"We are super excited to launch Ishka Designs' newest bi-monthly blog series: "Art & Design Studio" featuring artists and designers we've been crushing on for a while. This series not only allows us to share with you our love of art and design and the artists that create the works but is a great collaboration between Niya's photographic talents and Anishka's desire to write more. Read ahead for inspiration and check back in two weeks for another featured artist."
Niya and I had the pleasure of spending the day with Peruvian born artist, Victor Raul Garcia in his pied-à-terre in Manhattan. A reserved personality, we managed to touch on topics ranging from country living with his partner in upstate New York where Victor splits his time between fine art and house renovations, to his artistic self-discovery in recent years and what truly inspires him to create his abstract pieces. We thoroughly enjoyed interviewing, photographing and joking around with him in his light-filled studio and loved the honesty and openness he brought to our conversation. A sensitive soul, we were as much inspired by his artistic self-awakening as we were his desire to help kids to use art as medium for growth and self-expression. Read on for our full interview with Victor...
Rock climbing, bungee jumping, hand gliding, base jumping or kite surfing?
Bungee jumping for sure. My personality is drawn to extremes.
When did you choose art as a career and why?
It chose me actually. I come from a very dark past and was a victim to it. Art came into my life in 2 ways: it helped me see the ‘light’ by giving my life some purpose and passion and provided me a constructive outlet for any pain or suffering I had amounted. Now though, I paint to express my happiness, balance and passion in my new life.
Was there ever an alternative career choice?
I retired from personal training in 2012 to officially be an artist full-time. But I had always thought about being an EMT because a) I’ve always been drawn to helping and nurturing others, and b) the dopamine rush that came with the job was enticing. Again, my need for extremes!
What was the first art work you sold?
The piece was titled “Invierno” and it was sold in Munich, Germany. It ‘released the Krakan’ in me to elevate a part-time hobby for survival to a full time self-transformational and rewarding career.
How has your art evolved over the years?
Now that I take myself seriously as an artist, I have gone from an unorganized, trial and error, and impulsive style of painting to a more experienced, thought-out, edited, and impulsive style of painting….lol!
Who is your favorite artist?
Robert Rauschenberg. He was the Emperor of ‘layering’ of the Pop Art movement. In his “Combines,” he masterfully orchestrated the assemblage of conventional and unconventional mediums into 1 impactful statement. Also not only did he paint, but he was a photographer, sculptor, graphic artist, printmaker, paper maker and performance artist! An all-around talent in my book!
What or who inspires you and why?
My partner. He is the most hard-working, rational, diligent, honest and peaceful role model. His support and calm nature have talked me ‘off the ledge’ many a time and he has given me the courage and tenacity I need daily to handle the madness of the career I have chosen.
Bike, car, bus or train?
Car. I prefer to be in full control.
You have the total freedom to determine your own artistic direction. How do you arrive at the point where you commit to a theme or idea?
I collect an endless variety of visual stimuli on a daily basis. From pics of couture gowns and architectural details to macro photos and x-rays of things in nature and sculptures. Before going into the studio, I organize a select group of photos based on a certain cohesiveness, story and feeling I want to convey, into a multi-layered mood board. Then off I go!
Has your cultural background influenced your art?
On the surface, I am the worst representation of a Hispanic person. I don’t like summer, spicy food or seafood…lol! But below the surface, the Hispanic temperament, passion, rhythm and colorfulness truly exists, especially on canvas!
At what time of the day/month/year do you work best?
Definitely around 1pm. I would probably be already on my 5th cup of coffee (creative juices) and ready for my brain to experiment, explore and express!
Cons, vans, pro-keds or jordans?
Jordans. I’m a high-top sorta guy.
Do you ever think about where a piece will end up and does that influence the outcome of the art?
Only on commissions. But for the most part, I paint for myself. I need that complete freedom of expression (without limitations) to communicate thoroughly, genuinely and vividly.
What is the most unconventional material you've used in your work?
I used Café con Leche in a piece titled “Sierra”.
What country/state/city/neighbourhood do you live in? How did you end up there?
Chelsea. My best friend joined the Navy in 2009 and relocated to San Diego and I took over the lease. For professional reasons, it gives me proximity to the energy of the gallery district. And for personal reasons, it gives me a sense of comfort knowing that my best friend’s energy and story still surrounds me in the apartment.
Any upcoming shows/exhibits to mention?
The Jeffrey Meir Gallery in Lambertville and the Boswell. Mourot Gallery in Little Rock are in the works.
If you have 24 hours left to live, what would you do with it?
I would go to Paris with my partner and spend the day in the Louvre or the D’Orsay. If I passed away in either place, I would have been surrounded by the most beautiful, original and impressionable art, and man, all at once. What a way to go!
Indeed! Thanks so much Victor for sharing so much of yourself with us. We look forward to your upcoming exhibits and many more collaborations in the future. And readers, you can find more about Victor Raul Garcia on his website and follow him on facebook.