Raul Gonzalez is a really busy guy. As an artist his mediums are as wide open as the sky. He paints, photographs, sculpts, collages and creates murals; just to name a few of his preferred methods. On top of all that, he works a 9-5 at a print shop in Spring, which is what pays the bills. In addition to working, Gonzalez is very active in the Houston art scene with a long list of exhibitions under his belt. To top all of this off, he will be attending the University of Texas at San Antonio next fall to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree, so there's that too.
Much of Gonzalez's mixed-media work is based in photography and evolves from there. He will bike around town or snap a picture at an intersection and build the image into a large-scale piece of art. In Gonzalez's mind art is everywhere and ever present. Down to the most mundane of scenarios, he will find a source for his material.
What he does: "To be honest, the question is: What don't I do?" he jokes. Gonzalez's artistic merit, as well as the process in which he creates art, is multi-layered. Often he will take a photograph of something he finds interesting and turn it into something quite different. He uses paint, pen, marker, spray paint, metal wood and just about every other material imaginable.
"But it's not just moving photography, I take hundreds of photographs at concerts, festivals and other events. It's all source material. I find that the best art comes from something that's already there, at least in regards to my work." This is just one of the many methods Gonzalez uses to create.
Lately, he has been into murals and recently completed a colorful, large scale painting at the Caroline Collective. He doesn't limit himself in any ways, however. "My future projects," Gonzales says, "will consist of large scale ink drawings, sculptural paintings and more public art pieces, as well as installations, which take all these mediums and more in order to create an environment."
Did he mention that he does a little bit of everything?
What inspires him: Gonzalez finds inspiration everywhere and anywhere.
"I honestly take mental note of everything that happens to me. In an essence, my artwork is auto-biographical. I'm a huge fan of music so I find myself rummaging through the thousands of concerts pictures I have so that I can recreate a moment and share it with people."
Music concerts, stoplights, traffic violations and mug shots are all sources of inspiration, as is other art.
"Art in general inspires me. I look at past artists that I respect and take inspiration from their ideas or methods of creating."
Gonzalez also uses current culture and the modern amenities as a source of inspiration.
"I also make a lot of references to pop culture and current society norms, such as the use of Facebook, playing games with friends via mobile devices or online gaming systems. I pay attention to trends in contemporary art and think of ways I can comment on movements. I do this not to simply add to what's already being done - but I allow it to challenge me to do something I normally don't know. "
If not this, then what: If Gonzalez wasn't an artist you might find him behind a slicer, fixing you up a nice turkey on rye. "I weren't an artist, I would like open up a deli shop," he says. He finds similarities between food and art and the "craft" that is involved in constructing a meal. Plus, he boasts, "I make some damn good breakfast and lunch sandwiches."
If not here, then where? Gonzalez sees himself and his art as not "just here" in Houston, but everywhere.
"Well, my goal is to go from local artist to national artist to international artist - so the question of here or there doesn't make sense to me. I plan on showing my work across the map. It definitely means more work, but I'm ready for that."
What's next for him? Gonzalez's work will be represented in an upcoming, juried art show in San Antonio, TX. The show New Art/ Nuevo Art: San Antonio 2012, will run from June 13th through August 10th.
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Additionally he has a solo show opening up in Del Rio, TX at Casa de la Cultura, which will run October 5th through November 5th.
"And...," he reminds us that his painter hat will soon turn into a thinking cap, "I will be moving to San Antonio in August and will be there for three years," working on his Master's.
More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
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