Artist Justin Garcia explores every aspect of his art, from its message to the way the human eye sees colors he uses. "Color is a viewable energy, if you will, that the eye can see. When you think about it, color is really made up of wavelengths and frequencies that the eye can detect. It's interesting to know exactly what you're looking at, instead of just accepting it and not bothering to understand it, which is what we mainly do in life."
He was still a teen when he got his first commissions for murals. To be clear, they were unpaid commissions, but commissions nonetheless. "My mother was a faux painter and designer. She would tell clients that if they wanted a mural, her son could paint one. I wasn't getting paid, but I didn't care because I was having fun."
The days of Garcia's working for free have long been over. Art is about creativity, Garcia tells us, but it's also about business. "I don't think a lot of artists like to accept that there's more than just expressing yourself. You have to know how things are and how they work in order to make sure your work gets out there. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good you are if nobody knows your name and nobody's seen your work. The business side is extremely important. I get that from my father, who was very into business and also very street smart. "
What He Does: The term "artist" isn't quite specific enough for Garcia when he's asked what he does for a living. "I say I'm an artist, but usually I go further and say that I'm an abstract expressionist."
Why He Likes It: "For me, I can't imagine what better way to discover things about yourself and the world around you. I enjoy the fact that my art keeps me questioning everything. In that, I discover a lot. To me, that's the best part of it."
What Inspires Him: "To me, what inspires me is being able to connect the dots from A to B. A lot of my work has to do with memories and emotions. It's interesting what people remember. I have to translate these glimpses of those memories onto the canvas."
If Not This, Then What: Garcia has no plans to stop working as an artist, but there are some other areas that interest him. "I love psychology and sociology. If I could, that would be a course that I would take."
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If Not Here, Then Where: Garcia was born and raised in Houston. "I can't see myself leaving Houston, but I do love to travel. If I had to leave and settle somewhere else, it would probably be Venice. The first time I went to Venice was very inspiring, to be able to watch the [boats] come in."
What's Next: "My next big moves are definitely expansion, moving into the international [scene]. I have a number of ideas that I wanted to create, lots of things I want to delve deeper into."
More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera CenterPatrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer