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Naked and free: Twin meets Monica Kim Garza

24.11.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Monica Kim Garza’s paintings have the feel of lazy untouchable bliss. In her colourful world indulgent, semi nude or stark-naked women go about their business without a care – chronicling the everyday life of the artist herself. The scenes include drinking tea at home, playing basketball and having sex. Her voluptuous ladies are not self-portraits though, nor are they from any specific place or culture; they are more like an embodiment of Monica’s Mexican-Korean-Vagabond-aura. Throughout the years she’s moved around a lot. Her years of traveling to faraway places like Korea, Thailand and Peru have left traces in her work. It wasn’t much more than a year ago that she decided to move back home to the small town just south of Atlanta, Georgia to be close to her a family and to finally focus solely on her hibernating desire to paint.

Twin caught up with Monica to talk chicken wings, sensuality and balancing abstraction.

At the time I was living in New York and I was working a regular job. I felt kind of, I don’t know, kind of suffocated. It was too much concrete.

I started to make some artwork and I thought to myself “oh this is my dream. I should try to pursue it.” But New York is so expensive, and I couldn’t paint and work at the same time – so I just decided to move in order to afford to be more creative. I moved in with my parents and I worked part time at a chicken wing restaurant. It was really sad.

I can totally imagine a painting with one of your girls eating chicken wings.

I was eating a lot of chicken wings.

'i smoke when i drank', 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

‘i smoke when i drank’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

Your work is very sexy regardless of the situation depicted, a girl on an exercise bike is just as hot as one of a couple having sex. Do you consider your work sensual?

In think there is sensuality in the sense that the characters in my paintings are free. There is a kind of confidence when you feel free and I think that it’s sexy. You have this sensuality when you’re not burdened by anything and maybe that’s the feeling I’m putting there.

What do you think is so captivating with naked women lounging about in everyday situations?

Maybe the fact that there is not that much fashion, it is so free. I think even men can relate to it, it’s just like a human connection. Maybe people can relate or feel because they can relate to who I am as a person. In a way many of us have experienced the same situations, or can see something similar to it in the paintings.

'basketbol', 2017 | © © Monica Kim Garza

‘basketbol’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

What do you like about the female form?

The reason I like the female form is because of the shape. I’ve always really been interested in geometric shapes, and for me the female form is perfect. You can move it in so many ways. If you really looked at a woman you could create a box within some portion of the body, or a circle for the breast, or even a rectangle under them. Whereas the man’s body is a little bit harder. More straight lined. You don’t get all these great geometric shapes.

Is that why you keep coming back to the same motif?

To be honest I just come back to it because it is so easy, it’s something obvious to me. My main focus as an artist is much more on colour, contrast, medium and composition. The motif is just so clear to me that I’m free to explore other artistic aspects of painting, I’m trying to find this balance of being abstract and not abstract. I’m always trying to see how far I can push it.

You mentioned that you keep five to ten paintings on rotation, constantly jumping from one painting to the next. How does this way of working inform your paintings?

Normally when I finished one painting the next one that I go to will have some kind of inspiration from the one before, some kind of element or colour. The reason that it takes so long for me to paint anything is because I change the colours too many times. I just can’t decide.

'2 handlers, 1 curator', 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

‘2 handlers, 1 curator’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

Your women are happy, confident, curvy and of colour, that speaks to a lot of people. But if I’m right you’re not consciously trying to give a more nuanced view of women?

I definitely get a lot of questions about body shape and skin colour, but for me it’s never been done consciously. My main focus is to create these beautiful paintings with geometric shapes and colours I like. But I’m happy to hear any positive feedback on anything.

Have you become more conscious after hearing these comments?

Actually a little bit. I do think about what people say sometimes, and it encourages me to go forward with my love for colour, abstraction and shapes. It’s almost allowing me to do more, because I’m telling myself not to be scared and to do anything in my work. But I don’t necessarily want to be a spokes person. I just really, more than anything, want to be a great painter. Almost desperately.

 

Monica Kim Garza will show her latest work December 6th at Untitled Art fair in Miami.

 

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