A native of Albuquerque’s South Valley, Eric J. Garcia imbues political art with personal experience.
Albuquerque, NM | ericjgarcia.com | @elmacheteillustrated
Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Eric J. Garcia’s playful modes of political confrontation manifest in prints, sculpture, murals, and installation art. His artistic voice carries the sensibilities of Mexican muralists and U.S. comic book illustrators. This blend of powerful largesse and light-handed satire—elements that have caused major social impact throughout history—puts Garcia at the forefront of political artists working in New Mexico today. He collaborates across the country and internationally as a core member of the printmaking collectives Instituto Gráfico de Chicago and the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.
Woven throughout Garcia’s commentary is the disillusion he experienced during and after his time in the U.S. Air Force. War Nest (2016) is a circular sculpture made with wooden guns. At four feet high and twelve feet wide, it is large enough to crawl inside, but you wouldn’t want to: wooden panels stuck through the center threaten to impale.
“The main idea of War Nest is that it is a metaphor of our own nurtured violent society of the United States,” Garcia says. “This nest is the habitat that has incubated a society that is militarized and weaponized. And we see this play out every day with all the gun violence, mass shootings and abundance of arms that floods our streets,” Garcia says.
The personal often meets the political in Garcia’s work. Sometimes, as with War Nest, the result is sharp-edged. Garcia’s tender side comes through in other works with humor and an unmistakable affection for people.
“In my lithograph print of my late cousin Jose [Maria Perea III],” Garcia says, “I not only memorialize this man’s great achievements, but document a cultural history of New Mexico that is no longer known, much less practiced.”
The artist gifts readers that history with A Journey Through New Mexico, a book Garcia published with his sister Judy Garcia. And this summer the windows of Printed Matter in New York City will feature an installation by Garcia and Aaron Hughes, commissioned as a veterans’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.