Rick Garcia was born in Miami, Florida after his parents relocated from Cuba. He was always encouraged to follow his dream of pursuing and developing his talent in art. He says he remembers discovering his artistic talents at nine “ when I remember that my school day was spent drawing more than paying attention in class. This continued for the remainder of my school years”. In later years he found a deep-rooted connection to surrealism, especially the work of Salvador Dali. Garcia became obsessed with the unique images and amazing technique of the Spanish painter and he eventually traveled to Port Lligat, Spain to visit the home and surroundings of his mentor.
After attending the Art Institute of Miami, he refined his artistic vision in drawing and painting. Soon, he was earning an income from published illustrations. Garcia has enjoyed a rich and diverse career starting with the hit TV show “Miami Vice” commissioning him to create paintings for interior shots on the show and a mural on the side of Tommy’s Garage in downtown Miami.
Apart from a growing number of private commissions, his distinctive images were commissioned by The United Nations Postal Administration starting in 1998, with paintings that brought awareness to the growing depletion of the rainforests which featured animals and plants under the threat of extinction. In 2003, his second series of postage stamps was developed for the United Nations to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the World Health Organization. These images brought awareness to the vanishing supply of freshwater around the world. Each of the three originals on canvas depicted a different season and/or zone of the earth affected by the freshwater crisis. This issue of stamps was awarded “the most beautiful stamp” by a European group of prominent stamp collectors.
Garcia was chosen as an “Absolut Artist of the 90s” in the popular vodka ad campaign, celebrating his artistic vision and adding him to to the collection of famous names such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha and more associated with the ads. A second commission followed when they made his bottle-shaped guitar into “Absolut Electric” which drew worldwide attention, was seen around the world including in The Paul McCartney World Tour Book 89/90.
Rick Garcia was a three-time official artist for the Grammy Award - 1998, 1999, and 2001 - where his creations influenced the look of the live broadcast and graced the covers of the official program book, CDs, posters, apparel, and other various items. His work included portraits of stars such as Destiny’s Child, Ricky Martin, Coldplay, Santana, Celia Cruz, Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West. He also designed the official look for MusiCares which is still in use today.
The 2001 Telluride Jazz Festival used Rick’s commissioned painting as the official poster of the famed jazz weekend. The buildings and landscape became a stunning surreal mix of architecture, nature and musical instruments.
Rick’s association with the famous Gibson Custom Shop brand spawned a collection of highly collectible one-of-a-kind hand-painted guitars that were all sold to collectors, musicians and enthusiasts. His most recent work was painting a 1954 Gibson Les Paul reissue for The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Rick’s charity work continued with painting a 50th Anniversary issue of the Gibson SG and original artworks for Cancer Research UK, where his work was displayed in the Abbey Road Studios in the very room where the Beatles recorded their legendary music.
Currently Rick is only taking private commissions for custom painted guitars.
Rick met Rocky Aoki, CEO and founder of Benihana, and they spent much time together as friends brainstorming on artworks and projects. Mr. Aoki commissioned Rick to paint his Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. During the NY ArtExpo this car was featured on the Today Show out of NYC where Mr. Aoki and Rick were interviewed. The entire vehicle was covered with elaborate hand-painted artwork of a Leopard and Tiger to help bring attention to these endangered animals.
His life long passion of thoroughbred racing tapped him in 2008 to be the official artist of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Festival. A large variety of items were created to promote the artwork and the event.
In 2009, Rick launched the “Cuba Con Leche” series. Garcia developed his unique Pop style in acrylic on canvas by incorporating Cuban and American pop cultural icons with bright colors, extraordinary details from everyday life, and a key Cuban map within each work. For Garcia, Cuba embodies a vast amount of visual images which inspires him to create paintings where he combines the nostalgic era with a contemporary bright pop art style. Architecture, vintage cars, music, color, and a variety of other aspects come together in these dynamic compositions.
Rick commented on the series and the name, “Originally after Cuba became such an inspiration for me to connect with my Cuban roots, then followed the urge to inform and/or raise the interest to the general public about that unique and amazing history and culture of Cuba. The name comes from a twist of the words "cafe con leche" a request for coffee and milk which Cubans use as sort of a mantra.”