Today we’d like to introduce you to Ofelia Faz-Garza.
Ofelia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am the oldest of 5. My parents migrated to Texas when my mom was expecting me; she was undocumented. They arrived in Fort Worth and lived there for a couple of years before moving to Oak Cliff in Dallas. Oak Cliff has been my home since the 1970’s.
Growing up I was a book worm. I read everything I could get my hands on. Encyclopedias were my favorite because they contained an entire world in one volume. Comic books in Spanish were a close second because they felt like home. This was where my love of the arts began.
Culturally we grew up Mexican because even though our parents came to the US for work they didn’t want us to forget who we were at our core. We spoke only Spanish at home and then English at school. Straddling bridges began early for me and is the still one of the most basic tenets of my work today.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. Back then it was love poems to my mom. Short and sugary sweet sentences that mimicked the words on fancy drugstore cards. Cards I couldn’t afford but that captured everything my young heart wanted to say. Sharing my writing then was easy because I knew it would be received adoringly. As I got older and began to experience the world around me I realized voices like mine that spoke in broken English and with an accent didn’t belong; not in the stores, not in class, and especially not in books. Writing became a secret world for me.
At 40 something changed. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis, maybe it was motherhood, maybe it was that my dreams couldn’t be contained any longer but I started to call myself a writer. At that point I pushed past insecurities and found a beautiful clan of kindred spirits and voices who encouraged and challenged me. It’s been a little over seven years since that I embraced that part of myself and I have never been happier.
I also use literary and cultural arts as a way to engage community and build bridges. My favorite thing to do is produce events where local creatives can come together to bring their talents into the community. I love museums and galleries but not everyone is comfortable there. My goal is to change the narrative about the art world and bring the beauty of those spaces out in the open in our neighborhoods.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Being an artist isn’t easy especially in communities of color. The mainstream narrative is telling us pretty often that our arts aren’t ‘real’ art. Our families don’t always see the arts as legitimate careers either. This leaves us struggling against the current in two different directions. The only way we can move forward is to be focused. We have to pick that big picture goal and channel all our energy and passion into getting there. It might happen one small step at a times and that’s alright. Success happens incrementally; we build on what we have and before you know it you’re on your way. For me personally, I may or may not ever reach the actual end goal but if I can achieve things, small or large, along the way then I feel I’m living a successful life.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I had a space in Oak Cliff called The Meet Shop but lost my lease a little over a year ago. We couldn’t find another affordable space so all my activities are pop-ups now. Thankfully we have a brilliant creative community and very supportive local businesses in North Texas who have opened their doors to us. If you follow us on social media you’ll see what we’re up to and where we’re making a mitote.
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