Monica Garwood: I grew up in the North Bay living on Mt. Tam which is ridiculously picturesque and full of nature. We had a family of deer living in our back yard and a family of skunks living under our house. So my whole childhood was full of plants and animals which I loved, but I thought that when I was older I would want to live right in the middle of Union Square because I thought it was so glamorous and exciting. Now that I live in SF, I mostly avoid Union Square and am very appreciative for the patches of nature we have in the city. I create a lot of nature escapes in my head which end up in a lot of my work.
KL: What are your favorite places to shop in SF?
MG: I can spend hours in art stores. I love Arch for its super helpful staff when I have a specific project. I love Flax for its huge paper selection and crafting trinkets. And Blick is great for its sales on paints and brushes.
KL: Who/what are your creative influences?
MG: I have always had a thing for drawing people. I love pushing their body shapes to extremes, and using body language to communicate a certain idea or just an emotion. Such small details like the gesture of a hand or the position of an eyebrow can change the whole feeling of a picture. It is very satisfying for me to develop characters from scratch and bring them to life.
KL: How did you conceive the concept for 'Girls You Can't Have'?
MG: It came naturally; I suppose all the ideas for the show were already in my head for a while waiting to come out. When I'm working as an illustrator there is a very long sketch-to-final process to creating work, and always for a specific predetermined topic. I am very thankful for this opportunity to create a show a personal work because it allowed me to be spontaneous and experimental.
KL: We love your portraits of women. Is this something you've always been into?
MG: Definitely. I love all the different forms a woman's body can take, and how the standards of beauty continue to change. I don't really aim to make my women beautiful, more just interesting characters.
MG: I would like to illustrate more fiction, so I suppose publishers and magazine art directors. My dream job is to illustrate a story for the Folio Society.
MG: Living in SF or New York, working on something or somewhere creative. Hopefully still experimenting and trying to learn new things daily!
Monica with Christine, the new owner of The Curated Attic.
Photos by Derek Macario