August Volunteer Spotlight: Monica Yael Garcia

Monica Yael Garcia

Name: Monica Yael Garcia
Place of Employment: City 17 / Thinking Through Making
Job Title: Jr. Interactive Designer / Designer & Illustrator

What inspired you to become a motion and graphic designer?
As a child I was drawn to art and captivated by moving pictures. Illustrating and creating a language of forms that expressed a spectrum of emotions and could  imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature just blew my mind. But it wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I was able to verbalize these feelings and fully understand what I wanted to pursue. I was subjected to different perspectives, interacted with passionate people and exposed to materials I had never laid eyes on (like an x-acto knife or a Mac computer). I know the latter part of that statement sounds a little lame, but what can I say,  I grew up in a small town with a lacking school district. However, I am  truly grateful for all these experiences because they are what inspired me to become who I am as a designer and, more importantly, a person.

When you aren’t working, what are you doing?
I love walking around and exploring my surroundings. Being a pedestrian in Houston can get pretty intense, but I feel compelled to move. You could say I’m obsessed with creating my own little adventures. I consider these moments sacred because they allow me to use all of my senses. Vision, audition, gustation, olfaction, and tactition are capabilities within all of us that provide a real understanding of objects and the people that use them.

What is your favorite graphic design book?
Well, I enjoy the process within It Is Beautiful … Then Gone, by Martin Venezky, but I really don’t read many graphic design books. My shelves are filled with books that explore the human mind, question our perspectives, motivate the use of our senses and encourage imagination. These topics, whether found in architectural books or scientific manuscripts, lead me closer to grasping Josef Albers 1+1=3 concept  and help me develop my own unexpected connections.

What do you get out of being an AIGA volunteer and member?
Conversations.  I appreciate being part of a community where it’s individuals are passionate about design. I know that may sound odd, but it truly is difficult to find others that share the same interests. It’s just refreshing to discuss your ideas and know that they won’t be dismissed or overlooked because they are too “strange” or have no immediate profit. Organizations that promote creative relationships like AIGA are valuable because they not only benefit designers but the community.

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Learn, explore and make. Taking things for granted only perpetuates a lack of growth and therefore defies what a designer is all about–adaptability. The more you immerse  yourself in different mediums the easier it is  to find your passion and realize your potential.

What’s your favorite place to escape to that inspires you?
Anywhere away from my computer. I mean, I love my computer but sometimes we need time apart or else we’ll become frustrated with one another.  It’s important to understand how you and others physically interact with space. Observations through personal experience are key factors towards my inspiration.

What is one place in Houston that when you’re there, you don’t feel like you’re in Houston?
I don’t feel like I’m in Houston when I ride the bus during the evenings. As I sit in the cold metal carriage surrounded with large windows that reflect what’s inside I forget where I am. There is no obligation to focus on the road so my eyes wonder within the space and blur the outside habitat. I inspect the aluminum railing to the plastic seats, and finally come across the people. I find the way they interact with each other different every time, but what remains constant is the mannerisms they develop with the bus’s surrounding objects. Seat comforting relief, wary tugging, and self-conscious rail holding are just a couple of things I notice, and wonder if we all experience our space in the same  fashion. My mind continuous to dive further into these questions and it’s only until I here my stop echo against the walls that I realize I’ve reached my destination.

Where can we find you?
You can usually find me exploring Houston or at the 24 Hour Fitness in the Westchase District, but if you have no luck feel free to look me up here:
my website

By Randy Nicholson
Published August 17, 2010
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