Art reflects beauty in the world. Artists take that beauty and render it into something unique. Artist Reyna Garcia’s does just that. Her first hand experiences and brushes with culture are transformed into expressions with which everyone can interact. From her childhood in Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico to her life in New York City, Garcia has followed her passion. Her passions for her culture and Latino community are brought into vibrant works of art. Garcia started painting at the young age of 15. Since then, she has grown as a professional artist and also as a inspiration in her community. While in New York, where most of her paintings took shape, she encouraged young children in area art programs – helping them express their identity and their own brushes with beauty. Now, a Grand Rapids local, her colorful inspirational paintings have appeared in ArtPrize and other local venues. Committed to women, culture, and identity, she continues to mix watercolors, acrylics, and pastels into vibrant pieces. Read on for an in-depth interview with the community advocate turned masterful painter, Reyna Garcia.
FM: What role does the artist have in society?
RG: Artists historically have played an important role in society for the reason that they have been part of the social changes and have documented history through each area or branch in which they stand out.
A case in point is the Magic Realism by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco who portrayed the socio-political crisis of Mexico after the revolution in their murals and helped to form an image or national identity.
FM: As an artist, where comes your inspiration from?
RG: I believe that every time I create a work it is inspired by my reality in what is happening day by day. Its my inspiration to give shape and color to social issues of interest to raise awareness in the viewer [for example] the issues of importance of women, the current situation of the immigrants, the constant struggle in Latin America and at a global level Indians’ situation as well as issues that capture my interest of a people’s social background.
FM: Are you currently working on a project?
RG: I am currently working on Niños del sol, a project that on August 25 closed its first session with great success. Talking about our children and young people is talking about a seed that we must cultivate. They [our children] are our legacy. This is the central objective of the Children of the Sun project – art workshops for children and young people. Our focus is on working on developing our children’s skills, reinforcing their identity, acknowledging their roots, helping hem accept themselves and helping them feel included in culturally diverse groups. It is of the utmost importance to create a space of trust for our children where they can have ambitions of improvement, as this society will need a new generation of leaders.
I am also preparing for Artprize 9 with “MY SOUL” An exhibition to talk about my history and the reunion of my past and present.
In this book I dedicate my work to the millions of children who were affected by the polio virus. It is dedicated to those who did not manage to overcome the disease, those who survived, and children who are still suffering from any type of disability.
FM: Where is your favorite place to see art? Why?
RG: I have no favorite place – every place has something interesting. I love visiting Chicago and admiring its murals. The Mexican Museum during the celebration of the Day of the Dead and its exhibits always bring me a reunion with my culture.
FM: What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
RG: I consider all the tools indispensable since they all have a connection and interrelation in achieving the objective of each work.
FM: Where are you finding ideas for your work?
RG: As an artist, I do not necessarily find ideas. My inspiration is the need to capture the essence of my reality. It is to document those moments that are necessary, to translate them into canvases and to transform each experience into a message that the viewer can enjoy and find emotionally moving.
FM: What work of art do you wish you owned?
RG: I would like to have an art piece by Salvador Dalí. He is one of the great surreal artists that influenced and inspired me at the beginning of my career.
FM: Who is your favorite living artist?
RG: Ulises Martinez Muralista of Juárez of Oaxaca Mexico. He is an artist who expresses in his murals a colorful and majestic social message worthy of my admiration.
FM: Do you have any other hobbies in addition to your work?
RG: My hobby is supporting Hearthside Ministries in the Ceramics Workshop. This September I will start volunteering in the art workshop where I will interact with people from the community. People who have had an experience of not having a home inspire me to give them hope through my art.
Reyna Garcia in ArtPrize > www.artprize.org/65948
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