Tell me a little bit about you!
I’m a recent MFA graduate from Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art. I live and teach in Philadelphia, and have a studio at The Loom in Richmond Mills where I’m working on paintings for upcoming projects. I grew up in a very artistic household in South Florida, where I attended Waldorf School. I received my formal education from School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where I majored in Visual Critical Studies, and spent a semester studying art and philosophy in Italy.
After graduating from SVA, I immediately attended MICA as graduate student and was the recipient of the limited Hoffberger Scholarship. Both programs of study placed emphasis on material exploration and philosophic inquiry, and so my artwork had developed in a non-linear fashion. At different periods I have worked in video, installation, sculptural works, and found materials. This medium-adaptability distilled in my work a clear subject matter based around mythology, which was an essential part of my upbringing as a Waldorf student.
Ovid’s Metamorphosis has been a constant source for inquiry, and at different points I have worked around the stories of Echo and Narcissus, Orpheus and Eurydice, Cadmus and Harmony, and Io and Jupiter. The condition of betweenness, transition, deterioration and upheaval present themselves in my work through a layering of material and marks. I work feverishly, interrupting and dissolving my own application of paint, inks, and pigments. The culmination is a surface which presents it subject remotely, figures and lines, though unified on the surface, are isolated from each other and the viewer, frozen in crisis.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
My practice has changed a lot, especially in the last 6 years. I’m always trying to push myself somewhere uncomfortable or unfamiliar. I read a lot of philosophy and literature, and I’ve been especially moved by Anne Carson’s writing. Her dissertation Eros the Bittersweet encompasses so much of what I’m interested in, mythology, language, and questions about meaning. I’ve also recently been listening to lectures on Object Oriented Ontology- the idea of the third table which is proposed by Graham Harman is something that I understand through my foundation with the triangular relationship Carson speaks about in Eros.
What is your process like?
My process is very varied! I try to always have more than one project going at once, and currently I have been working with dyes and ink, spray paint and collage. I’m very engaged with the part of my process which questions tools and material, inventing new ways to add resonance of marks. I’ve constructed strange brushes out of broom poles and tape, mops, and ropes, sometimes aggressively attacking the surface of a painting. My source material often comes from second hand sources- even a form drawn repeatedly from memory- so that it has become distorted but also more of an essential impression of the original. I find this highly important in capturing something “inbetween” it is not the hand of the author, but it is also not entirely my own. I keep my notebooks as archives, digging into them like an archaeologist when I begin a project, uncovering forms buried in the lines and notes.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I would say that all of my mentors have emphasized, is the necessity for consistent effort and dedication to your practice. To be constantly aiming to improve your skill or push something in painting. This kind of self-discipline has become very influential to me.
Describe your studio.
My studio is an classroom in an old school building. You can see places students scratched silly notes in the door, and there are black boards at either end of the room that I use for brainstorming. It’s also perfect for working large scale since the layout allows me to get a lot of distance and perspective when I need to step back from a painting.
Almost always there are canvases laid out on the floor, surrounded by the exhausted materials with which they have just been assaulted.
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
I often read interviews with artists I respect a lot, or look at their images of their work until it lights a kind of fire in me. I started to keep folders on my computer filled with images for inspiration. I also believe in just working through whatever kind of block I’m experiencing. Usually I get that into a rut only when I get distant from the materials I’m using, so I know it’s just a matter of spending time painting to bring me close to it again, even when it feels forced. I’ll start a new project, often something in a new medium so that I become engaged through the unfamiliarity, and push that until I feel pulled back to whatever I was doing before. Lots of new things have come out of those side projects, and often they have become the focus of a new direction.
Find more at juliagarcia.studio and on Instagram @__joolz!
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