I haven’t read the Bible in the long time but I vaguely recall that the image of a two-edged sword was meant to convey how the Word of God was sharper than the deadliest weapon. Many past masters have used the Bible as an inspiration for their art, and the young Garcia follows in this long and illustrious tradition.
I had the good fortune to ask Garcia a few questions about “Self-Portrait with A Two-Edged Sword.”
Tell us about the medium you used and the dimensions of this piece.
MAG: Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, painted in 2008.
Where and when was this painting first shown?
MAG: It's being shown at West Gallery in
Does this work refer to a Bible passage about the word of God being sharper than a two-edged sword? If not, what does the two-edged sword mean?
MAG: Yes, it’s something like that. The image of the Word of God being sharper than any double-edged sword is from Hebrews 4:12. But there is also a personal context to it: in the portrait, the double-edged sword in my hand refers to my being both a Christian and an artist who seeks to find the truth.
Do you consider yourself on a spiritual mission? What mission is this?
MAG: I belong to the
There is what looks like a bloody gash on the figure's left breast, can you tell us about that?
MAG: That is meant to represent my heart humbled in the presence of God. To be honest, it was only after I had finished the painting that I added the blood on the heart. My art is my journal where I record my thoughts and feelings. I am the first to feel blessed whenever I finish a painting which was inspired by the Bible or by the lessons from my pastor’s preaching. Even before I show the painting to anyone, I feel blessed, and it is as if my heart melts ("parang nalulusaw") when it is touched by the Word of God.
Can you tell us where the idea behind this self-portrait came from?
MAG: It was inspired by Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye will be witnesses unto me both in
What do you think is the appeal of this painting to those who have seen it?
MAG: I think the strong contrast between the image of the sword and the meek appearance of the seated figure is the reason that this painting has received the attention of many.
What age were you when you made this self-portrait? Some artists create a series of self-portraits as they grow older to mark the passage of time and the changes in them. What does this self-portrait say about this stage of your life?
MAG: I painted it this year. I am 23 years old. I agree that it would be interesting to do self-portraits as one grows older. I wonder how I would look like in the next one? (Smiles).
The distant houses to the right of the seated figure look like non-Philippine-styled houses, can you tell us why you placed them there on the canvas?
MAG: In Acts 1:8, three places are mentioned:
Can you tell us when you started painting?
MAG: I started painting in 2003 when I was still a student. That was also the time I started joining art competitions. After I finished college in 2005, I worked as a graphic designer, then after seven months I worked abroad for a year. When I came back last year I made a decision to become a full-time artist. This was what I wanted to do—to paint.
Which painters would you say influenced your current style?
MAG: If you're asking which painters I admire, I'd say the Impressionists and Expressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch and Paul Cezanne. Who else? I can’t think of other names now. I like art which is based on personal experiences. I like artists who are true to themselves.
Where can people go to see your works?
MAG: My show is still ongoing at West Gallery,
Salamat din sa 'yo.