Art can never be rushed. This is probably why it took Jeff Garcia a week to create his parol, and why getting to know Jeff took equally as long. Traditionally, a parol is made of bamboo sticks, various kinds of paper, glue, and a bulb or candle to light it up in the middle. However, the word ‘traditionally’ is not in Jeff’s vocabulary.
Over the span of almost a week - it took a trip to F-13 (a gallery he works at to help out a friend), conversations about his crazy hair, mock interviews done by his colleagues, and learning about his preference for winter clothing to get a peek into the brain of the bespectacled artist Jeff Garcia.
Fact 1 about Jeff:
“I don’t like throwing things out”, Jeff says, which explains his choice of materials for his parol. His piece that towers at over six feet tall is made of a faucet head, various toys, doll heads, condiment bottles, planks, and pieces he cut from his previous prints.
Described as “visually appetizing” by a passer-by who saw his parol in the making, the lady inquired if his parol was for sale (as other artist-commissioned parols were up for auction at the Parol Paaralan event last December 19). Unfortunately for the public, this piece was not, and in one week, will be flying with him to Japan to be featured in various shows of Garcia’s works.
Fact 2 about Jeff:
“My real name is actually M. Jeffrey Garcia.”
“Does ‘M’ stand for Modesto?”, I ask.
“That’s actually the closest anyone’s ever guessed!” Jeff says. Apparently, it is a secret only a few close friends and his family are lucky to know.
“How old are you?” I ask.
In reality, 26-year-old Jeff is a former breakdancer, self-proclaimed botanist (he fell in love with the Staghorn Fern during a trip to the Philippines), and a year-round (despite the -20˚ temperatures) cyclist. He can be found at Contemporary Textile Studios where he teaches screen-printing classes and holds open workshops or at Halo-Halo, a personal studio where he works on various projects with his fellow artists. A part-time mentor of CLUTCH, a free 6-month arts-based program for young Filipino women held by KAPISANAN, he has inspired many to express themselves through his chosen form of art. In addition to this, former collaborations with KAPISANAN include the The Kilusan Collective and being a featured artist at KULTURA, an Annual Filipino Arts Festival. Jeff`s most recent work with KAPISANAN is the parol. “You know what the best thing about KAPISANAN is? There’s a hardware store right across it.” With that, Jeff heads out to buy screws and bolts.
Fact 3 about Jeff:
Jeff’s hair is all natural, and does not use any product to keep it that high. He likes mangos and dreams of going back to the Philippines and living on a farm someday.
Fact 4 about Jeff:
Jeff’s art ranges from pizza boxes to wearable prints to installations that tower over people, yet his art is not confined to tangible forms. Described as a “caring and hardworking mentor who teaches you more than you’ll ever need to know” by his co-op student, meeting Jeff is the inspiration any young budding artist needs, because he challenges you to express yourself in ways you’ve never thought of. Asked why he chose print-screening of all forms of art, he said “When it’s good, it’s great, when it’s bad, it’s bad.”
For more about Jeff Garcia and his art, check out http://www.mangopeeler.blogspot.com