Monica Garza likes curvy women. Her work, which spans from ceramicist to painter, celebrates the beauty of the healthy female body. Primarily in the nude, her figures passionately reflect her roots and heritage, Mexican and Native American on her father’s side and Korean on her mothers. She places her luscious models in contemporary situations, like on motor bikes and surfboards. That would be a sight. We had a chance to chat with Monica about her style. Check it out!
LF: Let’s start with the nudity. There is a nude figure in almost every one of your pieces. What’s with all of the skin?
MG: It feels free and natural. Untainted.
LF: It’s interesting, typically in the modern age we are plastered with imagery of tall slender women. You’ve chosen to embrace the curves. Why?
MG: I’ve always liked large geometric shapes and I see those within the female body. I’ve always appreciated a curvier body. I think Salma Hayek is the perfect example of body blessed by God.
LF: There is an indigenous element to your characters and settings. What inspired this?
MG: My dad’s Mexican and has some Native American in him so he always had that art and decor around me, which was a huge inspiration in my characters. We also have a lot of Korean antiques because my mom is Korean. I think that combo has nourished my artistic style. I’ve also traveled and lived in other countries which has continued to inspire me.
LF: Your work spans from painting to ceramics to mixed media. What’s your favorite medium and what are the challenges of working in so many different mediums, if any?
MG: I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to be a ceramicist and a painter… but I started off as a painter so I guess I’m more attached to that. And I can lay down paintings a lot faster. Mixed media is fun too. Very crafty. I feel like every image I create can be said a thousand times and by mixing it up it allows me to speak in a different tone. It’s like doing a remix. I don’t really see any challenges in doing these other than my hands being tired.
LF: I am intrigued by your project Hangeul, CONSONANTS from the Korean alphabet. How did you conceive the idea for this?
I haven’t finished that project yet… but I will… haha. I moved to Korea after college for 2 years and the entire time I was there I didn’t “make art”. I painted my nails as an outlet but I was too busy to make a painting or whatever. I always had ideas inspired by me being in Asia thoough.
During my life there, I had an idea to make something that represented my Koreanness and thought the alphabet was perfect, because it had the geometric shapes that I had previously used in my art, and could just throw my characters into the shapes. When I returned to the US I started finishing that idea onto paper. And I guess I’m still working on that.
LF: The nail art you’ve done is quite a project. How is using the fingernail as a canvas?
MG: It’s cool to do designs and challenge myself on a super tiny canvas. It’s a tedious task.
LF: Tell us your best travel story.
MG: I was lucky to travel to a lot of countries but I backpacked through most of them which was definitely exhausting but adventurous too. I had the privilege to volunteer in Kenya and Peru and those experiences are unforgettable because there is nothing like impacting someone’s life and having them impact yours. Words or pictures can’t describe that feeling. Thailand probably brings me the happiest memories because I went a few times and each time I never wanted to leave. The beaches are beautiful and the food is BOMBBBBBB.
LF: What’s your favorite destination?
MG: Anywhere that has a clean beach and turquoise water. No jelly fish.
LF: What inspires you these days?
MG: Beds, fruit, nature, and the sun.
LF: What gets you off, literally or figuratively?
MG: Literally… a dude, preferably one that I love, or I guess myself… Figuratively, laughing, listening to good ass music, and eating a bomb ass meal.
LF: How FAST do you live?
MG: Slow motion for me.