A great-grandson of Maria Martinez, Johnny Cruz Jr. was born to Viola and Johnny Cruz Sr. on September 1, 1975. A daughter of Adam and Santana Martinez, Viola produced some pottery but her artistic efforts were more in the direction of textiles and painting. When we asked Johnny were he learned his craft he quickly responded "My grandmother Santana and grandfather Adam, and my brother and his wife, Marvin and Frances Martinez."
A regular participant in several annual Native American Arts shows like the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum Guild and Arizona State Museum Show, Johnny has earned ribbons from the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival (Oklahoma City, OK: 1st place in Traditional Pottery, 2010) and the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show (Espanola, NM).
Johnny says his favorite style of pottery to make is what his great-grandmother called a "fist pot" (it's about the size of a fist but a bit less spherical) and while he likes to use a micaceous clay slip on the surfaces, he also likes to paint avanyu's, feathers and geometric designs like his great-grandfather used to paint.
When he's not making pottery (which isn't often: Johnny loves working with clay), you can usually find him either at a local baseball game (rooting for his kids) or a local art show (showing his pots and/or rooting for his kids).