The Art of Lingerie: Q&A with Xavier Garza
There are some days that I want to move back to Italy and pick up my life as a vagabond artist and photographer traveling Europe with my sketchpad and camera. I loved every second of that life and I honestly love every second of my life now in the Lingerie world. And today, I get to have the best of both worlds by sharing with our readers our follow-up interview with Pin-Up artist Xavier Garza. We spoke to Xavier last year to see how Art and Lingerie intersect and influence his life. Fast forward to the end of 2012 and Xavier shared with us the latest developments in his art, new projects and some wonderful images of new body of work. Please enjoy our Q&A with Xavier and his gorgeous art.
Xavier, thanks so much for joining us again! We last talked in early 2011 and I wanted to follow up with you to see how things have been developing for you.
Thank you Luis! I’m happy for the opportunity to be back. Since we last spoke, my art career has had some great successes! I have been able to create work for a few new clients here in the US from California to New York and as far away as Italy.
I am very grateful for all the new commissions this year. The projects were balanced to keep me on my toes and gaining more experience along the way. Needless to say, I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come since our interview back in 2011. The support from friends and family who have been cheering me on since day one has been great and so many things are falling into place little by little. I love it!
Aside from my art career I recently started attending college in the Fall. The program I am taking is Digital Media Design Technology and I am very happy with the new skills I am learning. Lately, I’ve been taking those new skills and using them to my advantage in my career as an Artist.
There are literally hundreds of things I can do with just one high-quality scan of my art. I’m excited at the thought of how many new ways I can get my art out to my fans all around the world. From T-shirts, calendars, playing cards to websites…the possibilities are endless!
“Bettie inspired me to become a better artist and I want to thank her in the only way I know how – to paint her forever and keep her alive.”
Bettie Page Project
Could you tell us some more about the Bettie Page project you were working on? What made you get on board?
One of the most prestigious projects that I was able to help with this year – which meant a great deal to me – was the opportunity to help raise distribution funds for the film/documentary, “Bettie Page Reveals All.”
It is the only authorized film made with Bettie’s full participation and is directed by Academy Award Winning Director, Mark Mori.
I first found out about the film a couple years ago when it was being edited together and the director put out a call to Bettie Page fans asking them to help in anyway they could by purchasing T-shirts, pre-orders of the DVD, photographic prints and signed photos by Bettie herself.
“I helped raised money for a Bettie Page film! I felt like one of the luckiest guys on earth!”
At the time, I was starting to seriously focus on my art career and Bettie was always a huge inspiration to me. I thought it was wonderful when Mark asked for help from the fans to help in anyway they can. In the past, I would daydream about someday meeting her and sharing a my art with her. Imagining her talk to me about my art and what she thought of my illustrations of her was a scenario I constantly played out in my imagination.
I saw the perfect opportunity to share my work with the director and to help Bettie Page. I decided to auction off, via eBay, five of my Bettie Page inspired pieces. Whatever money that was raised would go to help fund distribution for the movie.
I sold two of the five and made $172. It honestly doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but I was darn proud of myself! I helped raised money for a Bettie Page film! I felt like one of the luckiest guys on earth!
When I learned that Bettie had passed away, I was devastated. One of my favorite women on Earth, a living legend, was gone and my dreams of meeting Bettie were dashed.
As time passed I have been determined to accurately portray Bettie in my work. Nothing but the best for Bettie as well as nothing but the best for her fans, who are no doubt fans of pin-up. Bettie inspired me to become a better artist and I want to thank her in the only way I know how – to paint her forever and keep her alive.
I feel that she will live on through us – the fans she has inspired.
Could you tell us a little bit about some of the projects you’ve been working on since we last talked?
Sure, most of these new pieces I’ve been working on are from late 2011 to as recent as a few weeks ago. You can see that my love for old Hollywood Stars and Glamor is evidently clear in a few of the drawings. Sometimes I draw inspiration from many of my favorite actresses taking certain features or hairstyles from a few models which I then infuse into the one woman I am painting or drawing.
