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A passionate artist returns

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By Mercy Lopez

Gabriel Garcia has a passion for art that has lived in him since he was a young child. Now he wants to help others by expressing themselves through art.

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Garcia, the youngest child of Ralph and Frances Garcia of Las Vegas, is a humble and gentle soul who expresses his inner emotions and imagination on everything he creates. His life has always been filled with some form of art — drawing, crafts and music.

He now brings his knowledge into the classrooms of Luna Community College and is expanding his education as a graduate student at New Mexico Highlands University.

“I feel that Las Vegas is starting to thrive a little more as an art community. I feel like I can contribute to that. I want to bring it to a more forward-thinking and more artsy town,” Garcia said.

Because of his passion for art, Garcia, 23, returned to his hometown of Las Vegas several months ago. He said he wants to leave his mark on the art communities of the area.

His art has been years in the making and an integral part of his life.

“My influence of becoming an artist came from my dad and my maternal grandmother,” Garcia said during a recent interview. “My dad designed the house I live in and I remember as a kid he was able to draw old cards. My grandmother did a lot of crafts. I used to play with her scissors and create things when we went to visit her.”

He credits his mother, Frances, for encouraging him to follow his dreams as an artist.

“My mother cannot draw a stick figure, but she always encouraged me to go after what I want in my art and in life,” Garcia stated.

His creations as an artist are not normal landscape or objects that exist. They cannot be seen as an actual object until Garcia creates the piece using his talents as an illustrator and graphic designer.

“My passion was always to draw things that weren’t there,” he said. “People used to tell me to draw landscapes and I wanted to draw things that didn’t exist. I wanted to create real abstract images that came from my imagination.”

After his 2005 graduation from West Las Vegas High School, Garcia moved to California to attend the Art Institute of California-San Francisco. His artistic contributions can be seen on the 2005 and 2007 yearbook covers for West Las Vegas High School. For a few years he called San Francisco home as he continued his higher education and added to his natural talent in art.

“My parents had taken me on a couple of vacations to San Francisco when I was around 10 and 14,” Garcia said. “I fell in love with the city. It is a very liberal, progressive, free-thinking and accepting city of all walks of life.”

Garcia received a scholarship to the art institute and began his education wanting to study animation.

“I thought that being a fine artist wasn’t going to be lucrative enough,” Garcia said. “Then I realized that technical part was moved into 3D at that point and it wasn’t something that I wanted to do.”

He changed his major to graphic design. He learned it was easier to get name recognized using graphic design compared to animation.

“You can get your name out faster using print or Web design rather than animation,” Garcia said. “In animation you are a drone and in graphic design you can be your own self, have creative freedom. I like to bring my art into the design process.”

Garcia graduated from the Art Institute of California-San Francisco, a few months ago and said he had a vision to bring his knowledge back to his hometown. His artistic portfolio got the award for best portfolio in the graphic design section for his last quarter at the institute. He credits living in San Francisco as his growing up both artistically and emotionally.

“I felt that I had to move to San Francisco to grow up and break out of my shell.” Garcia said. “If you can make it as an artist in San Francisco you can make it anywhere.”

His artistic knowledge is something he wanted to bring back to the area and share with the people. As an instructor at Luna Community College, he works to teach his students the technical part of graphic design and plans to allow them in the future to let their own inner creatively be expressed through their work.

“I feel that art is the most important thing in the world,” Garcia said. “It is not just a science, it is human. Artists can express themselves in their pieces and as people we are happier. Art is very therapeutic and is pouring your soul into it, no matter what the media.”

His visual form of art is also connected to the music that he listens to. His older brother, Abraham, an accomplished guitar player and singer, had a huge influence Garcia’s art. They would listen to types of music that was different compared to what other youngsters during that time were listening to.

“When I listen to music I see patterns and shapes that I can then transpose into a physical medium — painting, sculpture or poster of some sort.”

As an instructor at LCC, roles have changed as Abraham is currently a student of his younger brother at Luna.

“It is great teaching my brother. We have a mutual understanding that we must keep it professional and I am proud of him as he is taking to the class. He is making a good effort to learn the software.”

Garcia enjoys teaching at LCC as it is his way of giving back to the community that he calls home, although he admits that San Francisco is his second home.

He is glad to be home and near his family. The Garcia family is a well-known family that owns and operates El Rialto Restaurant and Abraham’s Tiendita near the Las Vegas plaza. Garcia has an older brother, Daniel, and a sister, Elizabeth Garcia-Delgado, whom he enjoys spending time with now that he returned home.

“Las Vegas has always been home. Coming home, being with my family and being able to contribute back to my hometown — there is a lot of honor in that.”