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Meet Eliezer Garcia Gazaui

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eliezer Garcia Gazaui.

Hi Eliezer, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
It’s Friday evening and you just held a pair of retractors in an appendectomy. “Helping in the surgery was exciting,” you tell yourself while you pack your camera gear for tonight’s music festival.

Perhaps this story doesn’t make much sense, yet for me, it was a regular day during medical school. In fact, my life has always revolved around medicine and the arts. By the time I was 7 years old, I was already sneaking into my dad’s surgeries or staring at my mom’s newborn patients which sparked my curiosity for the human body and for life itself. Ever since, I pictured myself working in healthcare. On the other hand, I enjoyed drawing and making crafts so much, that I remember my elementary school teachers used to praise my “creativity”, but I didn’t even know what they meant. As the years passed, I considered art a mere hobby, so I focused on getting into medical school. However, this idea began to fluctuate after I received my first digital camera; I was a 15-year-old captivated by the permanence of the scenes and the stories the pictures told.

By 2011, I had accolades from three teen national photography contests and my self-portraits were popular among high schools in Venezuela. Hence, these experiences made me consider a career to expand the skill, but a part of me wasn’t willing to quit on my childhood dream just because I found a new passion. For that reason, I stuck to my original plan: becoming a doctor.

Fortunately, while I was in medical school, I used my spare time to explore the realms of photography as I worked in a variety of fields that included nightlife, fashion, and gastronomy, to name a few. At some point, a client encouraged me to start filming his events and gave me a piece of very simple yet life-changing advice: “Act like you are going to take a picture, but press the record button instead”. That single phrase opened a new world of possibilities, and the more I practiced, the more ideas I encountered.

Eventually, I got interested in all the motion-media type of stuff and suddenly I was also animating my pictures, and later on, doing 3D modeling for virtual reality experiences. It was obvious that my desire to create was going to keep pushing me through all the artistic disciplines that it could, and it was demanding of more than just my free time. As a result, I decided to dive into Film and Television and Visual Effects at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) after earning my medical degree. And here we are.

Incidentally, medicine made me a better artist, which I wasn’t particularly expecting. It allowed me to understand the processes that trigger creativity, and it ultimately changed the way I perceive my thoughts and everything that surrounds me, and I am grateful for it. In the end, it proved to me that being both an artist and a doctor were never meant to be two separate lives, but the imminent opportunity to create something new.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As with any journey, this road has been as smooth as it has been rough. On the one hand, I have been blessed to be raised in a loving and supporting home where my parents taught me and my sister that our purpose in life is to be happy doing what we love, and so did we. Thankfully, my family has always been beside me to praise my achievements and visions, and to help me navigate through my decisions.

On the other hand, completing my medical degree was harder than I expected. Whenever political tensions arose in Venezuela, the Universidad Central de Venezuela would close its doors until the ongoing conflict dissipated. Sometimes I would be back in a month, sometimes in six months. This uncertainty was exhausting, and it felt like it was delaying all my goals. As a result, I dropped out of medical school because I didn’t want to wait for it anymore, but a good friend talked me into going back so I could graduate. He said: “you can be successful but if you leave something unfinished, you might spend the rest of your life looking back and wondering about what would’ve happened if”. Thank God I listened because it revealed to me that patience and perseverance are key to triumph.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am fond of creating content for social media, producing with a variety of digital resources from animation to augmented reality and games. Furthermore, I am known for my surreal scenes that explore themes of self-discovery and the modern society.

Recently, I compiled my favorite artworks into “Occipital: a digital collection”, a video reel that reunites my exploration of film, animation, and expanded reality. It celebrates the contrast between the realities I got to live as a medical doctor and an artist while honoring the brain lobe responsible for visual interpretation. You can check it out here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/562185170?h=c7ca0f51bd&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&speed=0&badge=0&autopause=0&player_id=0&app_id=58479/

Finally, I strive to give purpose and meaning to every project so they can have a spirit of their own to be memorable.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
A couple of weeks ago, I came across MEDinART, a platform that features the work of artists who link biomedical sciences with literally any art form. The site inspires me and validates that we are all artists regardless of our field of study. Here is the link to it www.medinart.eu.

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