Michael Anthony Garcia
Michael is someone who will always see around at galleries and art show. Some might even say he is a household name. He is heavily involved in the artist community, supporting his fellow artists of color. And when he is not doing that, he is creating incredible powerful and personal works of art: in 2D, 3D, and live performances. His work has been exhibited in City Hall, amongst other places and he is a rising star in Austin's (as well as Texas) local art scene. Check out his interview.
As an artist who is incredibly involved in Austin’s art scene, how do you see yourself and your role as an artist?
I believe my involvement in the art scene in Austin directly stems from the wonderful relationships I have fostered here, and a conscious decision to participate and support the talented people who inhabit it as much as humanly possible. As someone fortunate enough to have put in my time and have as many opportunities as I do, I also like to shine light whenever possible on others who might not have those same opportunities. It's a responsibility I think we all have.
THAT MAKES SENSE. How would you describe the majority of the work you produce to someone who was unfamiliar with art?
At times the work can delve into deeply personal territory of experiences or it can cast a broader glance across our society and its perceived norms. Lately, my work has also taken on the hue of science, science fiction and pseudo-science themes with the bulk of my photography, sculptural, installation and performance work conveying the minutiae of fleeting moments of interaction between the body, the mind and our prowess (or missteps) in coping with the human condition. Through the use of found-object and multimedia, often including clothing and furniture, I explore the gradient of ideas that lie within this spectrum.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why do you naturally gravitate towards that platform/style?
I love working with clothing as a stand in for the physical form. We can all connect with articles of clothing on so many levels. It's something we both consciously and unconsciously interact with daily. It carries so many connotations that can be pulled out depending on its context.
Some (if not all) of your installations have a socio-political message or perspective. Was that always on purpose or was it something that you evolved into over time?
I have always approached my work with a desire to communicate the things that are important to me and expressing who I am is a huge part of that. I hope that the honesty behind what I express about myself and the topics important to me can connect with others on a larger scale, since many of our bodies are political to begin with, but even if they don't, at least I speak about who I am for my own purposes.
What is the name of your most recent art installation? Where was it hosted? and what was the message behind it.
The most recent work is coming up this month at MoHA (at the Canopy complex.) It is entitled Suspension of Belief. The ideas presented in this work represent multiple, entwined themes common to many Latino migrant worker experiences, particularly those of female immigrants. They are asked to take leaps of faith, suspend their belief, and their worth for a chance at a better future. The title “suspension” is also used in its scientific sense: a mixture in which particles are dispersed throughout the bulk of a fluid. These women are transformed anonymous molecules, asked to dilute their beings to become a part of something larger, to lose their characteristics, their language and sadly too often others’ respect for their bodies.
As someone who is firmly rooted in an art career and getting more and more opportunities each day, what tips or insights do you have for emerging artists like yourself who want to put their work out there?
Really, the best advice I can give is to create your own opportunities until others start to bring them to you. Make yourself a part of your art community and develop genuine relationships with others in that community. Create your own communities. Create opportunities for others like you. It's a long game. Don't stop making work or developing ideas.
We were recently talking about the impacts of 2016 Election on our individual lives and you mentioned the role of art in healing. What kind of ideas are coming to you that you will put into your art? What messages or feelings or concepts have emerged as a result of these shocking events?
My work has taken on a more overt political twist, especially since this last election out of necessity. Right after that day in November, making work seemed futile and I felt lost. What was the point? Then I was able to refocus and realize that I use my creative voice as a political voice as well.