Wayne Garcia Key West Artist
When Wayne Garcia looks at a piece of wood, he sees a story waiting to be told.
It all started when he was just a boy running the streets of Key West in the 1960s and 70s, living an island life that so many mainlanders can only dream about.
It was around that same time, that fellow Key Wester, Mario Sanchez was on his way to becoming the most important Cuban-American Folk Artist of the Twentieth Century.
Inspired and later mentored by Sanchez, the fourteen year old Garcia started chiseling and hammering chunks of wood into works of art using the same intaglio technique mastered by Sanchez.
Wayne Garcia A third generation Cuban-American, Garcia’s first carving depicted his father’s old wooden fishing boat. But that was just the beginning. Garcia evolved into a masterful story teller, using his colorful bas-relief carvings to immortalize his childhood, local characters and bits of Key West history: all stories that would have otherwise been lost in time.
Garcia has since traveled to New York City and Havana to demonstrate Mario Sanchez’s traditional carving method for the American Folk Art Museum and Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Art.
Garcia’s own fascinating stories continue to unfold through his ongoing works, many of which, are on exhibit at Key West’s acclaimed Gallery on Greene. The exhibit includes compelling portraits of colorful Key West characters such as El Gato, The Last One Standing and landmark buildings like “La Brisa,” once the beachside society, social venue and dance hall for Key Westers.