Every student at Missouri Western is working towards their dream job. However, for some their  dream jobs are already in action. Faculty member Matthew Garcia gets to teach and make art at the same time. 

 “I consider myself a printmaker, though my work moves beyond the traditional printmaking methods. My work consists of screen printing, projection-mapped animation, large-scale installation, and drawing,” Garcia explains. “Though I work in many modes of making, I approach all of my works from a printmaker’s point of view. Two important aspects of print are layering and registration. So in my installations and new-media work, I create moments of layered image, object and animation, most that are tightly registered to one another. This tightness allows for the viewer to question what is physical and what is projected light.” 

Going to school and learning about the art world is what got Garcia interested in teaching. With a few inspirations from his childhood, the two dreams came together. 

“As long as I can remember, I wanted to do something in the arts,” said Garcia. “I wanted to be a comic book artist, then a graphic designer and then in college I discovered printmaking. It often felt like I didn't really have a choice in the matter. I just had to make art and still do. Though if it wasn't for art, I would have never discovered my passion for teaching.” 

However, it can be difficult to balance the two. 

“It's definitely a challenge to balance teaching and my art practice, as both are significantly important aspects of my career,” Garcia said. “I find that I want to devote as much time as I can to both, but during the fall and spring semesters my art suffers a bit. Though I set myself up to be ready to make art when I have any free time.”

Just the word ‘art’ covers a wide range of expression. There's music, dancing, teaching and many other forms. Influences may come from all or just a few. For Garica, he pulls from musicians, writers and others. 

“I'm influenced by a lot of artists, musicians, writers and professors,” Garcia said. “If I have to pick artists that influenced the work I'm making, I have to say Jacolby Satterwhite, Jeffrey Dell, Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell, as well as many of the professors that I have worked with over the years. They have influenced the work I make, the direction of my career. They were the reasons I pursued education as well as art making. If I wouldn't have had professors who pushed me to question the work I'm making, to apply for shows and schools, I don't think I would be the artist or the professor I am today.” 

Starting out in any career can be difficult. There’s always going to be challenges that come about. Garcia gets to live his dream every day and is influenced by so many people from his life. 

“It's not easy and often not rewarding when you first start out but keep pushing yourself and if you really desire to have a career in the arts or in education you'll get there if you're earnestly pursuing your passion. Also say ‘yes’ to any opportunity, no matter how big or small. You never know what small opportunity will lead to something larger!”

Recommended for you