Today we’d like to introduce you to Raul Gonzalez.
Raul, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My interest in drawing started at young age, around 6. My early artistic influence came from watching cartoons, playing video games, t-shirts, comic books, Disney movies, and so on. I took my first art class in 10th grade at Jeff Davis High School in Houston. I won a couple of awards in high school but didn’t have a real idea of what being an Artist meant.
At 18, I left Houston to go to Washington University in St. Louis planning to get a degree in Advertising Design. I realized right away that wasn’t for me so I spent two years in St. Louis mastering my drawing skills in graphite and ballpoint pen.
I moved back to Houston and worked a variety of full-time and part-time jobs while and eventually started college all over again. I found my way to the University of Houston where I planned to get a degree in Art Education. It was there, at the age of 26 that I knew I wanted to paint and that I wanted to become a full-time visual artist. In 2010, I got my BFA in Painting, joined an artist collective, The Montrose Art Society. We put together our own exhibitions and worked with a long list of artists and spaces over a two-period. During that time, I went through a couple mentorship programs and workshops that taught me the professional-side of being an artist.
In 2012, I decided to pursue my Masters of Fine Art in Painting at UT San Antonio. After graduating in 2014, my wife and I decided to settle down in San Antonio. We had our first child in September 2014 and by December 2014, I became an official stay-at-home parent. I turned down an adjunct professor position at UTSA so I could stay at home with our daughter. Now my wife and I have two daughters, whom turn 2 and 4 this year.
Over the past four years, I have maintained a regular schedule of exhibiting my artwork in both group and solo exhibitions both at a regional and national level. My visual art practice has expanded from drawing and painting to include methods of printmaking, performance, and dance.
My artwork is in several museum collections including the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum in Albuquerque. I have been featured by Whataburger and have worked with companies such as Google and Lee Jeans.
My artwork reflects everything I have experienced. I like to think of myself as a natural storyteller and I do that by making artwork that is both figurative, abstract, and experiential. I share stories of family, work, and labor. I create installations that energize spaces. I use my body through dance and performance.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work explores topics such as work, fatherhood, identity, gender roles, construction, labor, the working class, identity, and abstraction. I use versatile methods of painting, drawing, printmaking, performance, and dance.
I believe in demystifying the canvas, redefining social stereotypes, and working towards evolving as an individual, father, and artist. I use my artwork to share my personal experience and to educate. I also use it as a place to share energy, joy, and love. What we create is both a reflection of the internal self and the world we absorb. I am constantly exploring new cultures through music, dance, and art. Through my experiences, the artwork I create evolves just as well. My motto is Werk. Hustle. Sleep Repeat.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
I think the important thing is to think long-term. Any improvements in pay in your field of work comes with a lot of goal setting, strategic planning, good budgeting, to always think about a career rather than a short amount of time.
Save the big projects for when you actually afford them. Sometimes it’s just wiser to hold on things you can’t afford, especially if selling artwork seems difficult. The main key is consistency and building on any accomplishment, whether small or big.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My artwork can always be seen at Forum 6 Contemporary in Houston. It’s an artist-run gallery located on the Second Floor of Spring Street Studios (1824 Spring Street, Suite 227). The gallery represents artists from throughout Texas and we hold monthly solo exhibitions and yearly group exhibitions. I always have original drawings, paintings, and hand-rendered print editions available at the gallery.
Also, in Houston, you can check out my Butterfly Mural located at 2811 Washington Ave. I completed it back in 2012. In 2019, I will be showing new work at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio and at ArtPace. Those shows open January and February and both will run until May. Then, in September I will have a solo show that opens at HCC NE Northline Art Gallery.
To see all my updates, follow me online:
Artwork can be purchased thru my website which links you to my Square Store. Delivery is generally included with all online orders.
In Austin, I have artwork available at grayDUCK Gallery, located at 2213 E. Cesar Chavez. Last, but not least, you can always set up a studio visit any time you visit San Antonio. This September I am about to open an Air BnB /Art Gallery, WERK HOUSE SA in San Antonio. My wife and I are turning a studio apartment located on our property into a place where people can visit San Antonio and experience something new. Werk House SA will operate as a traditional Air BnB while also treating guests to curated art shows in a private setting. Initially my artwork will be shown, but I will be adding artists to a roster so that guests can select whose work they’d like to see during their stay.
- Website: www.ArtistRaulGonzalez.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: werkin_artistraulgonzalez
- Facebook: ArtistRaulGonzalez
- Twitter: werkin_artist
- Other: Vimeo: ArtistRaulGonzalez
All photos courtesy Raul Gonzalez