Jorge Garza is a San Antonio artist working primarily in oil pastel and assemblage.
Jorge Garza today works primarily in oil pastels and mixed media assemblages, but over the years, he’s experimented with a lot of different media.
While he was working as an artist, he also worked as a teacher, and he says he learned a lot from that. Teaching at the high school level forced him to expand his own skills.
‘In one period, I’m doing 3D work,’ he explains; ’In the next period I’m doing silk screening; and then in the next period I’m doing watercolors. It allowed me to explore techniques and media and to hone my skills.’
The teaching career wasn’t planned. As a teenager, Jorge knew that he wanted to be an artist. Teaching wasn’t part of that plan; nor, for that matter, was college. Jorge headed for college largely because that’s what his high school friends were doing. And he got a degree in art education because one of his instructors convinced him that teaching was the best way for an artist to combine his craft with earning an income.
But it paid off in other ways.
‘My work gradually began changing and evolving because of the teaching and my experiences with my students,’ he says. ‘Toward the end of my teaching career, I had a better idea of which direction I wanted my work to go, and I owe it all to the teaching experience.’
Today, he creates his finished work in his studio, a separate building at his home in Olmos Park Terrace, but the inspiration comes from outside.
His oil pastel landscapes are based on studies that he does 'plein air,' primarily at a ranch he owns at the foot of the hill country. ‘I’ll do a lot of studies in oil pastel or oil stick, and then, from those studies, I’ll work in the studio to produce larger pieces. My idea and intent is to keep the spontaneity of the plein air studies in the more finished studio pieces.’
And his assemblages are inspired by materials he finds — like numerals once used to advertise prices in signs outside a gas station — and by a general concept of a series that he wants to create.
‘I think in terms of a series, and I think about a possible object or objects I’ve collected to use in that series, and that leads how the piece evolves.’
Something we can expect to see in future works: A few years ago, Jorge bought an entire, disused pipe organ at a giant flea market held twice a year between here and Houston. He’s disassembling it and using parts in his art.
‘I still have tons of material to work with,’ he says.