Hi Culture365 members and Spacetaker visitors, I’m back with another entry in our Culture 365 Q&A series. This week we are featuring Raul Gonzalez, a Culture365 member and visual artist. Also earlier this year he was in a group exhibition in the ARC entitled Candy Shop. Raul Gonzalez studied Graphic and Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis for two years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Houston. All this information and much more can be found at his website and in his Spacetaker profile.
Raul shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.
How does your culture infuse your artistic work?
My culture always finds it's way into my artwork, whether intentionally or not. I am Mexican American, but very American. I'm kind of upset with myself that Mexican culture wasn't a true part of my upbringing. I ate Mexican food and my parents spoke Spanish. That's about it. As a kid, we didn't go to any cultural events or participate in any Mexican traditions. As I've gotten older, I'm realizing how important it is to reflect on my roots.
I know what I know and I translate that into artwork. Food, music and social problems. Latin Americans are always in the news - usually in the bad news. I can definitely relate to that. Relatives of mine have been victims of gang violence on the Mexican border. My dad was once an illegal immigrant and at times I've been the victim of racism. All that effects my artwork. I don't want that to be my subject, but when it's time to talk about it, I definitely want to be loud about it.
You are one of our regular visitors at Spacetaker. I want to know, how did you originally find out about Spacetaker?
Let's see. I think I did a search for artist resources in late 2009 or maybe early 2010. I just know I found the website and then signed up for the newsletter, which has been extremely helpful. Once I found out I could use the site as a way to promote my work and exhibitions, I totally took advantage of it. I believe I became more involved after Jenni asked me to be part of ARTernative Festival in Sugar Land.
What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?
This answer could get lengthy, but I'll try to keep it simple. A lot of my work is of ordinary things - people, music, candy, and culture. I just want people to see the subject matter I use, differently. For example, my series of construction workers and road signs; it's something we see and deal with every day. But...how many people take the time to appreciate what these people are doing? How many people realize that all this "annoying" construction work is providing thousands of people across the country jobs? I guess that's it. I just want people to open their eyes a little bit and see the world in a new light. There are so many things around us that we take for granted. I'm just putting the things I know on a pedestal and saying..."Hey, look at this."
If you had the chance to exhibit your work in any part of the world, where would that be?
I'm going to be completely honest. I would love a huge solo show in New York City. It really is the epi-center of the world. People go to New York to see what's happening, and I think my art is what's happening. I'd also like to do some solo shows in Europe and China. Seriously, I want to go global.
What are your plans for the future as an artist?
As I stated in the previous question, I want to show my art around the globe. I think a lot of people would appreciate what I'm doing and the subject matter I'm depicting. I would also love to have my own gallery here in Houston, that way I can host other artist’s events as well.
There are a lot of great artists, both here in Houston and around the world. It would be pretty cool to show artists I like in my gallery.
I would also like to continue to teach and mentor kids. If I have my own gallery, I would seriously do it for free. I would invite kids once a week for a whole day of art activities. It would be awesome.
To learn more about, Raul Gonzalez make sure to check out his Spacetaker profile and his website. I want thank Raul for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed another informative Culture365 Q & A. Have a wonderful day and I hope to see you next week.