- Omar Waheed
Siriaco "Siricasso" Garcia discusses journey into becoming an artist
Siriaco Garcia at his most recent event Save the Art
from Feb. 22
Local artist, event manager, entrepreneur and family man. Siriaco “Siricasso” Garcia dons multiple roles in his ventures to make his vision a reality.
Intertwined in his identity as the artist Siricasso and the man behind the art Siriaco Garcia, Garcia’s origin as an artist draws back to his childhood. With art always in the background of his mind growing up, the avenues he took to find his voice were anything but simple.
Born in Minnesota and raised partly in Eagle Pass, Texas, Garcia found his way to art at an early age from his older brother Miguel, someone he frequently cites as an inspiration. Seeing his brother's skills as an artist, Garcia was inspired to try art himself.
Unfortunately, life was not that simple. Gang life was prevalent in Garcia’s upbringing, with his father being a gang member himself. At one point, Garcia decided that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the life. Following through on that at a young age, trouble was always around the corner.
"I don't want to do this anymore. I want to live a regular life."
Falling into gang life around middle school, Garcia stayed dangerous. Fighting a lot and getting into trouble, it all finally escalated to a tipping point when Garcia took a scalpel from science class, intending to use it on someone eventually.
Sitting in the middle of class with his newly found weapon, the scalpel fell in the middle of a silent class. The drop of the scalpel echoing caught the attention of his teacher, who then called school security.
Kicked out of his middle school, Garcia was sent to an alternative school filled with high schoolers, a good deal of which were in rival gangs. Outsized and picked on every day, Garcia had to fight every day for his life. Opting to run to avoid them, he became fed up and knew something had to change.
“I had to run home every day," Garcia said. "I ran home every day until one day I went ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to live a regular life.’ I went home and said 'man I don’t want to do this anymore, I want to make a change. I’m tired of sleeping on this concrete floor every day with just a blanket. My back hurts, my head hurts, I can’t concentrate.'”
Shortly after, Garcia dropped out of school. He thought “the streets would take care of me,” only to realize that it would cause the same issues. Deciding to stay home to avoid trouble, Garcia had time to reflect. Seeing his brother rapping, Garcia was inspired again to try and be creative.
While ruminating on his next path in life, Garcia received a call from his aunt Rita who lived in Ames.
“She saved me," Garcia said. "She asked if I wanted to move to Iowa...I decided, let me give this a shot. I had no future and no life.”
Deciding he had nothing to lose, Garcia made the jump. With pain in his heart at leaving his siblings as one of eight kids, he knew that his path meant he wouldn't see them very often.
“I never had sneakers," Garcia said. "The day before I left [for Ames], I knew I had to get fresh. I went down to the fleet market, and they had a pair of black Air Forces with the strap. I paid $11 for them and still had $50 left from my birthday. My aunt picked me up… and said ‘is that all you have? A grocery bag with all your socks and underwear and one shirt?’”
Garcia’s aunt Rita took him to the store before he started school to get him some more clothes. Finally starting school in Ames, Garcia was used to the norms of his life in Eagle Pass. Experiencing a culture shock right away, Garcia came to school in baggy clothes only to see everyone else in crisp form-fitting clothing.
“I realized that I didn’t have to fight anymore," Garcia said. "I didn’t have to fight to fit in and I can just be myself.' And I loved that, but people were scared of me.”
Experiencing his new life, Garcia fell back into some trouble but quickly realized that that was not who he had to be anymore. Getting his head on straight, Garcia needed to find an outlet for his aggression, so he joined any sport at the school he could.
Still having art in the back of his mind, Garcia would still sketch a bit but wanted to pursue football as far as he could.
“I wanted to go pro, but I realized there were no 5’11 offensive linemen,” Garcia said. “’So what’s next?’ I thought. Obviously, I’m not going to play football, so let me try this art stuff.”
Finally deciding to take a passion he had since he was young seriously, Garcia followed this new path to become an artist.
Slowly building up to his career in art, high school is where he found his initial jump into his art style. Always struggling with realism, Garcia struggled to find his style until he ran into some of Pablo Picasso’s art. The origin of his moniker “Siricasso,” Garcia pulled a great deal of inspiration from Picasso, specifically Picasso’s “Guernica.”
Garcia's rendition of "Guernica"
Finally clicking that he does not have to make realistic art, Garcia found an interest in cubism. Initially not wanting to paint and more interested in pen and ink, Picasso inspired him to try it out.
