South Jersey Artist Feature: Tilly Garcia
For Hispanic Heritage Month, SJCA is delighted to highlight artist, Tilly Garcia. Garcia is an artist based in Ocean County, New Jersey known for her haunting, ethereal paintings and drawings of transcendental spaces and portraits of natural specimens. Garcia attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and has exhibited in Cryptic Gallery (NY), Hive Gallery (LA), and participates in pop-up shows at Historical Smithville Artwalk, Lunar Faire, and more.
Dark Academia, digital painting, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.
Tell us about your practice.
Garcia: Studio of Spirits is art and design about the natural and supernatural. I have always had an affinity for the mysterious side of things, and I explore that in my artwork. Working with nature has become my primary focus, rehabbing the small plot of land I have to include as many native species as possible. I regularly photograph my garden, documenting the tiny ecosystem I have created - and I study which plants and animals visit. I collect seeds from my sunflowers, dry flowers, preserve bones, and study spiderwebs- keeping track of things in my garden journal. I paint from still lives I set up of my nature collection, and design stickers and illustrations inspired by what I imagine.
Berries and bat, digital painting, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind some of your work?
Garcia: My work is inspired by the beautiful force of nature and our connection to it. Culturally we are disconnected to our environment and struggle to find our place within it. I’m inspired by this relationship/however chaotic or harmonious. There is a mysterious darkness to the natural world, a quiet power I wish to honor through my work. Nature prevails, and the industrialization we impose on her is at her mercy. Abandoned cemeteries, street art, flowers growing through concrete- the land is strong.
Forest Nap, colored pencil, 12x12”, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist.
How has South Jersey impacted your art practice?
Garcia: My work is greatly inspired by the nature down here, the forests, beaches, the native species- the attitude of my artwork has certainly become more joyful since moving away from big cities.