I’m a sucker for cool art. And when I came across the art of Monica Kim Garza on Instagram I got heart eyes! I got pretty curious about the lady behind the art so after stalking her account a bit more I asked her if I could interview her. Luckily she said yes! Get to know Monica Kim Garza (27) a little bit better…
The Publisized: Where are you from? And what is the story behind your art?
Monica Kim Garza: “I was born in New Mexico, but raised in Georgia. I went to college in SF, California and am currently living back in Georgia. Right now I am just focusing on my art. I’ve been painting and drawing since I was able. I loved it as a child and just kept going. It’s been an evolution of my practice, studies, and life experiences.”
What inspires your art?
“I get a lot of inspiration from colors. But also culture, nature, and my life. My favorite artists are Gustav Courbet, Caravaggio, Gauguin, Frida Kahlo, Matisse, and traditional cultural historic arts.”
Is the woman portrayed you or an ‘imaginary’ woman?
“In a way she is imaginary, but also me. I don’t think of my face or body exactly on each painting, but I think of my situation. At times, I think of my friends or family. So I guess some are self-portraits in a way…. but not directly. I like it to be open.”
What’s the most powerful piece you’ve made so far?
“I have two paintings that really speak to me that I have made. One being this 69 painting, a blue man and golden girl doing 69 on a baby pink background. I made it in 2010 when I was in college. I love that painting still, just because the colors and kind of abstractish shapes. It also just reminds me of how innocent I was back then and how I was kind of just getting into my sexual being. It was a reflection of one of my ex-boyfriends.
The other painting that I don’t think is my ‘best’, but it is personal to me. It’s a direct self portrait of myself crying in bed. I have this book NOA NOA next to me and a painting of me, done by my friend, in the background. That friend committed suicide, and he was why I was crying So, I made that piece in reflection of his death and what he meant to me. I just wanted to have a self portrait of that feeling, to kind of release some of my mourning I suppose.”
Do you feel like self-love is an important inspiration for your art?
“In terms of art, I don’t know. But for myself, to a degree. Some of my paintings are about insecurities as well as self-love. But I think in general, in life, self-love is necessary. It will give you confidence and block all that shit that comes with life. My art is drawn from my own experiences. Many of my beach scenes, are reflections of times I went to the beach. And I have some about friends as well as past lovers. And others just about being a woman.”
‘Having a healthy and happy mind is so important in maintaining a great image of yourself’ – Monica Kim Garza
Why did you decide to share them online?
“I actually had quit painting for like three years after college and then I restarted when I moved back to the US from Korea. I kind of wanted to see if I could enter the art world but had no idea how, and in Atlanta the art scene isn’t popping and definitely not for my style. So I had some friends insist that I take to the gram. And so I did. Sometimes I wonder if people will like it… but I gotta just make what’s real to me. If I die Van Gogh, then at least I did what I wanted. As far as using IG, it has proven to be a way to share my art worldwide.”
Can you share some insights about your personal journey when it comes to self-love? And does your art add to your self-care/self-love?
“I’ve had certain images of what I’d like to look like, but in the end it’s about being healthy. And right now I feel healthy, so I feel great inside and out. All of those feelings come out in my art for sure, just because it’s a daily struggle to be confident with your body, especially when there’s so many people with plastic surgery or body enhancements that don’t come out and say it. Photoshop, etc. So, I think there needs to be healthy in your mind and body for everything to come full circle. Having a healthy and happy mind is so important in maintaining a great image of yourself.”
What are the things that make you happy? What inspires you in life, and why?
“I really love the beach. I love the ocean and the sun and the sand. It’s very therapeutic to my soul. I love being outside in good weather. I love music and good food. I also love funny people. There’s nothing like a laugh.”
My tagline is: Happy is not a dress size. Can you relate to that?
“For sure. Happiness can come from so many things. I don’t think a number should dictate anything. I personally never weigh myself. I just look in the mirror. I feel like numbers can fuck with you. But, I really think it is important to understand that images being portrayed on media are misleading. Unsaid photoshop, body enhancers, body supplements ass injections, lip injections, plastic surgery, colored contacts, bleached skin, etc. Things like this give me, and others, insecurities and make us want to strive to have that, thus getting surgery ourselves or working hard for something that may not naturally happen.”
‘We all have different body types, and I think we should all find our own confidence in what we have and be proud of it’ – Monica Kim Garza
“We all have different body types, and I think we should all find our own confidence in what we have and be proud of it and not let other’s effect the way we look ourselves. It’s hard to find happiness in these facades that exist. It has made me insecure for sure. But I just have to move past it and give myself self- affirmations to be happy within and I hope others can do that too. I try and meditate a bit everyday and I also tell myself to know that I am worthy, to know that I am capable, that I can do this, and that with patience and being a good person good things will come. I tell myself to be my best and to stay positive always. You are worthy. You can do whatever you put your mind to if you stay positive and dedicated.”