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

Hi Dillan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

When I think of risk the word decision comes to mind. I’m a person who make calculated and impulsive decisions all the time. I work hard to not be indecisive because it distracts me from my original intentions but it really depends on the situation. Following this metric has helped me commit to people, places, and opportunities. I’ve also learned not to doubt my decisions regardless of the risk level, standing by them every step of the way. For instance, I’m an emerging artist pursuing art as a career. There isn’t a prescribed path for me to follow so I’m creating my own. I like it that way. The uncertainty and sense of mystery in my art path keeps me driven. I know their is a small chance I may make a decent living as a professional artist. However, I’m still willing to take the risk and see where the art takes me. Art and life decisions have all sorts of risks but beyond it lay an abundance of opportunities. Taking risks means that I won’t always get it right but I’m not afraid of making mistakes and moving on. Mistakes are simply part of a risk I took and now I’ve learned something useful to apply in my next decision. I’ll never know whom I might influence or how effective my art can become if I don’t take the risk to find out. 

Currently, I’m a practicing artist who works in retail full-time. I divide my energy equally to be present at both spaces in one day. It’s an exhausting task and at times I risk not giving my full attention to one specific place. Sometimes, I’m there physically but mentally I’m elsewhere. Although, when I’m working retail, I strategize my tasks and routines to deliver quality work. As for my art, I’ve noticed I produce work in relatively small steps each week. This process feels like pedaling on a bicycle at a slow pace. The gears are moving but I would like to control the speed more often. In the studio, I may draw, paint, write, frame, measure and mount multiple artworks, create props, photograph artwork and so forth. When I’m “in the zone” a strong flow of rejuvenating energy opens the gate for creativity. Somehow, many ideas come into my head and I absorb the moment before any interruptions arise. In other words, I build a high level of concentration in my head to get the creativity flowing. When I’m required to leave this headspace, I try to think about what I did to get there in the first place. I try repeating the process I did previously but it isn’t always the same. For this reason, shifting my headspace into a less stimulating activity can be difficult. Working in retail is what you make of it. I don’t just want to be another worker so I’ve taken the time learn new skills like becoming a quality salesman, network with staff and guests, run a business, market products, and communicate effectively with various audiences. These skills are useful in any field and are certainly transferrable to the business side of art. Being on someone else’s time is hard to balance but it’s a risk that I’m taking to get closer to my art and travel goals. 

Aside from art and retails goals, I have a deep passion for teaching. I’ve taught art workshops and English as a Second Language (ESL) briefly at a local adult school. I love how rewarding teaching can be. It’s different from making art making but it actually helps me think and see my art through the lens of education. I also love expanding my cultural horizons and philosophies of life through traveling. As a 27-year old, I think about the direction in which my life is heading. I’m also considering all the risks that come with choosing one particular path. I’m wondering if there is a profession out there that combines art, teaching and traveling. I have plans to teach English abroad when the world opens up again. In doing so, I hope to connect with international artists, curators, and local galleries. The job opportunities may be better. At this moment, I don’t have a clear vision of how teaching abroad will aid my creative endeavors. However, I have full confidence that the detour in my art path is needed to build me for the next stage of my life. Exploring the possibilities of new art, better job opportunities, and new cultural perspectives is another risk I’m willing to take to find out. 

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Over the years, I’ve learned to be clearer about the media, materials, subject matter and message I’m interested in. I now pay closer attention to how I communicate my message with diverse audiences. 

My most recent body of work (produced in 2020) is comprised of several drawings, paintings, photographs and a wood sculpture, focusing primarily on craftsmanship. The pieces can be exhibited individually, in groups of two or collectively. I thought this was a neat feature to explore. Materially, I used traditional art materials to drawing sculptures from my imagination, paint perfect representations of indigenous artifacts, photograph landscapes with asymmetrical compositions, and craft a small-scale sculpture using various lengths of wood to emphasize shape, texture and volume. Thematically, I spoke about the misrepresentation of indigenous cultures and artifacts in art institutions, accessibility of  “high art” or “museum level art” for youth in low-income-communities in Los Angels, and designed interactive sculptures to be exhibited in public parks, libraries and sidewalks for La County residents to enjoy. As a result, the body of work has been created to strengthen my traditional skills and allow me to explore new ways to exhibit artwork. The work in 2021 will explore sculpture in materials such as concrete, wood, metal, plaster, and ceramic.

