Camilo Gonzalez grew up using both old- and new-school technology. "I grew up with 16mm stuff, but I also grew up with a phone in my pocket. My grandfather was a chemical photographer, so I grew up seeing that. And I still carry a pencil and a little notebook around in my pocket, but at the same time I'm a total [tech geek.]"
New technology might make it easier to produce some forms of art, but producing good art? Gonzalez says that's just as difficult now as it's ever been.
"[Young people] grew up with a phone [that's a camera] and all of this amazing computer and photography equipment, but they aren't critical about [what they create or see] at all. It's like reading: Okay, you can read; how do you decide what to read, what's good and what's bad? That's what's missing with art, I think. Anybody can take a picture, but now what?"
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What He Does: We asked Gonzalez to describe the different roles he takes on as an artist and educator, to list the different mediums he uses in creating art. He laughed. "My friends and I were talking about that the other day. There is no short answer, not really."
The short-ish answer is that Gonzalez works as a media arts instructor for Aurora Picture Show and as a video editor for Raincoat Creative (formerly Spintop Studios), which he co-founded with Stephen Wilson. He recently worked with Houston film curator Peter Lucas on One Small Step, the restoration and reorganization of footage from the NASA documentary For All Mankind. (The pair are in the process of submitting the film to various festivals.) He's an artist; he's a photographer; he's a filmmaker; he's an educator.
Why He Likes It: "It's never boring and you never stop learning. If you're specific and only do one thing, you can miss out on working with other people, and I love working with other people. Film is a great example -- there's one guy acting and another behind the camera and somebody else is directing. It's all these people to create one thing. I love that.
"Being an interdisciplinary artist for me is like being a cook. I don't want to cook just one [thing]; I want to cook a lot of different [things in different ways.]
What Inspires Him: "I get inspiration from looking back in music and art and film. Then I look at how youth digests that. I'm interested in how we put things together. Everything is a remix, but how do we remix those elements? I get inspiration from everywhere -- from really bad web sites to social media to listening to really crappy music on the bus to seeing an amazing painting. Inspiration is always right in front of us. It's just a question of being open to it."
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If Not This, Then What: "When I was first going to school, I thought about math and physics. Now I'm happy I didn't do that because I see the people who did and they don't look happy. I actually love cooking, but I don't think that I would want to be cooking forever.
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"If I could do anything, anything, I would want to be a musician. But I suck as a musician. I mean I suck really, really bad. I just don't have the ear for it or I don't know what, but really, I suck. And I would love to be able to play an instrument."
If Not Here, Then Where: "I would like to check out a European city like Berlin. Really established cities like New York or L.A., they actually don't have a lot of new energy because they already have strong scenes. I would want to be somewhere that was up-and-coming, with a good flow of people coming in. San Diego right now has a really weird dynamic, maybe there. Here [in the States], I would want to live in New Orleans."
What's Next: "One Small Step, the film I finished and premiered about a month ago, that's going to be hitting the festivals. The other big project I'm working on is with MD Anderson. I'm working with cancer patients, children; we're making a film together and that's going to be screening in the middle of the year. I'm working with Peter Lucas on a possible exhibition based on One Small Step."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Kendall Kaminsky, playwright Christopher Turbessi, pianist Chuck Norfolk, filmmaker Reginald Smith, Jr., opera singer Luke Hamilton, dancer, choreographer and actor Jera Rose Petal Lodge, metalsmith and jewelrymaker Lauren Burke, dancer and choreographer Ben Fritzsching, comic book show promoter and character actor Will Ottinger, novelist Greg Starbird, theater lighting designer Dominique Royem, symphony orchestra conductor Marc Boone, Sneaker Gang founder and designer Andy McWilliams, sound designer and composer Maria-Elisa Heg, zine queen Allan Rodewald, artist Anne-Joelle Galley, artist Michelle Ellen Jones, ballroom dancer and actress Morris Malakoff, photographer and filmmaker Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer