This story originally appeared on LX.com
Want to tell the world you voted? NBCLX has teamed up with artists from across the U.S. to create new “I Voted” stickers for 2020. The latest artist we are featuring is Humberto Cruz, a graphic designer from San Diego.
Cruz uses bright colors and cartoon figures to create cheerful art that sends powerful messages. He explained to NBCLX’s Jeremy Berg how drawing has helped him cope with anxiety during the pandemic and why he’s so passionate about voting.
You can find Cruz on Instagram at @iscreamcolour. And to find his digital sticker and our entire collection of artist-created "I Voted" stickers, search “LXtion2020” on Giphy. Share them on your social platforms to let everyone know you voted!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Cruz: My name is Humberto Cruz. I'm an artist. I live in San Diego, California.
I've been drawing since I was a kid and I studied graphic design in college. And it was very hard for me to find a full-time job doing graphic design. So I have kept my job in a grocery store. I've been doing that for the last seven years. So I'm a part-time artist and I work full-time at a grocery store and I cannot live without drawing. I do it almost every day.
Berg: How would you describe the type of art you do?
Cruz: Before, when I first started posting on Instagram, it was very pop culture inspired. But now it's becoming more personal. And I also like to create artwork that represents what we're living right now with all of these issues in the U.S. and other places in the world. I think it's important to create art with a message. And that's why I'm doing that right now.
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Berg: Why is voting important to you? Why is it important for us to do it?
Cruz: Well, it's our civic duty. It's a responsibility. I've been doing it since I was 18 and I don't know, I get really involved and excited about this. It's a long process. But as we get closer, I start getting more excited. Because … I love this country and I want to see changes. And that's why it's important to vote.
Berg: Where does your family come from?
Cruz: They come from Mexico. Actually, my mom became a U.S. citizen last month and she got to register to vote last week. So she's really excited about that.
Berg: What's interesting to me about your artwork is that you have a message, but it's very innocent in how it looks. Is there a balance there?
Cruz: Yeah, I like to have a balance of drawing. It can be cute. But at the same time, it has a strong message. I think it makes it more interesting and I think people can relate to that because people don't want to see, in my opinion, for example, like a serious face with a serious, strong message. For me, it's more about creating something happy with a happy message.
Berg: What I'm looking over some of the pictures here – you've got a bunny, you got a bear. "Because I care." "Be kind to the world." These are all messages that you put out there. Would you say you're a very positive person in your artwork?
Cruz: Well, I tried to be. You know, I'm like everybody with this pandemic. Not everybody's happy right now. And so it's important to bring some joy and hope, you know, that if people see my work, they can put a smile on their face. I have anxiety problems too. And it's hard for everybody. I feel like my artwork – I also do it because it helps me with my anxiety ... If I'm feeling something, I like to write it down now and not hide it anymore like I used to. I think it has helped me a lot.
Berg: You wrote “Yo Voté,” so Spanish in here as well. This is an important election for a lot of Latinx voters. Is that something you wanted to appeal to in your artwork for this project?
Cruz: I like to appeal to everybody, but I think it's important for people to relate to my work. And if people read that caption in Spanish – “Yo Voté,” I voted – I think they can relate more.
Berg: There's so many issues going on in this election: vote by mail, climate change ... Are those things you think about when you were working on this project?
Cruz: Yeah, there's so many issues with climate change, with fighting for equality and that's why I like to include that in my drawing, in my artwork. All these messages – all the things that are important and that can help change society in a way.
Berg: When people see this, when they see your work, what do you hope they get out of it?
Cruz: To get out and vote and to get inspired to register if they're not.
Berg: Do you want to say anything in Spanish?
Cruz: Si no estás registrado para votar, te invito a registrarte. No toma más de cinco minutos. Son muy importantes estas elecciones. [If you are not registered to vote, I invite you to register. It takes less than five minutes. This election is very important.]