Eric GarciaChicago, Illinois

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2019

Known for mixing history with contemporary politics and satirical cartoons, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Garcia has exhibited nationally to include such institutions like the San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Received his BFA with a minor in Chicano studies from the University of New Mexico, Eric Garcia went on to completed his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A versatile artist working in an assortment of media, from hand-printed posters, to sculptural installations, to his controversial political cartoon series El Machete Illustrated, they all have a common goal of educating and challenging.

I am the colonized and the colonizer. My work examines my personal history juxtaposed with historical events to create a relatable understanding of the distant past and the complexities of the present. Aware that history is used as a strategy of domination, I attempt to subvert through my art the various dominant histories of the conquering powers. By combining old and new icons I have come to create my own visual vernacular to explain ironies of the past versus the present. In depicting and reevaluating complex issues using an assortment of media to do so, I hope to unlearn the very one-sided dogma of western history and western art.

I work in various forms, such as printmaking, to murals, to sculpture, but they all have a common goal of educating and challenging. I am making art that is not only conceptual but also has an emphasis on craft. The media I use has a connection with the idea I am presenting. This goal of using a specific media to enhance the idea of the artwork motivates and challenges me to experiment with elements I would not normally use. My own pictographs help explain complex narratives while sarcasm and satire helps lighten the harsh-reality it depicts.

The power of imagery is a tremendous vehicle for delivering information. The Mexican Mural Movement and comic books are only a few of my inspirations that have showed me how powerful the visual arts can be. Through my art I try to make an assortment of visual objects that not only reflects on the past but also poses challenges to the present.