Stateline Spotlight: A Man and His Paint Brush

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There was a time in Patrick Garcia’s life where finding shelter and a decent meal was a struggle. He says he was once considered a “starving artist”, a title he’s able to smile about today.

“I’ve made some bad decisions and have had to suffer the consequences.”

Patrick Garcia looks at every blank canvas the way he looks at life, it’s a chance to make something out of what many times feels like nothing.

“I was homeless and trying to kick a crack cocaine addiction. As I think back, I was hopeless.”

Garcia’s artistic talent has never been enough to pay the bills, however his skill has been with him in the darkest times, in the midst of a drug addiction and homelessness. A paint brush and a number two pencil seemed to be the only things consistent in his life.

“I’m the person I am because of what I’ve been through.”

Garcia has come a long way since we interviewed him three years ago. The army veteran works a full time job now and is selling his artwork through word-of-mouth. He’s been sober since 2006.

“I can make better decisions now and have better self-esteem.”

That high self-esteem comes from the reaction he gets to his creations. Right now his pictures line the walls of a make-shift studio in downtown Rockford. A vision, Garcia finds calming, calling the process, his anti-drug.

“I recommend it for anybody that needs to get rid of stress, although when I am doing portraits it’s stressful.”

Garcia says during the times he felt like he lost himself, he’s never truly give up art, looking at every blank page as a fresh start at life.

Garcia says he owes a lot of his sobriety to a program through Janet Wattles that helps homeless veterans.

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