Stick with Audrey, she’ll bring more color into your life
UA student Audrey De La Cruz is hard at work creating new designs for her new collection.
From trendy stickers that people can place on their Hydro Flasks to colorful art prints and cards for people to send their friends, Audrey De La Cruz has turned her personal artwork into crowd favorites with her self-run business, Annotated Audrey Art.
Hailing from Los Angeles, De La Cruz was working with English teachers and international students as a program representative at UCLA. However, she wanted a new work landscape to pursue her passion for art and drawing rather than working a desk job.
De La Cruz and her husband would later come to Tucson for the artsy community, where her art would prosper.
“I remembered from my time going to school here that there is just a really strong arts community and a really strong support of local businesses and local artists,” Larry Andrade, De La Cruz’s husband, said. “We had been talking about that while we were in LA and sort of stressed out by our normal jobs, how, ‘Oh, we want to do something else.’ She wanted to pursue more of the art and it just seemed like a good fit.”
Since moving back to Tucson, De La Cruz has turned her focus to being a full time artist. She takes her sketches she does in her free-time or drawings/paintings that she has created and turns them into prints to sell.
De La Cruz and her husband started Annotated Audrey Art in 2016. The couple runs the art printing business themselves.
They spend most of their day printing, cutting and packaging all of the different items that Annotated Audrey Art sells. Some orders exceed 60-250 cards a week, making their days busy.
De La Cruz is the brains behind the artwork and Andrade is the man behind the printing, deliveries and making sure all of the stores that carry Annotated Audrey Art are stocked for customers.
Most of De La Cruz’s artwork is inspired by the desert landscape, the colors of the various plants and cacti capture her imagination. Her signature is using vibrant, pastel colors and whimsical paintbrush strokes in the drawings.
Her artwork also includes inspirational phrases such as “happiness blooms within,” “the future is diverse” and “bloom where you are planted.”
“I make a lot of stuff that’s very Tucson and very local-based,” De La Cruz said. “I’m just inspired by everything … I go to the mall and I see some colors together on a shirt and I’m like, ‘Hell yeah, that would be a cool mountain scene,’ just experiencing life through my eyes.”
De La Cruz’s mission through her art business is to keep the artwork she creates as accessible as possible. Accessible art means keeping the prices low for customers as well as keeping the artwork and phrases appropriate for all audiences.
“I think accessible art is something that doesn’t offend people … our main focus with our stuff is to provide the highest quality that we can at an affordable price,” De La Cruz said.
Annotated Audrey Art started at the UA Farmer’s Market but has since moved onto selling their artwork in 15 local businesses all around Tucson. Stickers and cards are being sold in stores such as Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, Pop-Cycle and the UA Bookstore.
“Basically, any place [of business] that I think is a good fit for my work, I see if they will carry my work,” De La Cruz said.
Fellow farmer’s market businesses also sell De La Cruz’s artwork at their booths. One farmer’s market seller, Kelley Costales of Purple Sky Incense, is a fan of De La Cruz’s work.
“I have Audrey’s stickers and cards in my booth because, well I love them! And of course, I’m not alone. Everyone seems to connect with her colorful vibrant designs,” Costales said. “I also have the highest respect for them as business people and look to them as an example of how to do things the right way. I admire them for finding a way to pursue their dreams with integrity and being very successful at it.”
Costales sells Annotated Audrey Art pieces at pop-up shops with De La Cruz’s full support.
“I did a fundraiser last month for a local dog rescue and [Annotated Audrey Art] generously donated a number of pieces to it,” Costales said. “They’ve also done their own fundraising for local shelter animals and I love that they are compassionate and charitable also.”
De La Cruz and her husband use their business to donate to charities like those around Tucson. The money that they make is always going back into their business as well to expand slowly.
De La Cruz finds it surreal to see her artwork in all of the local stores and to see them on people’s water bottles around Tucson.
“I made that, I remember when I was drawing that on my iPad … ”De La Cruz said “It feels really great and it doesn’t ever go away, that feeling of ‘I cant believe someone liked it enough to buy it and stick it on their bottle forever.’
Annotated Audrey Art has new items coming soon this month. De La Cruz posts about new collections or inspirations to her social media accounts, especially her Instagram account. Her stickers, art prints and cards are available online on her website.