We had the good fortune of connecting with Diego Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diego, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I would like my legacy to entail a lot of things. I mean it is such a loaded question but I would like my legacy aside from the intellect and emotions I leave behind in my paintings to be that I gave it my best. That I was a genuine and passionate person who tried to make real artwork that moved people… that challenged them to think and feel, you know? That I was ten toes down about the honesty in my artistic voice till the casket. I would like my little brother to look at my work when I am gone and still hear my voice and feel my presence. Or anyone to look at my work and feel that for that matter.

I would like people to remember and feel that I gave my all to my craft out of pure love… and that I was pretty damn good at putting paint emotions onto canvas. It’s funny I just made a painting about this topic actually. I believe to get the most out of life you have to live knowing tomorrow is not promised. Anyone who left a notable legacy lived that way, you know? Whatever comes after you are gone is for the most part out of your control.

So for now I am just focusing on all the energy I can give while I am here. But we will see. Ask me again in 10 years and we’ll see how much closer I am to any of this.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Oh boy these questions are great haha, I really appreciate anyone and everyone who takes the time to read this article for real. Well to start from a technical point my work is a juxtaposition of a few different genres and styles I think. It has elements of surrealism, abstract expressionism and neo expressionism. All of which kind of combined and stirred up through the lens of graffiti. I’ve always been drawn to art and I have done it my whole life but graffiti in my early teens was really the first time I started finding my own ideas and flavor. Before then it was just copying Disney vhs box art or stuff from my favorite manga books or drawing Valentine’s day cards for my mom and things like this.

So all of these elements have really meshed together in a way I feel I can truly call my own. I can take inspiration from Jean- Michel Basquiat, Cecily Brown, Jenny Sayville, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Futura 2000 or anyone like this and they all go through my new mind. I don’t feel tied down to a certain genre and I don’t think I ever want to feel that way. I like taking reference from everywhere in life and culture. I think a lot in music industry terms when it comes to how I execute my projects. Music inspires me just as much if not more so than a lot of fine art I see. I want to be the Michael Jackson or Kanye or Slipknot of my craft. What I mean by that is I wanna take whatever genre of art that God put me here to make and take it to the stratosphere like they did. And I know I will need the wisdom of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the conviction of a Muhammad Ali or the charisma and electricity of a Robin Williams to do that. So again, I really reference life, culture and the human experience to make the paintings I make.

From the point of subject matter I like to think my paintings are studies of emotional and sociological intelligence too. I talk about the most human feelings in the most vulnerable ways I can. Love, loss, grief, guilt, confusion, identity crisis and the finding of one’s self all get discussed through my work. I use children as figure references in my work to personify and act out these feelings and experiences. I do that because I feel it is so much easier for the viewer to pacify all the responsibility the brain tries to take on when looking at a portrait of someone or something like that. Instead of wondering who the man, woman, or person is and what their correlation to me or themselves is they just see a child sized, androgynous human feeling whatever emotion and put themselves right in the paintings. The poems and text I write in the work all give the viewer little context clues on how to digest the paintings and go even deeper.

I think I am most proud of the vulnerability in my work and my ability to be so vulnerable. And that very well may answer two questions in one because that was one of the hardest parts of all this. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t easy being so vulnerable. Everybody and their mother wants to be an “artist” these days. But I’m telling you from experience it is another animal to have your artistry up for public dissection when those 500+ guests pull up to the gallery exhibition. It takes a lot of guts to make really great art that is from the heart. And in a social media driven world there is so much dumb surface level art out there. Sorry to be so blunt but it is true. So much click bait and attempts at instant fame. Full disclaimer I don’t say that from any place of arrogance or anything like I am anyone’s gate keeper. I only say that because I feel all that can sometimes deter a young mind that “wants to make art”. But like my boy Jose always says there is space for everyone to do what they wanna do in this crazy art world. But for me art is meant to move people and inspire you know? Those are the artists I see and respect and want to see win. The ones who make their work from the heart the best they can.

It was definitely a challenge early on to sift through all the noise and find avenues that provided both genuine connections with the viewer and monetary success. But I did it and I quote Tupac a lot and say I overcame “by my faith in God, my faith in the game, and my faith in all good things come to those that stay true”. I think that’s the biggest lesson I have learned along the way and what I want the world to know about my story. That I stay true to who I am and my moral compass and I’ve done that from day one.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmm. If we’re talking about where I am from and it is the summer I’d say my ideal week out here is a weekday in the sun at the beach or on the east end, taking some time to hop into NYC to catch whatever’s going on, then back home on the weekend for a Brunchatu brunch event… and then my house because my roommate and I throw the best parties.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh man that is a long list that would consist of a whole bunch of names! Well first and foremost my childhood home on the North side of Brentwood NY, that gave me a safe space to develop and take this leap of faith. My mother, grandparents, uncle, my little brother and older sister.

On a more professional tip, all my people that have been on this journey with me like Dudley Music, JB, Jason, Kieran and the HAC team, Ivan Orama, Jessica Valentin, Mario and Trav, Supercool Des and Jayson James of All2gthr, just to name a few. I know people like my boys Jose and Flip who have, more recently in comparison, come into my life will stay for a long time and we’ll continue to grow together for sure. And there’s day one homies like Jeff, Justin, Vinny, Matty, Lauren and Saul who have had my back and kept me spiritually in check when I’ve needed it. And on a mentorship level my high school art teacher really helped give me the perspective I needed to succeed at this, she saw things in my talent that I didn’t see at the time. Nicole Franz is crucial to my artistic journey. I mean all these people are, I could go on and on but the people I’ve mentioned really reflect pivotal parts of my life and career as a painter.

Outside of that, for me, anyone who has ever purchased a painting, a ticket to a show or just supported by showing love however they did or do deserves credit. The public who indulge in my work in person or however else really mean a lot to me. These are all blessings I do not take for granted… Oh and I told myself next time I had the chance I would shout out Kitty Marv! Marvin is a childhood friend who had a vision for what I was capable of before anyone else did for real. In high school he gave me a laptop to work on, took my first art portfolio photos for me, got my work featured in stuff and everything. I hope he doesn’t get upset that I still refer to him with that silly nickname haha that’s my bro forever. But again all these people reflect my art and remind me through their support that I am built for this, they’re all family forever.

Instagram: @diegoagc

Image Credits
Felipe Catano Mario Calderon Travis Calderon

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