LUBBOCK, Texas — A local artist is receiving national recognition for his work. His courtroom sketches were featured in an episode of “ABC 20/20” that aired on Friday night.
To some, a piece of paper is just an empty space, but for artists like Robert Garza, a piece of paper is a portrait, waiting to be set free.
“I like telling stories … I like to catch their emotion — their eyes, their mouth,” Garza said.
He can turn a blank page into a woman’s face in seven minutes, and sketches like that just scratch the surface of what he can do.
Garza has drawn and painted his whole life.
“When I was a little kid, any blank paper was not safe,” Garza said.
He says he loves capturing the likeness of things like pets, celebrities, local legends, fallen heroes and religious figures, like Jesus Christ and Mary — reminiscent of the Pietà.
He even drew KAMC Chief Meteorologist Ron Roberts.
Now, his latest project is courtroom drawings for ABC News, but for those drawings, timing is critical.
“I go as fast as I can trying to capture [the moment],” Garza said.
It started five years ago when local TV stations found his work online and asked him to do some courtroom sketches. Those later caught the eye of ABC. Friday night, his illustrations of testimonies on the stand during a murder trial appeared once again on ABC 20/20.
“I was at the edge of my seat, ‘oh they used that one, oh they used that one!'” Garza said.
He added that the recognition has made him feel a little nervous but very excited.
“Seeing the artwork on the TV screen that everybody sees, millions of people see — it freaks me out … in a good way,” Garza said.
The artist also said he’s incredibly grateful for the opportunity he never expected in “his wildest dreams.”
“I’m very honored. Very, very proud that after all the years of doing it, this is what’s come out of it,” Garza said.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Garza’s work, you can head to his Facebook page or send him an email at email@example.com.