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Rene Garza is a multitalented visual artist adept at many media, including painting, drawing, and photography. He is also a fashion and celebrity stylist. Raised in Texas, Garza learned to look at the world differently early on. As a child, he spent his summers in Mexico, and after high school, he moved to London for a brief period to “begin his life.” Garza’s art has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in an exhibition of graphite drawings on paper. More recently, his public art installation, “A Moment,” covering the façade of an entire building, has fascinated the population of Houston.

New York-based Garza is currently in residency in Houston. As a fashion and celebrity stylist, Garza has spent over 15 years traveling the world. As well as being editor-at-large of “FutureClaw Magazine,” Garza contributes to top international fashion magazines like “Elle” and “Harper’s Bazaar” and is sought after by such renowned photographers as Eric Guillemain, Diego Uchitel, and Clayton Cubitt. Well-known celebrities Garza has styled include Alicia Keys, John Legend, Christina Ricci, Terrence Howard, and Sofia Vergara.

Garza has used his time in Houston well. While here, he has created a body of work that reflects his long-standing love of conceptual art. It has also led to Garza donating his time and talent to several charities in Houston. An artist in many media, Garza notes his inspirations usually come from travel, minimalism, geometry, dark gothic, and romanticism. Andrew Martin International, Houston showroom, recently exhibited some of Garza’s works, including acrylic-on-canvas paintings and photographic prints. Garza is also collaborating with Houston-based AER Textiles to develop a line of custom luxury rugs based on his designs. These striking pieces are available at the Ken Kehoe & Company showroom at the Decorative Center Houston.

CKW Luxe had the honor recently of sitting down and talking with Rene Garza about life in New York, working in Houston, and his remarkable art installation, “A Moment” that has captivated the imaginations of the people of Houston.

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CKW Luxe: Our readers would be fascinated to know a little about your life in New York, what it has been like for you to work in Houston, and the charities you have been contributing your time and talent to while here.

Rene Garza: Life in NYC is magical. For many years I would stop in the middle of the day, realize, and be thankful that I lived in New York. I really thrive on the energy and always being on the move. I have always been a freelance stylist, so every week would be different. Different clients and jobs keep your job fresh. A few years ago, with no real experience, I took on an interior design project in London. I was doing six-month stints in London, so I gave up my apartment in NYC. When that project ended I couldn't find a place that I liked in NYC, so I went to Houston for two weeks to visit my parents. In those two weeks, I created so much art and found a building that would allow me to do a public art installation.  

So I decided to stay for the summer to make that project happen. Well, that project took six months to complete, and I still have not moved back to NYC permanently. I travel to NYC about once a month for fashion jobs and spend the rest of my time in Houston making art. I am planning to move back to NYC soon, but am enjoying my time here. One difference from my life in NYC and Houston is that I always have free time here. So it's easier to give of my time to different charities and organizations. I have met so many wonderful, loving people through helping these organizations.

CKW: You are both an artist who works in a number of media and a fashion and celebrity stylist. Please tell us how these two worlds fit together, how you move between them, and how one influences the other.

RG: I believe that fashion is an art form. More and more fashion exhibits are being praised for the craftsmanship and artistry. Personally, it's very easy for me to separate and move between them. I make art in Houston and my fashion work is mostly in New York, but I still get jobs in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and other fashion cities. For me, fashion styling was a way to let my creative side thrive. Many times the stylist is the art director on set, so it allows me to create a fully formed vision. I have always used art as an inspiration for my fashion work. I don't really look at fashion magazines; my inspirations have mostly come from artwork, history, or abstract ideas rather than what other fashion people have done. 

CKW: We would love you to talk a little about your art installation, “A Moment.” Please tell us about the medium you used and why, what the work is meant to portray, and what inspired you to create the piece.

RG: "A Moment" was a site-specific art installation off of Interstate 45 near downtown. Living in New York you rarely drive, and I was very surprised how stressed people got while driving on the freeway. I just envisioned all that negative energy being released every day. So when the opportunity came up to do an art installation on the side of I-45, I jumped at the chance to facilitate a calming moment in people’s day.  At first glance, the black expanse appeared like a void within the urban landscape. As the detail in the rhythmic movement and calming sound (produced by the moving pieces) suddenly became apparent, a calming sensation was offered as the viewer reflected on their innermost thoughts and outermost feelings. Whether for a split second, or a few minutes, the viewing time was meant to incite an escape from daily mental clutter. Community involvement played an integral part in the making of the work. Around 1,000 people helped tie individual strips of cut black plastic bags into the art installation.  A wide range of workshops were held from private residences, high schools, and middle schools from the Houston, Pasadena, Fort Bend and Alief school districts.

Rene Garza is a man of many talents who travels the world seeking inspiration for his visual art as well as for his fashion and celebrity styling. Innate in all his work is that uncanny ability to see things differently coupled with the skill to communicate that insight in a multitude of different ways. Treat yourself to his fine art or fashion website, or experience his work in person, and you will see what we mean. Rene Garza is an artist of unlimited insight and imagination.

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