Regarding process, I repurpose furniture into pedestals. Essentially, I want to change the way an audience views an art object. For instance, I have designed four sculptures (inspired by the pyramidal sculpture posted on the interview) to be exhibited in public spaces. I’ve been thinking about traditional museum pedestals and like how the pedestal creates a separate world for the artwork to exist in. Although, I challenge this common method of presenting artwork by using furniture such as cabinets, shelves, doors and tables instead. I paint them white or any other color of choice just as you would on a traditional pedestal. In the transformation process, the object changes from one function to another. I find that versatility in an object is highly desirable for exhibiting my sculptures. At times, I leave “intended pedestals” in their original color and texture. It really depends on the work I want to exhibit as well as the message. Most of all, the process is really engaging. There’s definitely an abundance of “play” that occurs. 

Next time you are out and about, pay close attention to how an art object or product is being presented. It could be a retail store, restaurant, or art museum. Ask yourself why someone chose to show you what you’re seeing. Observe how it makes you feel in that instant. In short, presentation really does change the manner in which you view an art object or product. And it makes the difference in sales!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, they have set foot in the right direction if they are visiting Los Angeles. There are lots of great art museums, restaurants and outdoor activities to visit year round. On the first three days, we would visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I’m fascinated with this great art hub. You literally get to explore art from around the world. Each building has a cultural theme and art pertaining to that culture(s). I think it helps immerse you into the viewing experience. However, the experience would be elevated if they showed artists from different cultures that produced work during that era. I also appreciate LACMA’s outdoor and interactive sculptures, which make me think of the evolution of time through art. It’s a relaxing place to get away from the cities fast-paced rhythm. Furthermore, adjacent to LACMA is the Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits. You can learn about ice age animals and visit a natural tar lake just a few yards away from the museum entrance. Even more, you can go and see archeologists working onsite throughout the park. It’s mind-blowing to see the bones of a woolly mammoth being unearthed beneath the ground and see how well they’ve been preserved. On the following three days, we would venture into the less trafficked corners of greater Los Angeles. Therefore, we’ll surf against the soft waves in Malibu beach, hike the San Bernardino Mountains, resting to watch the sun melt into the vibrant yellow and reddish hues, and bike the Rio Hondo trail as we listen to our favorite music playlist. 

On the very last day, we would go to a restaurant called Guelagetza, located in Koreatown Los Angeles. It has savory Oaxacan dishes that will make you wish you were actually there. I would then introduce them to Mezcal as we enjoy live music. If they are in the mood to have more drinks, I’ll take them to the arts district. This art community has all kinds of great breweries as well as up-and-coming art studios, galleries, and large-scale murals skillfully painted on the sides of traditional and modern buildings. Hopefully they don’t drink so much so they can remember the day! This is exactly how I picture a one-week travel experience in Los Angeles. 

Alright, so let’s jump right in! 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 a person, group, organization, book, etc that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I want to give a very special thanks to Ricardo Garcia, Raul Baltazar, Rocio Veliz, Roberto Del Hoyo, SANO, Ramon Muñoz, Dan McCleary, Luis Serrano, and Fabián Cereijido for all the advice, support and mentorship I’ve received over the years. I also want to thank all the people who- by the will of the universe- came into my life for a short period of time, shaping how I think, view, and position myself in the world. And finally, to those who’ve stayed in my life, supporting me in paving my art path so that I share my gifts with others.

Website: www.dillangarcia.com

Instagram: dillan_garcia93

Facebook: Dillan Garcia

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