Victorious Visions and Triumph
He uses the power of graffiti art and poetry to compel viewers to protect their eyes from the damaging effects of blue and LED lights.
His is a story of not just hope but of victory. His art springs forth from what he calls “Victorious Visions and Triumphs.” Relying on God and the universe, his prayer is to bring out Victorious visions one day at a time and to bring out the greatness that is a reflection of God. “Many pray for God to put something inside them. I realize it is the opposite; we have the resources within us and must learn to bring them out,” says the award-winning, multi-talented, and leading influencer, Tony Cruz.
Visionary Bronx Legend
— TONY CRUZ RAM2 (@TONYCRUZRAM2) September 19, 2017
His urban surroundings and life in the boroughs of a world capital inspired Cruz. In 1984, he created a business model, monetizing his graffiti art talent to create advertising design murals for small businesses. He left his artistic mark and distinctive style on over 200 commissioned walls and gates around the city. Cruz goes by the name RAM 2, distinguishing him as a trailblazer of graffiti advertising art, creative influencer, and positive example who uses art and poetry for causes helping humanity. He is a warrior artist, flipping negative situations into positive ones using art as therapy and a tool for self-healing.
Cruz made his mark in the entertainment industry as an independent publicity, promotions, and marketing consultant. On Broadway, he co-produced a musical tribute honoring Tito Puente and others. He teamed up with world-renowned blind guitarist Jose Feliciano as his exclusive publicist and marketing director from 1998 through 2004, and the two produced a song together.
Various Hollywood actors and A-listers utilized Cruz’s services, such as Jacob Vargas and Andy Vargas of Santana. Cruz has worked alongside John Travolta, Edward James Olmos, Christopher Reeves, Ice-T, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and others. He has produced and promoted the NYC ALMA Awards and later served as its creative affairs and marketing associate. He also supported actor Fabrizio Guido, giving him exposure on Alma Award’s ABC TV Hispanic show to American and Latino audiences.
Cruz’s mother was one of his biggest fans and a stalwart supporter. Life was good until suddenly, in March 2005, that support was gone. His beloved mother passed away in his arms from leukemia.
Reeling from the loss of his mother, he battled depression and anxiety. Cruz took another body blow. His line of sight was invaded by a dot and blurred vision while painting a mural. Shadows overtook the light he needed to create his art. The news that followed was the worst an artist could hear: he was losing his sight. Cruz was diagnosed with macular telangiectasia type 2 or MacTel. He also learned that blue and LED lights were contributing to his vision loss by creating holes in the macula and retina of his eyes. He could hardly believe this was a real thing, but his eyes assured him it was.
He recalls, “It was a new life experience evoking emotions and moods never before experienced, entering uncomfortable, uncharted territory in fear because of the programming I had in the past.”
But Cruz continued to learn about the essence of his soul and humanity. He learned that pain is an occurrence and not a state of being. Hope allowed him to filter these experiences and make sense of life by using the power of art and poetry born out of the 70s and 80s South Bronx hip hop cultural arts force.
Piercing the Darkness
From within his struggle, Cruz summoned the strength to use his art for self-healing and service to others. He would be a beacon of caution and hope to MacTel sufferers and the clinically blind. Despite suffering daily from rapidly diminishing sight, pain from sunlight, and no longer able to see short distances clearly, Cruz puts out a positive message for all who struggle via his poetic murals. With the World Health Organization projecting millions more suffering from blindness in the coming decades, Cruz hopes his message can help prevent the sight-impairment that he, himself, has suffered.
With God’s help, Cruz found renewed energy and inspiration and began producing many projects to inform and help his fellow man. He initiated his inspirational campaign at Baruch College for New York’s Computer Center for Visually Impaired People with sponsorship from the New York State Commission for the Blind. In April 2018, he created a mural in the Bronx entitled Don’t Kill Your Vision: Dim the Lights, Protect Your Eyes. It was on display for three years and seen by untold thousands.
In February 2019, Cruz made history by being the first graffiti artist to address the United Nations. He presented his Vision Protection Awareness Campaign and shared findings from new studies on blue and LED light dangers. The campaign was created in response to his vision loss challenge, advocating for the low vision and blind communities. He was invited back to the United Nations later that year as a mentor.
His campaign garnered widespread media coverage, reaching millions with a positive response. Cruz has traveled across the country visiting communities and speaking to the old, the young, autistic, homeless, depression sufferers, and others, delivering his message on the latest research findings and vision loss prevention.
Vision is Not Eyesight
In February of this year, Cruz once again made history by being the first graffiti artist to teach a class at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He instructed the visually impaired and blind on how to cultivate their inner Victorious vision that is so essential for living a flourishing life. For him, starting to teach was the beginning of self-therapy, a way to continually cultivate Victorious visions within himself. “It is the only way I see myself surviving,” he says.
Embarking on his national campaign has revealed that he and many blind people feel abandoned by society, left in the dark without the ability to foster and cultivate Victorious visions within themselves. They are unable to imagine themselves doing great triumphant victories.
He realized he must continue to discipline and evolve himself, reprogramming negative thoughts and turning his visual impairment into an enhancement for living a fulfilling life; it was a groundbreaking concept. Focusing on cultivating Victorious visions within oneself is crucial in today’s constant bombardment of distractions and unnecessary information. It is vital to know the content we immerse ourselves in, making sure it aligns with our goals.
This Bronx graffiti legend enjoys using his 80s hip hop cultural arts essence to uplift and encourage people, helping humanity save their vision. People become empowered to overcome the storms of life by developing inner Victorious visions. No matter what challenges are faced or hardships suffered, triumph is the Victorious vision that will see them through.
The Future is Bright
Cruz’s Victorious visions to heal his sight loss include educating himself on a holistic neuroscience approach. He’s taking up the Wim Hof method of epigenetic vibrational energies breathing exercises. By watching Hof’s YouTube videos and practicing the techniques, he’s finding it very beneficial. Known as the Iceman, Hof teaches us to focus on things that matter and let go of stressors that waste our energy.
The journey has led Cruz to a fulfilling experience. “I’m in glory now as I am healing myself by learning to get power to control thoughts, emotions, feelings, and moods, removed from all distractions,” he says. “In two days, I have a clear mind focused on what is important to me and realize time shortens life, the energy force we have. Where would we best invest our time so we could hit our target and reach our goals?”
Becoming adept at flipping negatives into positives, Cruz is adamant about sharing his message so everyone can build their inner Victorious visions. Getting the word out to the global community and help save eyesight will no doubt be his biggest triumph. In 2019, Cruz commemorated his 40 years of graffiti art by designing a tuxedo he wore to the Latin Grammys 20th Anniversary, a musical celebration of cultural arts.
For 2020, he’s building partnerships with organizations, corporations, and leading influencers with a common goal to benefit humanity globally. “Using the power of graffiti art for good causes is having a positive global impact, for the benefit of all humanity,” says Cruz.
The next time you use your electronic device, you might think twice about staring at that lighted screen. Take a moment to dim the screen and help protect your eyes from vision loss. Cruz implores us all to protect our eyes and vision and to share his message with family and friends.
You can check out more of Cruz’s artwork at FineArtAmerica.com.