Witnessing — and participating in — Kansas City’s renaissance has been amazing, said Luis Garcia, the longtime artist behind HechoKC.
The Crossroads used to be a ghost town, said Garcia, who has been part of the KC scene since his years at the Kansas City Art Institute. He developed SPYN Studio, a branding and design firm, and played host to galleries in the downtown arts district.
“I’m proud to be a part of that fabric and seeing how it’s evolved now because there’s so much stuff going on that people are trying to be a part of,” said Garcia, who most recently founded the maker-oriented HechoKC.
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With products first sold through SPYN’s Instagram account, HechoKC was born out of Garcia’s desire to draw a clear line between two different paths of his art, he said.
Launched in 2017, Hecho, or “made,” is an avenue that allows Garcia to deviate from SPYN’s specific aesthetic and sell 3D, fine artwork, and home decor with cultural roots, he said. It also features up-and-coming or regional artists.
Garcia films and produces a mini docuseries to highlight local Chicano artists in Kansas City, he said, with one completed on Chico Sierra, and one in the works on Vania Soto.
“As a gallerist, I was always wanting to have that platform for up-and-coming artists, for groups and regional or established artists,” he said. “Hecho is something where it’s that kind of vessel.”
Despite the role cultural elements play in his work, Garcia points to artists and entrepreneurs within his own family for providing the biggest influences on his art and business venture, he said.
“I’ve always considered myself an artist that happens to be a Latino or Hispanic, or Chicano even,” said Garcia. “So only from my perspective as a Chicano artist do you see some of the Latino aesthetic that I kind of utilize in some of the work. But other than that, it’s really for a general audience.”
His driving force comes from wanting to produce meaningful work, he said.
Garcia’s main focus right now is on building his product line, he said, and producing wearables by the end of the year, along with serving as Director of Diversity and Inclusion for AIGA KC, and as a facilitator for Guild iT.
The more you do, the more you’re going to make some positive change, Garcia said.
Check out Luis Garcia’s docuseries segment on Chico Sierra below.