Through the power of social media and the grace of Jah I stumbled upon the brilliant artwork of Gabriel Garcia Roman. His artwork spoke to the honarary Chicana in me and reminded me of my days in the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen Chicago. I later discovered that his flava runneth ova and he was indeed a native Chicagoan raised on the north-side. I can always spot my people. I began following Gabriel and instantly found him fascinating. Some days, it seemed like he was doing everything I was doing, laying out fabrics, designing, stumbling upon textiles goodies. Other days he was doing everything I wished I was doing, getting his hands dirty, playing with clay, creating jewelry.
Gabriel has quickly become one of my favorite artists. His works speaks volumes to this Cubana and makes me miss my late Colombian husband Andresito and my Mexican bario all at once. The only reason I haven't purchased on of his works is simply because I don't know what to buy! From his necklaces, to his shirts, to his prints everything is fantastic and ties together in his truly Mexican-Amaricón style. His "Queer Icons" series showcases queer people of color with beautiful halos and give honor and visibility to a population rarely shown as such. I posted two of my favorites "Kia" and "Jahmal".
I squealed when Gabriel agreed to answer some questions for us and am highly anticipating the addition of his work to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, Chicago.
See more of his work at http://www.gabrielgarciaroman.com
TT: Where do you call home?
GGR: I currently reside in NYC, Harlem U.S.A. to be exact!
TT: What is your favorite medium or style to work in?
GGR: That's like asking a parent who their favorite child is! I can't name one as they all bring me joy when my hands are moving and creating.
TT: If you could have any talent or super power what would it be?
GGR: My super power would be to be rested while needing very little to no sleep at all, so that I could continue to work on all the projects without needing sleep!!
TT: What inspires you the most?
GGR: I’m inspired by the textures and patterns of my environment, no matter how mundane. The patterns created by light being filtered through a lace curtain, the cracks of paint in an old painting, the texture of the concrete sidewalks, etc.
TT: Is your studio in your home or in a different location?
GGR: My studio is in my home; my kitchen and backyard are where I do a lot of my work.
TT: What do you do to keep yourself healthy?
GGR: I practice yoga to keep me centered, I ride my bike through the crazy streets of NYC to feel alive, and I go out dancing to work out any negative energy out of my body.
TT: Was there ever a time when you almost gave up on creating and if so why?
GGR: I don't think giving up was ever an option or a thought. Creating is the way I communicate and respond to the world and not doing that would surely wither away into nothingness.
TT: What is your creative process?
GGR: My creative process is not overthinking and getting your hands moving. I probably waste a lot of material that way but I find that I waste so much time thinking and overthinking a new idea and lately I have given that up and start working on it immediately. It’s the mistakes I make that help me improve on the project and also a lesson is learned in the process. I also don’t tend to throw things away even if they are “mistakes” because I can reuse them for something else.
TT: How has social media affected your creation process?
GGR: I have been more open to sharing my process with people. Prior to social media I would create work in my own bubble and only my friends would see my work. Since the advent of social media I post not only the final piece but behind the scenes and process shots and videos of whatever project I'm working on. I find that people respond positively when you let them into your process.
TT: How has social media affected your sales?
GGR: Social media has been the vehicle that gives my work visibility. All if not most of the opportunities that I’ve gotten over the last couple of years has been through people connecting via Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr and a lot of that has turned into sales.