We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve never considered a life or a career outside of the arts. Since I was young I was encouraged to create, as many children are, through drawing/scribbling or painting/splattering or sculpting/smashing play-doh. As I got older that creativity was always present and I was fortunate to come from an immigrant family that encouraged pursuing any interest I wanted as long as I was dedicated and worked hard at it. While I didn’t know exactly what path I wanted to pursue in the arts, I knew I would probably have my fingers in a lot of different artistic pies.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make analog collages with scissors and glue. I love the mixing of media, the mashing of textures, the layers of images and the surrealism it can create. I began pursuing collage in a more dedicated manner when I was doing my undergraduate degree in Film Production. I took a a digital imagemaking class and created large format collages with Photoshop. For several years the series had a life of modest success with exhibits and sales. When the work ran its course, my day job had switched gears into styling in fashion and cinema. This was a long period of gestation with little to no work produced. I was applying unsuccessfully for an MFA and arts grants for digital based works that were not fully formed ideas in my head. I was unmoored artistically. A friend who was having great success in the art world was hearing my woes and just counselled me to pick up a small sketchbook and create tiny images, sketches, with a set time limit, to take off the pressure of indecision and just create. A jumble of awful small analog collages filled the first few pages, slowly yielding to images that resonated with me. These were the seedlings of my current practice and artistic style.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If all establishments were open in Montreal (post-COVID) we would definitely hit up: a bike ride along Lachine Canal after stocking up on provisions at Atwater Market. A walk in the Mile End, stopping for pastries at Guillaume, coffee at In Gamba, bagels at either Fairmount or St-Viateur, and great wine and small plates at Larry’s. We are spoiled with amazing restaurants in Montreal! We would check out museums and galleries like Station16, Youn, de Bellefeuille, Parisian Laundry, COA, MMFA, MAC, Phi Centre… too many to name! If it’s summer the city hosts many outdoor festivals including the art focused Mural Festival. We’d also squeeze in a session (or two) at Blocshop, a great indoor bouldering gym also with excellent coffee.
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?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to the art education graduate students at Concordia University (Montreal/Tiohtià:ke, QC, Canada) who taught Saturday morning art classes to youth. I was in elementary school when I attended these classes. I have fond memories of the teachers and techniques we were taught. They have stayed with me ever since.