Kettle Art brings you the third in a series of interviews with the six artists that are currently showing their work in the “Forces of Nature” exhibit.

Today, we get up close with Karla Garcia.

Enjoy …

Karla M Garcia

 
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
 
Karla – I’m a Dallas artist and graphic designer. I was born in 1977 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States in 1992 to El Paso, Texas. I later moved to Dallas, Texas in 2002 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Advertising and Graphic Design from The University of Texas at El Paso. My interests are painting, cheesemaking, homebrewing, and making things in general.
 
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
 
Karla – I’ve been painting for a long time, but have had several breaks, I’m very happy to be back to my old painting self though.
 
Kettle – When did you first discover your creative side?
 
Karla – When I was very young  I was always painting, although I don’t think I ever paid attention to it, I enjoyed painting as much as playing outside with my friends.
 
 
Isabella
 
Acrylic on Panel
 
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
 
Karla – I’ve taken some classes throughout my life, but not too many. I consider myself to be self-taught.
 
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?

Karla – I interpreted “Forces of Nature” with a playful twist on the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition.  I love this tradition, partly for Posada’s political cartoons and Day of the Dead related lithographs from early 1900s Mexico, but for close personal losses as well, including my older brother and step-father who have both passed away. Day of the Dead is a way to celebrate their memory. Also, being from Juarez and reading about all of the violence going on there right now with the cartels, I chose to portray my skeletons as lighter and happier beings taking care of nature.

Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?

Karla – I wanted to show my paintings on wood panels to get a little extra texture to draw a deeper connection between my skeletons and the natural scenes that surround them.

Seraphina

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?

Karla – My inspiration came from a long love for Day of the Dead tradition in Mexico, also, I’m engaged to a guy that works in an active forensic anthropology lab and handles skeletal remains daily, so I’ve have gotten to see some actual skeletons, which has been pretty fascinating. I’d say that’s a pretty big influence as well.

Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?

Karla – This is my first show at Kettle, yay! I’ve known Frank for a while and have collected art from other shows at Kettle. I love his gallery and what it represents, and I’m honored that my old friend Cheryl invited me to be a part of this show with a group of such fantastic artists.

Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?

Karla – Sometimes, one thinks about nature in the practical sense and can be inspired by its beauty, and not typically think of “death” when they think nature. However, it’s definitely a part of it, so I thought that it would be intriguing to show some interaction between these two life and death “sides” of nature.

Cat Lady

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?

Karla – I wanted to make sure to have some fun with it. I tried to make art that wasn’t too serious, even though my subject of death is often taken seriously. My skeletons are very much alive, if that makes any sense. I look at them as silly guardians that play as they protect nature.

Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?

Karla – I would like the viewers to smile when they look at my pieces. I’m actually in the process of printing a small 20-page book of the paintings with companion short stories. They’re quite silly and I hope people like them.

Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?

Karla – Although death is a force of nature, it does not need to be a negative force. It is part of the cycle of life, and like nature, it can be funny and wonderful, but it can also play tricks on us.

 

Rosalita

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?

Karla – Jose G. Posada, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José David Alfaro Siqueiros, Fernando Botero , Alfredo Ceibal, Basquiat and Matisse. Except for Alfredo Ceibal, these are the artists that I grew up learning about. I met Ceibal through my uncle. He’s a wonderful artist from Guatemala. His work conveys a great sense of humor that’s stuck with me since I first saw it more than 10 years ago.

Kettle – If you could collaborate with another artist (from the past or present), who would that be & why?

Karla – I think that would have to be Frida Kahlo. She’s been sort of my hero since I was a kid. My mom gave me a book with her biography, which was my very first introduction into art.  I don’t know if I could keep up with that quirky-amazing brain of hers.  I bet she’d laugh at me since I have her portrait tattooed on my arm!

Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.

Karla – Funny, introverted, creative, worker-bee, and adventurous.

Lola

Acrylic on Panel

Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?

Karla – Determined, creative, inquisitive, quirky and analytical.

Ms Clementine

Acrylic on Panel

“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.

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