Kirsty Garcia

Growing up, art was one of the only subjects I’d be 100% engaged in and excelled at. Choosing to study Art and Design at Highlands College as my next step was an easy choice to make!

After graduating from College, I carried on with my artwork as a hobby but I was striving to do something with my work rather than it just sitting in a portfolio. With this in mind I began applying for as many art competitions, events and projects as much as possible with the ambition to try and get my work seen.

Whilst not always being successful, it gave me more determination to push myself further, it made my work stronger and I never stopped applying- being stubborn is one of my traits hahaha!

I’ve had a lot of high moments but I learnt to not take it personally if my work wasn’t selected and that I just had to keep trying, but most importantly to create work that I loved to create and to not be put off to do something different.

In the past I’ve been advised to paint landscapes as they sell easily, however I’ve never enjoyed painting them as I like to create more spontaneous and unusual paintings. Selling work is amazing, but I’ve always been very mindful to stay true to myself, to my work and to keep creating what I love whether it sells or not.

The turning point for me was when I applied to be part of the Skipton Art series in 2015 where I was able to take part in events and exhibitions. This is when I seen my work in a professional way for the first time and it gave me more focus and motivation to keep pushing my work further.

After the Skipton Art Series in 2015, I was really hooked on exhibitions, events and festivals so I continued to take part in Skipton whilst discovering other events to take part in. This really helped me to develop my work and gave me the confidence to keep creating and experimenting. It also allowed me to meet other artists and feel part of a group which was amazing! I highly recommend Artists applying for the Skipton Art Series as it opens up so many opportunities.

However, further down the line I found I didn’t have a specific style or identity as I was creating a little bit of everything. My work consisted of paintings, drawings, clothing and bag designs and I started to feel a little lost with my work and not quite knowing what direction I was taking it in.

This was quite a worrying phase but looking back I can see that without all the experimenting and different styles that were on the go, I wouldn’t of naturally found the style I have today. Learning to trust the path you are on is so important. It is easy to worry too much about how things will turn out, but you just have to trust yourself and enjoy the process (which is easier said than done!)

Whilst trying to explore my style I felt really inspired and influenced by abstract artists from around the world especially Australia and America, which made me eager to create bright and vibrant ink paintings. Acrylics have always been my main medium to use when painting so switching to inks was a completely different ball game!

They are unpredictable, uncontrollable and totally spontaneous. I fell in love with this way of painting as not knowing the end result is so exciting and extremely freeing. It allows you to make mistakes and not be too precious with your work. This process has taught me so much and I have finally found my own style and identity as an abstract painter. Combining spray paints with my ink paintings is something I have started doing as I love to create contrast and depth and spray paint adds edge and texture.

There are not many artists in Jersey that use the same inks, materials and mediums as me so it can feel a little lonely at times which is why seeking out art groups is so beneficial as it brings you closer to other artists regardless of styles. Instagram is an amazing way to connect with other artists from all around the world and has been a vital tool in my process. It opens your eyes to so many different styles and the art community is priceless!

Because I can’t buy much of my equipment and mediums locally, I have to rely heavily on buying online. This has it’s ups and downs, so when things go missing in the post or takes longer than expected to be delivered it can be a let down and can slow down work progress from time to time.

Along with this, being an abstract painter can be a little difficult in Jersey where landscape based art is so popular and at times it does feel that other styles can be overlooked. But I am very positive about our art scene moving forward and bringing in new styles- it just takes a bit of time!

For me, a big struggle is the lack of studio space! I have been looking for a studio for a couple of years now and the search is still on. This means all of my paintings are done on the floor at home and the space I have is very restricted. All of my art equipment is tucked away everywhere rather than having everything set up properly which can put a damper on getting motivated to paint.

It feels like it holds back my creativity because I am wanting to scale up my work but I do not have the space to do so. I am also very aware that I can’t get paints and inks everywhere so having to be careful can also make me feel too controlled. However, I make the most out of what I do have and I am very grateful I am able to paint at all.

By day I am a Teaching Assistant and all of my artwork is created in my spare time. I absolutely love my job and feel so lucky that I am able to pursue my art career too. As you can imagine, it’s none stop running around from one job to the next but I do love the buzz and chaos that comes along with being an artist. There really are a lot of ups and downs within the Art Scene, there is a huge amount of organising and getting yourself ‘out there’ so it’s not as easy or straightforward as it looks but it is all 100% worth it!