Painter Arturo Garcia celebrates great – mostly male – authors

Painter and writer Arturo Garcia is giddy about literature and history, and wants to share his passion with young people. His tactic? Painting his favorite authors and touring his work through community centers and schools.

Friday night, at Denver Open Media, Garcia will show 11 wildly colorful portraits of writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Walt Whitman, Miguel de Cervantes, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Garcia told The Colorado Independent that he borrows stylistically from fauvist and Oaxacan schools of art.

His series features mostly Latin American and U.S. writers – “Literary Giants,” as he calls them. The series is heavy on men and modernists. It is easy to imagine a school girl looking at Garcia’s paintings and wondering: Are there no great women writers since Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz?

And a literary person might tell said school girl:  For some reason, there are no paintings of Gertrude Stein or Mary Shelly or Virginia Woolf or Zora Neal Hurston or Gloria Anzaldua.

Garcia’s explanation: “Nothing against women whatsoever. It just happens that my favorite authors are all male, and I paint the ones I’ve read and like.”

This will not be the first time Garcia has used his painting to educate young people about history. Last year, he exhibited his portraits of famous U.S. presidents.

Check out “Literature Giants” at Denver Open Media, 700 Kalamath Street, at the show’s Friday night opening. The portraits will tour schools throughout the year.


Photo credit: Paintings courtesy of Arturo Garcia.