In-Sync with… Martin Jon Garcia (interview)

Martin & Sergio at Nana's, Chicago
Martin & Sergio at Nana’s, Chicago

This post continues my series “In-Sync with…” aimed to get a closer look at contemporary artists and art professionals from Chicago and abroad. Read it, enjoy it, share it, and get in-sync with Martin Jon Garcia.

A couple months ago, Martin and I sat down for breakfast to talk about art, community, life and exciting new projects. We both share an enthusiasm for promoting the arts and the artists who live in our communities. One of the main items of conversation was Martin’s new webisodes project which takes on the art community as a point of departure to reach out a larger audience. It is a fantastic idea merging art, culture, criticism, and comedy.  The first open Casting Calls are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 13 & 20 1 – 4 pm at 2000 W Fulton in Chicago.  Check it out and enjoy!!!


Sergio: Where did you go to school?

Martin: American Academy of Art

Sergio: Do you feel art school prepared you for the art career you have now?

Martin: Not at all, it was more of a hurdle to overcome than a springboard. But I was young and did not know how to utilize all of the benefits of being in school. My career would be very different if I believed in what I was taught. I feel that the choices I made outside of school made my career, befriending specific people, opting for long term engagement in the arts and having a well rounded scope of interests. For me school was a place to make mistakes, and I did that at every opportunity, actually I still do so it may be that case that school has had a much deeper effect on me than I realize.

Sergio: What is one thing you wish you had learned at art school?

Martin: I think I did pretty well

Sergio: What is your website? and


Sergio: You have been a BIG supporter of the arts in Chicago. When and what motivated you to start promoting the work of others?

Martin: I wanted my shows covered by press, who doesn’t; realising that and not seeing a way to make it happen moved me in that direction. I saw, back in 2005, that we were loosing critics and the internet was taking shape as as a way to disseminate information on ones own. As a person who is always looking to do something I invested a total of $150 on a mic, digital recorder and a USB video camera and started covering the arts. I guess it is hard to say why, other than I was driven to do it.

Sergio: During our conversation we talked about about your new exiting project of a Comic Web Series. Can you tell us more about that?

Martin: The series is based in a non profit art center in which the main funder passed away. That leaves the founder in a bind and she reluctantly partners with her ex husband, a lawyer with an affinity for profits, to run the center.


Sergio: How do you envision the general public will respond to it?

Matin: Hard to say, but I hope they like it. When I have enough information to do my own research on things it is more important and has more value. How this show plans on making that happen is through comedy. I know if I laugh at something and in the process am introduced to something else, I am inclined to do more research. When I learn in that manner I am rewarded, that is what I want the “General Public” to experience. And I want them to experience that with art. Having said all that only 25% (give or take) of the episodes will feature individual artists or organizations. The rest will focus on other conflict found in and around art centers.

Sergio: You are already casting for “Our Cultural Center”!casting-call/cb3i. What do you think will be the most challenging character to select and why?

Martin: That tough – Victoria is the lead but she is stereotypical is some sense, I think the hard part will not be the actors but the artwork and artists I work with behind the scenes. I don’t think most artists hear “I want to put your art in a comedy” and immediately say “Oh that would be great” some do, and they should reach out to me, but for the most part it looks like a hard sell from here.

Sergio: This project is a big undertaking. Why is it important for you to start it in Chicago and how will it evolve outside of the city?

Martin: This Project is big, and getting bigger but it is all happening pretty naturally. I would love to see my production company partner with another outside of Chicago to produce this as a classic style sitcom. The new FXX channel and all the possibilities with Hulu, Netflix and Amazon it doesn’t seem to far a stretch, but I am realistic in the sense that I am hoping I can get 50-100 episodes released and seen.

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 9.13.28 AM

Sergio: You are also a painter. How do you manage your career as a painter while working in your other projects.

Martin: I don’t. I AM a painter, that career exists with management. My passion today is in video production and art promotion, my current focus does not exclude others, it only informs them.


Sergio: What excites you about your local art scene?

Martin: The Deep well of talent Chicago has and the ease at which that talent takes on new challenges.

Sergio: What sort of efforts to make art more accessible to the community do you see happening in Chicago and abroad?

Martin: I look out and see it happening everywhere in all sorts of ways but I am in the arts so it is hard to define what is actually successful. Artists and designers working at being relevant and help give something to the world through their artistic efforts is a big deal. The arts need to be important to others, in a hard numbers way.

Sergio: Do you find social media to be a distraction or an asset for you as an artist and how do you deal with it?

Martin: An absolute asset, but that is just me, I have embraced it like a new painting medium, I have done my time on it and off it. I have discipline to step away when I need to but I have also offended many people with my Social Media. It is great for me and I have found a wonderful balance with it. I use it to promote myself, but not just digitally I make an effort to meet my followers and friends, especially those that are local that I have not met formally. That means spending more time on social but also means being more social, which, for me, is good.

Sergio: What is your biggest challenge as a contemporary artist?

Martin: Getting MOTHERFUCKIN’ PAID or Being relevant and creating work that is relevant in a world that moves so quick.

Painting by Martin Jon Garcia
Painting by Martin Jon Garcia


Art movie or documentary… RANK (not art related in any strict sense)

Art museum… Local Cultural Center: Midwestern Walker Art Center : Internationally Prado

One sentence advice for an art student… Get the fuck out of art school, it is a business, go to business school and make art. or Your path is in front of you so go on and take it.

Chicago cafe/restaurant… The Globe Pub

YouTube video… Anything by Ze Frank but the True Facks series is sweet –


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