“I made a decision long ago to never do any art of Marilyn until I was sure and confident that I’d be able to capture her likeness.”
And lately, I have been trying to compose accurate portraits of my favorite actresses Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. Sophia Loren is one of my top ten favorites. I love her exotic beauty. I hope to do more of her in time. The Marilyn drawing has to be my favorite Marilyn piece. I made a decision long ago to never do any art of Marilyn until I was sure and confident that I’d be able to capture her likeness. So here it is, I’m sure it isn’t the greatest example of Marilyn out there but for me its just a personal achievement.
What’s your favorite medium to work in?
Thank you so much for that question! I love to work in watercolors and pencil. I personally cannot have one without the other. I enjoy both mediums for different reasons, but ultimately I need them both. Watercolors are so soft and I love their fluidity. It can be very tricky since they are a water-based medium and water tends to go where it wants if you don’t know how to control it. It takes time to master watercolors. And although, I am no master of the arts, I am still learning new techniques and I most likely will forever be learning new things about my tools.
“I love to work in watercolors and pencil. I personally cannot have one without the other.”
As for pencil, there is a freedom and strictness. The freedom to just sketch and draw freehand forms – with mistakes and all – are just part of the piece in progress. The strictness comes as a way of discipline when you must use the pencil to define what you want seen such as sharpness in line and no evidence of mistakes. With that in mind, the end product is usually a flawless drawing with no stray lines (unless they are left there on purpose). I really hope that makes sense, to me it does. The freedom of rough sketches and the discipline to create a clean drawing with pencil is what I love about that medium.
“…with practice and kind-beautiful words of encouragement from Perle herself, I pushed through and developed a technique I am very proud of.”
Of the images you’ve sent us, what’s your favorite piece?
Love this question! Of all the pieces I have shared here with you, my favorite piece, without a doubt, has to be the painting I did of Burlesque Queen, Perle Noire.
I had been wanting to paint Perle for sometime now but honestly I ran into a few technical difficulties in recreating her beautiful skin-tone. Though, over time, with practice and kind-beautiful words of encouragement from Perle herself, I pushed through and developed a technique I am very proud of. I hope to do more of Perle and many other women of color.
You also do a lot of custom work, correct? We have one of your paintings in our studio. If someone wanted to commission you for a project, how would they start?
I do a fairly good amount of custom work. If someone wanted to commission me for some art, the first step would be to shoot me an e-mail and we can take it from there.
Generally, if I receive word from a client who wants a painting, one of the first things I make sure is if they have photographic material. The source material doesn’t have to be a professional model or anything. I just work better from photos.
Once I receive the images by mail or email, I can begin sketching ideas that were discussed with the client. Then a decision is made and approved by the client and I take final steps in preparing the final piece. Usually if the model/client is with in my driving range I will photograph them myself. I feel more in control when using photos I’ve taken. In that situation, its easier to help direct the model when trying to achieve a specific pose or look.
We’re getting so close to the New Year, what projects are you working on for 2013? What are some projects you want to accomplish?
Well, the New Year is scary and thrilling all at once. I do have some plans for 2013. Besides continuing school, my personal art projects include developing a portfolio of my favorite modern actresses and singers and hopefully getting out some of that artwork to those talented, beautiful women. Also, I have a small dream to paint movie stars they way Vargas did when he worked for the Movie Studios in Hollywood. I also hope to create the first ever “Garza Pin-ups” T-shirt along with selling more prints and eventually creating a calendar.
Contact Xavier Garza
Before we go, could you give us a link to your portfolio or a way readers can get in touch with you?
If anyone wishes to contact me, send me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or you wish to see more art, visit my Blog which I update constantly with sneak peeks and works in progress. http://garzapin-ups.blogspot.com/
or follow me on twitter @garzapinups
Facebook: Pin-Up Artist Xavier Garza
Thank you again Luis for having me back, Im very happy to share and look forward to the new year.
You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing!
Here’s a link to our first interview with Xavier Garza: Spotlight on Xavier Garza