Few people can say that they were born into the artistic lifestyle, this is not the case for artist Camilla Rose Garcia. Born from a film producer father and a muralist mother in 1970, Garcia quickly embraced her artistic talents. By the age of 14, she was apprenticing with her mother, helping with murals and developing her skills. Her mother, sister, and Garcia would frequent Disneyland, close to their Orange County home, this became a source of Garcia’s inspiration.
there is no age when you must let go of childhood ideas
Garcia’s parents divorced when she was just a child, her mother took care of Camilla and her sister, supporting them with her murals. As a child, Garcia was fascinated by magic. For the entire span of a year, Garcia found a four leaf clover everyday and had her mother press them in a book for her. Ironically, this “lucky book” has since been lost. She was also obsessed with finding the door to Narnia, this perseverance shows her imagination and her longing to explore the world, both of which have become apparent in her work. At the age of 14, Garcia had to part with many of her cherished childhood possessions, this may be why her painting still focus on the memories from her childhood, such as her family trips to Disneyland.
The punk music she played with The Real Minx coupled with her love for magic and made their presence known in the Disney inspired paintings she now creates.
By 1992, Garcia had received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design. She followed this up by completing her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of California at Davis two years later. She returned home after graduating, and finding herself bitter at the world, started a band called The Real Minx. Though she had some success with her band, it seemed her longing to capture the world through art would catch up with her two years later. The punk music she played with The Real Minx coupled with her love for magic and made their presence known in the Disney inspired paintings she now creates. Her work often touches on the violence that exists within empires and the failures of capitalist utopias. The different races embodied in her work are said to signify the lack of exploration she experienced as a youth.
Her work is a combination of the beloved tales of her youth with a surrealism that twists the mind and beckons it to ask ‘if that’s what Alice should have looked like to begin with?’ Garcia produces small toys that go with her paintings, almost as if letting the world know that there is no age when you must let go of childhood ideas. Though she uses bright colors in her paintings, Garcia’s work appears very dark because of the way she matches different tones and colors. The final effect looks whimsical, not quite gothic, and slightly morbid. Her creations are known for large, sad eyes and exaggerated figures. These themes are also seen in her own illustrated interpretations of Snow White and Alice in Wonderland.
Garcia’s work is part of a contemporary underground art movement known as Pop Surrealism. Other artists within this genre, Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr, and the Clayton Brothers submit paintings full of chaos, angst, frustration, uncertainty, and a societal disapproval. Artist like Garcia intend to expose the myths embedded within the imagery of pop culture.
In 2013, Garcia was part of the “Black Moon,” a show which featured her and three other contemporary female artists. Garcia’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Flaunt, BLAB!, Juxtapoz, and in Modern Painter’s magazines. LACMA and the San Jose Museum of Art house permanent collections of her work. Visit her official site here.