to success can be long and complicated, especially when you pause to consider what success as an artist looks like. All this and more were touched upon in a recent interview with Everpress, where Humberto opens up about his career so far.
Why Everpress? Well, in 2020, Humberto began selling T-shirts printed with his designs on the site. Thanks to his designs' huge success, Humberto started creating full-time and waved goodbye to the grocery store job he had been working 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.
Having studied graphic design at college in San Diego in 2007, Humberto told Everpress that graduating into a recession made it difficult to find full-time work as a creative. Freelance work was certainly welcome, but to make ends meet, he kept working in the same grocery store job he'd had since high school.
Like many artists at this career stage, Humberto started to doubt himself. However, when social media came along, he realised it was a new opportunity to help him become an artist. "I started posting every day on Instagram and built a following. I've been doing that for the last 10 or 11 years, and it's been 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. Free from the worry of making a mistake, his art has grown in style and confidence. Having once been preoccupied with celebrities and pop culture in general, now he wants to focus on making art with a message people can relate to.
One of these messages appears to be an unbridled positivity. It manifests itself through a bright and positive colour scheme. However, it's surprising to hear that it emerged from a place of anxiety, with Humberto being unhappy with what he was creating. To combat this, he started making art every day.
"Being creative every day became a habit for me because it helped me deal with my anxiety," he says. "When I had my full-time job at a grocery store, and I was doing my freelance work on the side, it was too much work for me. I took some therapy, but I just felt like it didn't work. So I started drawing more, which helped me focus on life's positive side.
"Creating new art every day keeps me inspired. It feels like therapy, in a way. It makes me feel happy."
Regular output, a positive attitude and a constantly evolving style have helped Humberto build his brand and achieve a huge following... but does that mean he feels successful? The concept of success can be hard to grasp and define for artists at every stage of their career, so what does it look like to Humberto?
"I was thinking about that question 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 of an artist. I believe an artist can be successful without pleasing others' expectations. Success for an artist can be just showing his work to the world, to be seen or heard."
It's a noble outlook 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 practising their craft every day.
"Draw whatever you feel like drawing, don't listen to others and just be yourself," he adds. "I don't like to plan what I'm going to draw. I just like to draw whatever I'm feeling at the moment, and I don't care about making mistakes."