Siricasso Garcia: Anything is Possible

The Rural Regenerator Fellowship brings together individual artists, makers, and culture bearers, grassroots organizers, community development workers, public sector workers and other rural change-makers who are committed to advancing the role of art, culture and creativity in rural development and community building. Recently, we asked a collective of local writers to sit down with current Rural Regenerator cohort members to share more about their work.

Siriaco Garcia, who also goes by Siri or Siricasso, is an artist guided by love of family and community. As a painter, clothing designer, screen printer, and event organizer, Siri integrates a warm, generous love of humanity into all of his creative ventures in truly inspirational ways. On reflecting about his motivations to create and share art through his many endeavors, he shares that even though he and his family “didn’t come from much,” he still feels in his bones that, “anything is possible.” “If you can dream it, you can do it,” is the message that guides his work and how he commits to impact the community around him.

Photo by Rodney Washington/Huxley Welcome Mural/Huxley, 2021.

If you’re anywhere around Central Iowa, chances are likely that you’ll be greeted by one of his colorful and bold murals. Or, if you’re lucky, happen upon one of his pop-up events featuring local visual artists and artisans selling their wares to the soundtrack of live performances by local hip-hop musicians. Wherever you may happen upon Siri and his art you can rest assured it will fill you with the spirit in which he creates, the driven sensibilities of an artist committed to sharing a reverence for possibility.

For the last three years Siri has made his home with his family in Huxley, Iowa after moving from Ames where he spent his teen years with his Aunt Rita. In the three years since moving to this small community he’s been busy crafting a new sense of home through bringing his signature style of painting to local area businesses walls. Visitors and residents alike can see Siri’s work on the Welcome to Huxley, Iowa sign, and peep his visions in paint on the side of the local laundromat, fire hall, and a Mexican restaurant. Siri sees his ability to make art in his community as evidence that the town of Huxley, population 4,244, “has really opened their doors” to him. In fact, the murals have become his favorite way to meet new people and get to know the residents of his community.On a recent school field trip to the zoo, the artist found himself connecting with another parent who, after learning Siri was responsible for painting Huxley’s welcome sign, was eager to learn more about him and his work. This conversation starter allows Siri to connect with others who may not share his cultural background, but whose appreciation of Siri’s art becomes a natural bridge for embodying community together.

Photo by Rodney Washington/ community paint party/ Slater, 2022.

From Picasso to Siricasso

Developing opportunities for connection is really what Siri’s work is all about. Whether it’s about a deep relationship to place through murals, or honoring culture through printed imagery on clothing, Siri’s work is about making room for him and others like him in the art world. He credits his Ames high school art teacher Shelli Hassebrock fo encouraging this ethic. She once told him, “there’s a place for you in this art world.” Now this mantra is a sentiment that he frequently shares with his students. This spirit of mentorship is a guiding force for Siri who sees his role as a supportive big brother in the community for anyone who might be in need of permission to play with their creative talents.

It was the safe space of Ms. Hassebrock’s classroom that birthed his moniker “Siricasso” (a riff on Picasso) a name that was collectively called into being by his peers in 2014. Having found painting in his senior year of high school, Siri was confident in his artistic skills but could not get the hang of realism. When Ms. Hassebrock slipped a
book titled “Picasso” into his hands, his life was changed forever. The yellow covered book with a cubist style woman’s face in primary colors was published in 1995 and features 60 images of Picasso’s works. Siri immediately felt drawn in by Picasso’s style especially in this form of his human figuration. It inspired him to do a riff on Picasso’s famous painting Guernica to share details of his own life’s challenges at the time.

Picasso’s Guernica completed in 1927 highlights the impact of war. Siricasso’s riff on the famous painting highlighted his contemporary familial struggles — witnessing the detaining and deportation of his mother, his father’s drug addiction, domestic violence, and his and other relatives’ childhood traumas. Through learning about the political impact of Picasso’s painting, Siricasso was able to connect to the pain in the paintings that other artists make.

That pain became an entry point for Siricasso’s artistic voice to emerge and served as an avenue for him to share his story with others. Now, long after that transformative art class in high school, Siri continues to cultivate his unique style of painting through bringing in calaveras and calacas (sugar skulls and skeletons), La Virgen de Guadalupe, luchadores (Mexican wrestlers), and other visual imagery that connects his life to popular animation and anime illustration on canvases, murals, and clothing he designs. Siricasso boldly outlines his figures with thick black line, calling attention to their presence in his art against backdrops of bright colors which invites all viewers into a cultural lexicon that affirms his Mexican American heritage vividly and without apology in predominately white Iowan communities.

Photo by Jason Wemer/ La Baja Mexican culture mural/ Des Moines, 2022.

Building a Creative Community

Siri is a natural community gatherer. His energy in sharing the possibility of art to positively impact the communities of which he is a part, is infectious. For him, rural regeneration is about “giving back at the end of the day.” He also knows that others in his community need visions for how they too could live a successful creative life. His positive attitude radiates through his warm personality and his willingness to create spaces for other creatives to come together and share their gifts with others. While recognizing how difficult it is to do this type of creative work he really just wants to lift others up. “Bringing people together is just awesome,” he states. This value is what inspires him to be constantly networking and connecting people to their own or others’ artistic gifts. Through pop-up events like Siricasso de Mayo featuring local vendors and musicians and lowriders, or painting with others while they share their immigration stories in front of a crowd, bringing people together and bringing people to many forms of art experiences brings him joy. One of his childhood nicknames was “Go-Go” which is probably the most lovingly apt name for Siriaco — he won’t stop moving on this mission to get art into the hearts and hands of as many people as possible.

Photo by Kim Stammer/ 3 point shootout/ Huxley, 2023.

About the Author

Kandace Creel Falcón, Ph.D. (she/her/they/their) is an interdisciplinary feminist scholar, writer, and visual artist. Their life’s passion grounds the power of narrative for social transformation. Learn more about Kandace’s writing and work at




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