STUDIO VISIT –Lucia Garzón
Philadelphia, PA, September, 2021
Lucia Garzón is an interdisciplinary artist working in a range of media including but not limited to wood, textiles, print, and video. Lucia graduated from Tyler School of Art in 2018 with a BFA in printmaking. The main themes in Lucia’s work focuses around the intersection between the immigrant values and histories passed on through her family. The resulting work is a celebration of this shared history, which seeks to honor the labors of a family and illuminate connections with Garzón’s identity today. I had the please of interviewing Lucia about her work earlier this month. Our conversation follows.
Interview Between Amy Boone-McCreesh and Lucia Garzón
A: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT STUDIO AND PHILADELPHIA?
L: I’ve been in this studio for a little over a year and a half. My studio mate and I used to have a spot a couple blocks away but we moved here right before the pandemic. I’ve been in Philly since 2014 when I started undergrad.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP OR SPEND YOUR FORMATIVE YEARS?
I grew up in Allentown, PA and then later moved to Bucks County so I was able to experience city and the country life. I had the best of both worlds which in hindsight was really important to me. It allowed me to appreciate the busyness of the city but also really value nature and just being alone.
YOU WORK IN A WIDE VARIETY OF MEDIA. HOW DO YOU DECIDE IN WHAT MEDIUM A PIECE SHOULD EXIST?
The idea usually comes fully formed so from the beginning I kind of know what material I want the work to be in. I picture the piece fully made and then just go from there. Sometimes working like this requires me to have to learn a new skill or learn to manipulate a new material. I really enjoy the learning process, so I don’t let my lack of knowledge get in the way of creating something in a material I’ve never used. I’m not set on achieving any sort of perfectionism, and I think people kinda like that about my work.You can recognize the hand in it. It can be a little janky, but that’s almost the fun of it sometimes. The subject can sometimes feel heavy, but there’s some play with the material because I haven’t been professionally trained to do some of the things my work requires.
TEXTILE ALSO SEEMS TO BE A RECURRING MATERIAL. WAS THAT INTENTIONAL?
I was always attracted to textiles but never really got to explore it because my major was printmaking in undergrad. I enjoyed printmaking but my senior year I felt like I needed to dedicate the rest of my time to trying to learn as many different skills from other majors as possible before I graduated. That’s when I learned how to sew for the first time and really went with it. I bought a sewing machine and started making bags and garments which were mostly unwearable because of my lack of technical skills. Since then I moved towards learning more about woodworking. My grandfather was a cabinet maker and he has a little shop so I’ve enjoyed learning a bit from him and just making things through trial and error. Allowing myself the space to learn all these things, has taken away all the unsatisfied feelings from when I was only creating 2D works.
A LOT OF YOUR WORK SEEMS TO REFERENCE LABOR, BOTH LITERALLY AND IN THE WAY IT’S MADE. WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE?
In a lot of my work I’m trying to elicit the emotion and physicality of what labor is and how I perceive it coming from an immigrant household. I think I have an intrinsic need to be repetitive about the way I create work which also directly relates to the different jobs and trades my family has done for work. I think creating like this allows me to move my hands in similar ways that my family has which honestly feels like therapy. Creating or using materials that relate to these trades allows me to work through and examine the dense histories of my family.
HOW HAS YOUR STUDIO PRACTICE BEEN AFFECTED DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I’ve been really lucky to have this space. We moved in here right before the pandemic–like a week before so we had already locked in this spot. I was still able to create in a safe space alongside my studio mates, but eventually that sort of slowed down because everyone was also dealing with the effects of the pandemic. The excitement of having free time to work kind of went away quickly. It was fun in the beginning for like a month or two and created a lot of work during that time, but then things just felt sad. I also did have to go back to work relatively soon because I can’t do my job from home.
HOW DO YOU COPE WHEN TIMES GET HARD IN THE STUDIO? DO YOU HAVE ANY TRICKS FOR WHEN YOU ARE FEELING DOWN, UNINSPIRED, OR OVERWHELMED?
When things get hard in the studio, it’s usually because I need to step away and take a break. I feel okay doing that. If I’m not feeling good while being here, I feel pretty comfortable walking away for a bit. Sometimes that takes weeks but can also be months. Usually reverting back to smaller and simpler crafts that I can do at home helps me reset.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STUDIO RITUALS OR ROUTINES?
The first thing I do in the studio is tidy up a bit because I always leave it a mess. After that, I feel like I have space to start things, but if things don’t feel like they’re moving then I’ll leave. I like to split up my time here instead of doing long hours because there’s no kitchen and food is always a priority.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING COMING UP THAT YOU’D LIKE TO PROMOTE?
I have a show opening Oct. 29 at Cherry St. Pier. It will be my biggest installation yet.