57. Karla Garcia

In honor of our MasterMind genius awards, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

57. Karla Garcia 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Karla Garcia's contribution to Miami's culturally curious uprising fills a dictionary. She's known in the art community as Kar Gar, 305's Cuban-American version of Annie Leibovitz, a deeply passionate young lady documenting the city's artistic evolution one digital print at a time.

Like many Miamians, Garcia is a Cuban transplant. She was born in

Camagüey, but left the island with her family--"on a plane, not a

boat"--when she was five, arriving in Miami circa 1990. In school she

"always had Kodak disposable cameras" and thinks it was "probably the

pre-cursor to the realization of my innate skills." But it wasn't until

November 2008 that Garcia bought her first DSLR, a Canon Rebel XSI.

She'd graduated from FIU with a degree in Public Relations and began a career in marketing, though she quickly became uninspired. "I needed a creative outlet," she says, "(So I) started shooting everything."

​Shortly thereafter, Garcia was renting lights and using her former boss's airplane hangar to shoot a Miami hip-hop group, ArtOfficial. She found as much solace in art direction as she did in photographing, which led to her first collaboration with Tony Smurfio and Cuci Amador of Afrobeta. The result was a whimsical representation of Miami's collective, creative expressionism. For Kar Gar, it was only the beginning.

1. List five things that inspire you.  


-Retro/vintage-inspired styling

-Miami's local art scene 

-Independent films



2. What was your last big project? 

"Music is my boyfriend" (named after the CSS song) is my biggest project to date. I hadn't planned for it to be a project initially, but it eventually evolved as I continued shooting more local music acts and realized I had created a mini-collection within each individual shoot. It was all very organic, from the people I shot to the images we created. I've worked on other projects since but that one was my first and it's pretty dear to my heart. I named it "Music is my boyfriend" because I had become so involved with creating and planning my shoots that I would turn down a lot of outings because I had work to do, so I found myself in a relationship with my photography, and since they were all music related shoots, the name fit perfectly. 


3. What's your next big project? 

I'm working on executing my "Family Values" project, where I want to recreate my old family portraits, using other people and creating new memories for another family. I also have a lot of plans to further my work in the lifestyle and wedding department.


4. Why do you do what you do? 

The journey of creating and capturing memories is definitely cool. I love being able to freeze a moment in time by using my perception and artistic view. It's also very rewarding and humbling when people appreciate your work and that's when it all comes full circle and you realize that your role as a photographer is way more important than just producing a shot.


5. What's something you want Miami to know about you? What's something you don't want Miami to know about you? 

Miami should know that I do what I do because I love it, and those who trust my work and vision contribute to my personal journey.

I don't want Miami to know that I can't whistle. 

The Creatives so far:

58. Anna Mixon
59. Octavio Campos
60. P. Scott Cunningham
61. Elena Garcia

62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow

73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B