Staff Feature: Andrew Garcia
As I entered the gate for my final flight to Taiwan in March, 2016, I knew there was a chance I’d meet one of my fellow staff members: Andrew, whom I hadn't met before. I scanned the crowd. Nobody quite looked… American enough. But wait! Who was that, sitting at a bench and staring at me in a “should I know you?” kind of way? I did a few surreptitious double takes, then finally we approached each other and I asked, “…are you Andrew?”
Andrew and I both staffed the 2016 SoCAM, and have both returned to staff the 2017 & 2018 SoCAM. If I were to describe him very briefly, I’d say he is a man both of chivalry and silliness. I asked him if he would answer a few questions about art, missions, and the School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions.
K: You've been an artist for a long time, but how did the SoCAM further develop your artistic skills?
A: Before I took the SoCAM I had no schooling in art at all. I had been self-taught through books and copying art styles of different artist.
That said, once I took the school, I was able to really hone my skills and artistic process through applying what we were taught. It was a chance to also interact and compete with fellow artist, something that was extremely rare for me.
K: What was different about being SoCAM staff, as opposed to being a student?
A: The difference in being staff? That’s a hard one. I’d say the responsibility - both work related and spiritually. You also know that you are apart of something great, not just learning.
K: Do you feel supported by your family in your art? How did staffing the SoCAM affect how you felt as a Christian artist?
A: Yes, I’ve always felt supported by my family for the most part, which is something that isn’t common among artists.
Of course they were concerned when I wanted to make art my career, but my Dad always told me “I don’t care what you do with your life, just as long as you follow what God has for you.”
I never truly realized I could be a Christian artist. Just an artist who is a Christian.
The school actually gave me hope, and showed that Christian Artists actually existed. We are real :)
To use your talents, your passions, for furthering God’s kingdom?! It’s an amazing thing to know.
K: Growing up, what was your strongest artistic influence?
A: Movies! I would watched Free Willy, or Jurassic Park and would try to draw the whales and the dinosaurs.
Books didn’t come to be an influence until much later, when I was actually able to read, due to dyslexia. I started reading Redwall by Brian Jacques. Music also influences me. Scores set the creative juices flowing. And that goes for writing too.
K: What's your favorite thing to draw? What is it about this thing that is so special to you?
A: My favorite thing thing to draw is a deer character I created, named Meadow. She’s pregnant with twins.
As to why its so special drawing her? I guess characters you create can become like children, so you form a special bond with them.
K: What's your favorite medium? How did the SoCAM expand your technical skills? Did you continue to learn once you became a staff member?
A: My favorite medium is drawing. Pencil on Paper. There’s nothing like it. Even in Animation (my second favorite medium) you can use pencil and paper.
The SoCAM expanded my pencil flow. It also expanded my understanding of anatomy, which was a huge learning curve for me.
And even as staff, I still learn so much! My team is made up of amazing artist who are willing to give direction and aid when you ask. I learn every day.
K: If someone were curious about the SoCAM, what would be the first thing you would want them to know about it? What should people know about staffing?
A: The first thing I want them to know is that they can use the crazy creative mind they have for something Powerful! I get a thrill when I start to tell people this because I still am revelling in this knowledge. And that its not just a team, or good friends. It's Family.
The thing to know about staffing is that you’re still learning. Only this time there’s more responsibility, and realize how delicate a family unit is.
Working at the SoCAM is a constant learning curve. It's been a pleasure to work with Andrew and see how he is growing in his faith, and growing in his art. I look forward to seeing how God uses our work in the ministry of Create Taiwan in following years.