Gabriel Garcia’s show of Toxic Masculinity expressed so much more than just the words displayed in his pieces. It’s really cool to me that so many people are using their creative skills and talents to not only create art, but to create something that can really relay an important message to their audiences. It’s important that art can be enjoyed but on a whole other level I believe that it is such an accomplishment to have your work really get its viewers thinking about an issue that we see in today’s world, no matter how heavy it may be. In Garcia’s show, he displayed many of the issues that are going on around us everyday. Just on social media websites alone, I see posts about feminist driven issues multiple times a day. I think that feminists are viewed to be advocates of women’s rights only when really that’s not the case. It’s important that these issues are addressed for both women and men! Which is why I think it is very important to see a male artist addressing issues such as physical abuse, gender stereotypes and common phrases that may be relaying the wrong messages to our youth. Common sayings that we hear all the time that Garcia chose to point focus on consist of “Man Up”, “Don’t Be a Pussy”, “Don’t ______ Like a Girl”, etc. These give men certain expectations that they feel they must live up to in order to qualify as a “real man” which only affects them negatively. Garcia shared that he got the inspiration to create this show from a combination of personal experiences, news events that have occurred over the past year, and issues and ideas that are going on currently. These are all ideas that aren’t necessarily new and that we can all relate to and voice some sort of opinion whether we share our own personal experiences or have seen people we know affected.
Some of Garcia’s pieces conveyed really clear messages and others were a lot less obvious. When he was asked about the drawing of the pig and what is was meant to represent, he asked right back what we thought it represented. After a long pause of an unanswered question, he shared that his idea behind it was to represent the culture that we live in that has grown to be one big consumeristic culture. In the United States we are lucky enough to be able to consume pretty much whatever we want whenever we want and it has made us greedy. I would have never thought to use a pig to represent this issue but I think it’s brilliant and actually makes a lot of sense!