Today we’d like to introduce you to Rita Garcia Sindelar.
Rita, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’m from Chicago. I was born in the Pilsen neighborhood and grew up on Chicago’s south side, went to school (twice) at Loyola University, studying English and then sociology, and I taught both for a time. I am a self-taught artist and have always loved painting in particular; I have learned other things like screen printing, jewelry making, and linocut only in the last few years. I lived on the east coast for a few years but was always homesick, so I returned about 5 years ago to the Logan Square neighborhood and currently reside in Humboldt Park, which I love.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I love painting on wood and canvas, and I love being given the chance to do both indoor and outdoor mural work. I love public art and street art and have been hugely influenced by well-known and not so well-known street artists when I lived out east and was frequently traveling to New York City. I would say that my subject matter is simple, graphic, and fun. I do a lot of a robot figure that I created about five years ago for a kids’ center owned by friends of mine. I have also done a bunch of pieces specifically for kids, custom chairs and pieces on canvas for kids’ rooms, although I don’t do much to make them “kid” specific and feel like my audience has no specific age.
I am gratified when people of all ages like the robot and other stuff. I work mostly in acrylic, although some pieces are mixed media, and I also enjoy printmaking in various forms, and collage, although painting is still #1. As far as how my pieces have evolved over the past few years, I feel like it’s not enough to paint something “well,” it also has to have a certain charm or cleverness to it, and I hope I’ve gotten better at that. It goes without saying that one has to try to be original. When I was very young, my originality was on the low end of the scale, I was obsessed with copying others’ work just to see if I could do it. I’m still not the type that’s bursting with original ideas; I’m at my most me when I’m sweating over symmetry or making lines perfectly straight.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
The role of artists has always been to provoke, and of course I agree with the idea that artists should, if they choose to, address society’s issues and actively try to bring about positive change. When I was growing up in the 80s, art was accessible to me if I made the trip down to the Art Institute or if I went to the library, and then later if I took an art history class in college. It was a certain kind of art that kids were and still are exposed to; I wasn’t aware of protest art until I was in college.
I remember getting the book Graphic Agitation and being blown away to learn about things like the murders of Sacco and Vanzetti, the effect of pesticides on California agriculture workers, and the women’s movement in general– all through art! I had little idea about social issues for the first 18 years of my life. Art was transformative for me. Anyway, now a kid can encounter art, and maybe a social consciousness, by walking down the street, through social media, by participating in movements on the ground, like Black Lives Matter or The Women’s March, or by seeing the work of artists like Ai Wei Wei, who addresses the international refugee crisis. I think it’s a hard time for kids to be growing up, but also a very rich time in terms of accessibility to art and knowledge.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’ve been really lucky to have been invited by some local places to participate in the occasional show or public art event. A few years back, I initially started by doing street fairs and festivals, including the Ravenswood Artwork, Remix, and Bucktown Arts Fest; the street fairs are fun, but lately I’ve been more into showing my work where it can stay up longer. I had some pieces in group shows at Paper Crown Gallery, where I contributed my first small original works, and Gallery F, who sold linocuts of mine.
I also had a couple shows in coffeeshops in 2017, including Standing Passengers Only and Star Lounge–the latter of which is having me paint one of their picnic tables in their patio area along with other local artists this month (June) so people can check out my and other artists’ customized tables very soon! Additionally, this month I’m in the middle of working on an indoor mural at the Andersonville Galeria (on Clark Street north of Foster Avenue), and I’ll have a booth set up there very soon with small original works and some other goodies. I’m hoping to have more work up/shows this year at local spots. I’m also always available to do commissioned pieces and murals. To find out news about where and when, or to request a custom piece, go to tinystudioschicago.com or send me an e-mail.
- Website: tinystudioschicago.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @ritagarciasindelar
- Facebook: Rita Garcia Sindelar