Alexandra Pacheco Garcia
How did you get into debt?
The bulk of my debt is from graduate school. I decided to go to graduate school during the financial crisis, it seemed like a reasonable investment in the path towards becoming a professional artist and academic. I chose a three year program that was tuition free however, I had to take out loans for cost of living, materials, etc. Even living frugally and making a small stipend as a TA, I accrued $65,000 of debt. I have an additional 4,000 in credit card debt associated with cost of living in LA post grad school.
Describe your art practice
I think of my art practice as akin to historical fiction and magical realism. A blend of the supernatural, ancestral magic, family histories and historical narratives, largely circling around the subject of colonialism and personal/political identity in relationship to Puerto Rico. I work in film, video + photography. My photographic processes are largely abstract using the building blocks of analog technologies - light, photosensitive material, time. I recently made a 20m film following a fictional character named Elena C, a Puerto Rican activist and psychic medium, as she makes her way walking along the perimeter of the island. A poetic meditation, slipping through time and space, the film attempts to navigate the intersecting histories of extra-ordinary woman, Puerto Rico's political history, tracing family and my experiences.
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
Most likely. You make different choices when you are working with very limited means. My debt and income level certainly impact my ability to experiment materially, work at larger scale, choices I make in finishing. Generally speaking, photography and video production tend to be costly mediums. But on the flip side, financial limitations forces one to be resourceful. I've come across interesting, cost affective solutions to visual problems in part, because I simply didn't have the means to spend money freely.