Taking the next step in expressing himself, Garcia painted his own rendition of Guernica to express his upbringing.
All seeming good and living away from his family for a couple of years, Garcia’s family back in Eagle Pass bounced around until they finally moved up to Ames, bringing back problems from the past with his father.
Moving back with his family now in Ames, Garcia lived in a trailer with his family. Entering the last semester of his senior year of high school and with plans to further his education in art, Garcia’s father was arrested.
Carrying on with his plans to continue his education in art, Garcia had his eyes set on the Omaha Center of Arts. With his plans seeming set and nearing the end of his last semester at Ames high school, Garcia’s world was rocked when his mom was deported.
Coming home to find his father curled up crying in their home, his father broke the news to him. Garcia’s mom was deported after having her papers revoked.
While causing him a great deal of pain, Garcia knew he had to move forward. Slightly changing paths from the Omaha Center of Arts to Marshalltown Community College, Garcia met a man that would help him develop further in his path as an artist.
Meeting Tim Castle, Garcia found a place of belonging at Marshalltown Community College. Pursuing his art education there and finishing up, Garcia looked for his next path. Under the guidance of Tim Castle, Garcia looked around a couple of different universities, Iowa State being one of them.
However, he didn't feel as if the program was for him and seeing the program as a place that would not allow him to keep his mindset as an artist, he crossed Iowa State off his list. Garcia next looked at the University of Northern Iowa and saw a completely different art program that he resonated with. Seeing a more creatively free environment, Garcia seriously considered attending their art program until settling on Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to study graphic design.
Learning new skills that he still uses to this day, DMACC served as a solid steppingstone into his path as an artist and entrepreneur.
Finishing up his education, Garcia’s next goal was to have his own art showcase. Looking back to Tim Castle to host a show at Marshalltown Community College, but the waitlist was long.
Waiting out four years but never stopping in his art, Garcia finally got his chance in 2019 to have his own show. Not wanting to go for a normal experience, Garcia wanted to capture an experience symbolizing current political events surrounding deportation and children being placed in cages.
Initially wanting a more in-your-face experience, Garcia was met with resistance and compromised. Instead of his prior plan, Garcia opted to bring in immigrants from all over the world to talk about their experiences to attendees; Garcia was still able to capture the importance of the life of immigrants and showcase his work.
Finally getting a taste of hosting an art showcase, Garcia caught a bug and knew he wanted to continue doing that.
Working with people like Kaleb Stevens, a current senior at Iowa State majoring in community and regional planning, and Bryan Stevie, a friend of Garcia's, the team worked to host more events in Ames.
Hosting his first show with the group, they did not look back. Now regularly hosting shows throughout the year, the incorporation of music and food was added to give a full experience. Currently, Garcia’s shows are meant to bring people together.
Always wanting to give people the chance to prove themselves like he was able to from those supporting him, Garcia can be seen taking a back seat in most of his current events. Floating around, making sure those around him can shine, Garcia gives up-and-coming artists and musicians a platform.
Past all the art, Garcia is very proud to be a family man. With his wife Stephanie and two kids, Ezra and Santiago, Garcia is doing everything he can to be the best father he can possibly be. Taking an active part in their lives anytime he can, Garcia encourages his kids to be creative instead of being tied to technology. Giving them a space to create, Garcia keeps his art studio at his home in Huxley open to them.
His kids enjoy the ability to be creative and expressive; his oldest son Ezra loves his father’s art. Even so much as to get his father to design his own clothes. Being bold, Ezra will come to his father with a piece of clothing saying that he needs Garcia to put something on it. Garcia is more than happy to be his son’s personal designer and is happy to see him so interested in his work.
His family serves as his biggest inspiration. With no shortage of support from his kids, Garcia’s wife Stephanie always challenges him to stay sharp even when he does not have ideas on what to create. Giving him opportunities to make murals, Garcia painted a large space mural at Pure Luxe Salon in Ames, where Garcia’s wife works.
But what’s next for Garcia? As the artist Siricasso, he is still actively making art, hosting events and has been progressively making merchandise in his own titular clothing brand “Siricasso.” In addition, Garcia is branching out into making clothing for companies, has been painting murals all over Iowa, and is soon to paint one at Iowa State.
As the man Siriaco Garcia, he hopes to continue being the best father he can be and give opportunities for others to pursue their dreams in art.
Regardless of where he is going, currently at 26 years old, Garcia wants to keep being an artist for as long as possible.