Faces of Temple: Gustavo Garcia
Name: Gustavo Garcia
School: Tyler School of Art
Home town: New Oxford, Pa. (Adams Co.)
Why I chose Temple: "When I was a junior in high school, a Tyler representative came to my school. I liked the way he presented Tyler. He described the programs and the new building — at that point, all he could show was blueprints. A year went by and the Tyler rep came back. By then I knew I wanted to go there. I wanted to be an art teacher, but at that time I also had my mind set on being a painter. The Tyler program permitted me to be an artist and get certified to teach.
"After my portfolio review, I went to an open house at Main Campus. I thought, 'Wow, it's so huge.' It was my first experience in an urban setting (I was born in Mexico in a super-rural setting). It was crowded, but I was excited. Because we're here in the city, Tyler opens up accessibility to art galleries, connections to artists and great networking opportunities. We have courses that focus on the career aspect of being an artist, and we can visit artists' studios in the city and ask questions."
Transformative moment: "I decided that I wanted to study abroad for my sophomore year at Temple University Rome. When I was looking at the courses that were offered there, I saw 'Digital Imaging.' I had started taking pictures with a point-and-shoot camera in high school, but it kind of died out. The more I learned in that course, the more I started to look at things differently. I started to think about how to frame images and how to tell a story. I took over 3,000 photos in Rome. Photography has opened up my eyes. I learned how to use the camera in a way that it became an extension of my hand. It has influenced my printmaking and helped me generate ideas. I use it as a research tool — a visual journal — and put those experiences in my prints. I always have a camera with me in my book bag.
"After I got back, I was approached about teaching a course at Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, an agency in my home town that supports migrant education and provides services for school districts. They asked me if I would teach a class for adults that blended English education with photography. A lot of them were migrant families. We've been developing a book that captures their stories through photography. It's a way of giving them a voice. Instead of speaking through language, they're speaking through images."