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Archival Photos Reimagined

An exhibition presenting the Central Piedmont Archives as a source of inspiration for creative expression and featuring archival photos as references for reimagined artworks.

Born 2 Rebel by Ryan Cruz Rivera

Art is a form of communication, often used to express ourselves and convey deep thoughts and opinions regarding the world around us. This was the case for Ryan Cruz Rivera and his reimagined artwork, Born 2 Rebel.

"I chose the photograph of an individual choosing to rebel against the rules put on her," he said. "The individuals outside in 'normal' society must choose to rebel or conform to the rules placed on society."

This photo also inspired him to incorporate social commentary throughout his piece, like the proliferation of human rights violations and social media's impact on our everyday lives.

His biggest takeaway while working on this project, however, happened on a more personal level: he had to accept the vulnerability that comes with displaying artwork to the public.

"Allowing people to see my work is easier said than done," he said, when submitting his piece. "Being used to drawing and locking my art up away in a journal is a different feeling compared to having unknown people judge your work."

Thankfully, Ryan adapted and shared his work for the world to see, interpret, and experience.


The links below will direct you to CONTENTdm, our digital collection management system, where you can view the images in greater detail.

Student Lounging


c. 1970s

Black-and-white photography

A student smoking under a “No Smoking Here” sign with cartoon alien antennae drawn on her head by the photographer.

Born 2 Rebel

Ryan Cruz Rivera


POSCA paint markers and charcoal on canvas (12 x 12 in)

Ryan used POSCA paint markers because it's one of the essential tools used in the graffiti community. As a member of that community, he felt it was important to use a high-quality marker to make his mark on the world. He also used charcoal for the hair and skin for the crowned character to add a more realistic feel to it.

Artist Bio

Ryan Cruz Rivera discovered his artistic side during the fourth grade when a classmate drew his name in graffiti. It inspired him to learn more and create his own art, spending much of his time drawing both in and out of school. 

He describes his art style as word-based art spliced with images of what is happening in today's time. In terms of mediums, he prefers creating art on paper with paint markers, Crayola pencils, and spray cans. He also looks forward to experimenting with oil sticks, a medium used by famous artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as oil paint to see if he can attempt a different style of art.

Ryan is currently attending Central Piedmont Community College, where he's furthering his education and working toward an Associate in Arts. Thanks to Central Piedmont's resources, he's taking the steps to achieve his goals while staying close to home. After he graduates, he plans to transfer to a four-year college and potentially focus on business, but he's still figure out which career path he wants to choose. Wherever he ends up, he hopes to make the world around him a little better through his job and through community service.