The Lab Pop-Up Gallery in Phoenix Features Artists Jon Garza and Chiara Bautista

Currently installed at The Lab Pop-Up Gallery are Latin-inspired works by Jon Garza, an illustrator and artist working out of Gilbert, and Chiara Bautista, a surreal illustrator and designer native to Mexico.

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Garza, a stay-at-home father and freelance illustrator and designer, painted three new pieces for the Grand Avenue gallery, which is located inside 11th Monk3y Industries.

Garza, 27, was born in San Antonio, Texas. He says drawing and painting have been a major part of his life since childhood. After going to college for graphic design, Garza found himself busy freelancing his skills with posters, logo designs, and various prints for organizations around the Valley, with a full-time job at Chandler-Gilbert Community College when he graduated.

Garza left his job at CGCC to further pursue his career in freelance illustration and tend to his family. On the side, he teaches graphic design and web courses.

On view at The Lab are Garza's new paintings, as well as other paintings, prints, and zines that Garza has done in the past.

"I draw inspiration mainly from Mexican and Chicano culture -- it's in my blood," says Garza. "The pieces I'm showing are themed around cholas, vatos, Chicano pride, and motorcycles."

With his pieces, he aims to show what these individuals are "all about," a little bit of who they are, and what they represent.

Garza uses brush and ink, as well as acrylic, watercolor, and sign paint to create his drawings and paintings. For his illustrations and design work, he uses Photoshop and Illustrator.

"The work I'm showing is what I'm most passionate about, working in the past as a graphic designer was mainly for someone else or trying to communicate someone else's vision using my talents and skills. I can take stuff I learned from those experiences and use that to help make my personal work better. I enjoy being able to call the shots and express myself fully with my art," Garza says.

See Garza's freelanced designs as well as personal artwork at Chiara Bautista, who goes by the pseudonym MILK has her illustrations and designs on Tumblr.

The exhibition closes Saturday, March 1.

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Tanya Nguyen
Contact: Tanya Nguyen