We had the good fortune of connecting with Garnet Rosario Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Garnet, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I believe all artists who pursue art professionally share this unquenchable desire to be creative. I have always been fascinated by art and story, but in high school, it was made clear that art was not the most lucrative career path and I was discouraged from pursuing it. Since I went to a STEM-focused high school, a lot of my teachers probably thought I was setting myself up to be a starving artist. As a result, I spent my first year of college studying architecture. I thought maybe that would be enough. Maybe that would be enough to satisfy that desire, but I just kept coming back. I kept coming back to drawing, to story, to characters, to adventure. I realized that what I feared more than not having a “good job”, was waking up someday when I was 40 years old and realizing I hated my life because of a decision I was forced to make when I was 17. I wanted to live my life doing the thing that made my heart sing with joy and my mind race with excitement.
Since then, it’s been 5 years, and it’s safe to say my “why” has matured a lot. As I studied illustration and animation, I learned that I had a deep love and appreciation for the diversity of human beings. Every person on this planet has such a unique story to tell. I can’t even begin to explain how overwhelmed I get just thinking about the multitude of stories that have yet to be told, especially from historically marginalized or excluded identities. What connects us and all these perspectives is storytelling we can empathize with, which helps us better understand each other and ourselves. I want to see stories filled with adventure, heartache, suspense, pain, joy, and I want to see them from perspectives we haven’t seen before. I want to be a part of the teams that bring those perspectives to the light. That’s why I’ve continued to pursue an artistic and creative career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I get really excited when I get to showcase art that’s filled with heart, and it makes my art stand out as dynamic and expressive. I love to try new things and draw upon the things I’ve learned. You can get inspired by anything when you’re an artist. I love to take initiative and learn from others. I love to help others grow and achieve. I’m just utterly fascinated by the world around me. I think these are some of the strengths that gave me a shot at interning with Nickelodeon. They help me stand out. It wasn’t easy though. I could have never EVER gotten to where I am today without the guidance and generosity of people in the field. It takes a lot of humility to realize that you have a lot left to learn, and you will always have things to grow in. Having grace on one’s self as an artist is important. It’s easy to compare ourselves and feel like we’ll never be good enough for the things we want to accomplish.
Because of this, I’m really grateful that the animation industry is filled with such kind and open people. Being able to talk about the way you feel to people who understand you is so crucial. It keeps you from spiraling in your own thoughts and teaches you a lot about yourself and life. One of the hardest, and most fruitful, lessons I’ve learned on this journey is that I am allowed to take care of myself and take my time. I am allowed to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moment. It was Jorge E. Ruiz, an animator at Disney, who encouraged young artists like me to “become a disciple of life”. Taking those moments to live my life in the present has helped me become a better artist, as well as a better person. I hope I can continue to share this message. It’s really important for artists – especially younger artists – to remember that your life and your worth is more than just what you do for a living. You have so much life to live!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is going to sound super touristy, but I genuinely adore the Griffith Observatory. Especially if you’re not from LA, you just can’t leave the city without seeing that view. It’s amazing. Other than that, I would want them to experience the things you can’t really get anywhere but in Los Angeles, even if it’s the little things. Just a drive around the city can be special when you realize most people who live in cities don’t get to see a beautiful mountain range in the distance. And this city has so much culture! This one time, my friends invited me to a salsa dancing night at the Autry Museum of the American West. It was so random to me, but we got to explore the museum a bit and the night was filled with music and food and I had a blast! I would want my friends to experience things like that. Also taco trucks. I would take them to so many taco trucks.
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?
First and foremost, I would like to dedicate this to my family. As the eldest daughter of immigrants, I know my parents have sacrificed a lot. They have been immensely supportive throughout this journey and it would have been impossible without their help. My two younger sisters have also been wonderful cheerleaders and they remind me why I care so much about fighting for diverse stories to be told. I also want to thank all the friends I’ve made in the last 2 years (including Leah Metters who recommended me). It’s hard to believe it’s BEEN 2 years since the pandemic started, but the silver lining through all of it has been the incredible peers who have encouraged me to keep chasing my dreams. They’ve also reminded me to have fun along the way. After all, we’re making cartoons. It should be fun! Finally, I want to thank Nickelodeon Animation for giving me my first real step into the industry. Being an intern was such a special experience. It challenged me that helped me grow as a person, but also gave me the chance to meet some of the warmest and kindest people in the world. Thank you all so much for being a part of my journey.
Photos by Micah Linzy-Young and Cristina Rosario. Art by Garnet Garcia.