Daniel de la Cruz
Daniel de la Cruz’s journey to becoming an artist began during his childhood when he was fond of creating indistinguishable forms out of clay. A Filipino by birth and sensibility, his natural artistic skills were discovered during his freshman year at college and gained him a measure of fame. Nonetheless, having been raised by parents who were bent on educating their five children as professionals, Daniel was expected to study and practice medicine or law. Despite his reluctance, he tried his best to please them and pursued courses in both fields. These attempts did not turn out very well but Daniel still obtained a degree in Philosophy from the prestigious University of the Philippines in 1991. Upon graduation, and to the disappointment of his family, Daniel bravely decided to follow his heart and intuition and strike out on his own.
Daniel found work in an export company as a product designer creating gift items and Christmas décor designs. His first job proved life changing as he soon found freedom of expression in this environment. Back to his childhood love of sculpting, Daniel’s inborn skills, along with his discipline and perseverance, led to his promotion as the leading product designer, and ultimately a full partner and president of the company. Daniel became well-known for his designs and his expert use of diverse materials, with his products distributed and trademarked in the United States, Canada and Europe. He was the first Filipino designer to develop ceramic collections for the prestigious company, Villeroy & Boch in Germany.
But Daniel’s artistic urges were still not pacified, and he vowed to experience doing the work he loved before reaching the age of 40. He courageously ventured beyond the world of product design and manufacturing, where he was already an unmitigated success, into his true passion: sculpture. Applying his instinctive skills and knowledge of diverse materials as well as through constant experimentation, Daniel used mix metals to create sculpture works and allowed his creative energies to take over.
In 2007, he mounted his first solo exhibition, Kandungan, themed as a tribute to women and giving birth to what would be his signature and trademark: robust women defined with grace, strength and wonderful movement. This initial success led to a second exhibit of works called Parangal, in April 2008. The artist’s tribute to Christ featured gaunt, elongated forms which were a dramatic contrast to the robust women of Kandungan. In less than a year, the word about Daniel de la Cruz was out. The professional designer cum-artist now had a following within Manila’s art community, and along the way, had raised the bar for the established contemporary sculptors in the country.
His third solo exhibit in September 2008, entitled Himig, was another unique celebration of women. These works set out to depict women in terms of familiar objects and to describe the sensations and feelings they evoke. Whether merged with musical instruments, where the music and the woman are as one, or shown even in the simplest of movements in their daily lives, the result was the same: women of beauty, strength and grace.
2009 saw Daniel at his most prolific and boldest yet. He produced 30 works, where for the first time, Daniel tackled the challenging and painful theme of man struggling to discover his own spirituality within depictions of the physical world. Entitled Passages, he describes the works as showing man’s great journey through countless passages in search of the truth. This represented a milestone for the artist as it saw him extending his creative powers and boundaries of metal with his use of chrome for the first time. In August 2010, Daniel will again break new barriers with 25 new works of an unparalleled scale. This newest exhibit, called Precipice, aims to describe the points in one’s life where man is perched over the edge and faces his own mortality. Precipice defies conventions, and physical laws, as de la Cruz juxtaposes figures on top of each other to create a sleek, single piece of artwork.
Internationally, Daniel brought the Philippines honor and fame by winning the coveted Gold medal for the “Festival of Nativities” in Rome, Italy in December 2008. Daniel’s Nativity sculptures won the highest honor in a field of 131 entries from 71 countries.
He is married to Monica Guevarra, and lives in Pasig City, Philippines with their three children.