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Jason Garcia

Through the visual language of popular culture, Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin) observes the impact of history, globalization and modern times on his life and the community in which he belongs.

The son of well-known potters John and Gloria Garcia (Golden Rod), and the great-grandson of the equally revered potter Severa Tafoya, Garcia notes he has been an artist all his life. However, in 2002, when he created his first “graphic tile,” he secured this calling while simultaneously expanding the norms of contemporary Pueblo pottery. His creative experimentation seamlessly blended ancient Pueblo designs, stories and scenery with images taken from Western popular culture. In his seminal piece “Grand Theft Auto – Santa Clara Pueblo,” for instance, Garcia replaced the illustrations from the cover of the video game Grand Theft Auto with scenes from Pueblo life, deftly joining worlds that may, to outsiders, seem unrelated.

Garcia acknowledges the impact and influences of Santa Clara’s history on the present through his use of medium, technique and subject matter. In his work—created in the traditional Pueblo way with hand-gathered clay, native clay slips and outdoor firings — he transforms materials closely connected to the earth into a visually rich mix of Pueblo history and culture, comic book super heroes, video game characters, religious icons and all things pop culture.

Garcia has participated in several significant exhibitions including Comic Art Indigene at both the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC and Native Pop! at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. Garcia has also received several awards at the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market.

Using clay to explain, explore and define the world around him, Garcia continues to make his art relevant, thought provoking and visually dynamic as he doggedly documents the emergence of new economic enterprises, tribal politics and the continuously changing landscape of his home, Santa Clara Pueblo.