With the touch of a blade, coarse horsehair transforms into the perfect paintbrush. After bonding the finished hair to a stern handle, Ignacio Garcia is ready to work.
Garcia, who values his art over his status as an artist, dedicates his time and energy to painting murals.
“I let my art speak for itself,” Garcia said. “My art is what I want people to look at — not me or my personality or my media attention.”
Striving for perfection, Garcia puts in many hours researching the subjects he plans to paint, often spending weeks planning for an upcoming project. For him, an obsessive dedication to detail makes a mural come to life, allowing it to represent its subject truthfully.
“When the next project comes in I have to be super focused, and there is a lot of research that goes behind it,” Garcia said. “I spend around eight to 12 hours a day and sometimes six days a week. But it has to be done just right, the way the client wants it or the way it feels right, proportioned to the space and everything.”
Garcia must be satisfied with the final product. If that means painting over two weeks’ worth of work and starting over, he will. He said this is common when he spots issues in his work.
“If I don’t like it, I’ll end up just painting the whole thing over,” said Garcia. “It can be like a week or two weeks’ worth and I’ll paint the whole thing over again.”
Concentration is crucial when Garcia paints. A good night’s sleep is essential before beginning work the next day. Indicative of his focus, Garcia becomes so engrossed in his work that he has to set an alarm to remind him to eat during projects.
“Concentration is the key to create these pieces,” Garcia said. “If I’m not concentrating, the painting doesn’t look as it should be. It will look like crap.”
Garcia comes from a long line of artists and creators. His grandfather specialized in carpeting and his uncle was a designer. He has been drawing and painting most of his life and has painted murals for about 25 years now.
“Since I was a kid this is a passion that I have enjoyed; it’s in my DNA,” Garcia said. “I like doing murals because it’s so grand and challenging and I think people tend to gravitate towards them.”
Based in Tucson, Garcia plans to inspire local artists to ignite their creativity and make their mark here. He encourages new artists to create art that they believe in and wants to leave a legacy for the next generation of artists.
“Break the rules, fuck it,” Garcia said. “Be confident in yourself and be creative. Don’t worry about what other people say. It’s your work not theirs.”
In the unlikely event that the art scene dies down in Tucson, Garcia will most likely move to New York City to continue his career. He hopes Tucson artists gain more respect and recognition within the community. As for now, Garcia will continue to work on keeping the Tucson art scene alive.
Follow Victoria Hudson on Twitter.