Sam Garcia Jr.


Sam Garcia Jr. but professionally goes by Sam Scālz

Age: 44


San Diego, California only 2 miles from the Mexican border

How long have you been in the hobby?

I've kept fish for 39 years, worked professionally in the hobby for 29 years. Been a professional artist for 30 years.

What do you currently have in your aquariums?

I currently keep mostly nano aquariums under 20 gallons with small Characins and Cyprinids, rare  Loricariids, Apistogramma, wild Betta species, Shrimps and Corydoras. I formerly had a very large and diverse fish and reptile collection. I toned down the livestock so I could have more time to do other things. 

Apart from fishkeeping, you also like to catch fish on rod and reel. Living on the coast, you must catch some awesome fish. What has been your most memorable catch?

I have fished for species like Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna, Thresher and Mako Sharks, Dorado, Yellowtail and many other species. Despite this, I am more satisfied catching freshwater species including giant Largemouth Bass. While not my biggest Bass, I vividly remember catching a 13 pound Largemouth that ate a Trout I caught. I landed it on 45 minutes on only 2 pound test momofilament. 

Now, You are well known for your artwork. your tropical fish artwork is pretty impressive. what led you to producing these amazing works of art?

I always liked to draw and paint fish since I was very young. Being very observant of the physical details of nature, it was always a challenge to try and recreate them. I am always striving to improve my technique and execution.

You obviously have a passion for fish and wildlife in general. Your work ranges from insects to fish to reptiles and more. Your profile is filled with a variety of drawings. is there a species you enjoy drawing the most? 

I go through phases where I like to focus on different species. I enjoy whatever I am currently painting and become obsessed. Recently, I even painted ducks. I am looking forward to painting Spiders, Geckos, Characins and Loricariids next year for some upcoming print series. 

Whats on the do do list of fish to draw? 

Aside from Characins and Loricariids that I already mentioned, I will be painting many iconic Rift Lake species, the whole Cichla genus and quite a few new species and CARES species. I will also be doing some Gamefish art. 

Being passionate about your work shows in all you do, how do you share you work with the world? other than Facebook?

I recently began using Instagram and other social media platforms. Aside from that, I display my work at trade shows, art conventions, galleries and create clothing with my art on it. My art is frequently used for promoting events related to the hobby, as well. 

Have you ever had your work displayed in a gallery?

I am represented by Art For Wildlife Galleries in Coronado, California. I also do shows at several other galleries across the US and have had work displayed at various natural history museums. 

Where can we buy your work? 

I will be revamping my website soon and I sell lots of work through my Facebook artist page,

I also want to mention Herpetological Conservation International (HCI), Project Piaba for responsible wild collection of fish, Art For Wildlife Galleries, and Artists For Conservation (AFC). 

Any advice for folk out there looking to draw their own fish at home? 

Always try to get body and fin proportions accurate. Sometimes, a small error can make a fish look wrong in art. Be patient with scales and try to study as many photographs as you can. 

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