We had the good fortune of connecting with Drea Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Drea, why did you pursue a creative career?
As cliche as it may sound, I chose an artistic career to ignite every part of me that brings me life. Whether it’s the smile on someones face when they see their pictures, or the feeling I have seeing a shot through my cameras viewfinder. It was all inspired by a feeling inside that can’t ever be described. Having an artistic career has broadened everything I know to be beautiful, and has completely changed my definition of what beauty is. Beauty can be driving down the Texas roads of Big Bend during sunset, but it can also be a special someone sitting across you at the table while working. Art allows you to categorize whatever you want as art, so long it moves you in the direction that makes you feel alive. If it leaves you breathless, paralyzed, speechless, and/or happy, it is art. There is nothing right or wrong in artistry; it’s a story with a different cover.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since the beginning of my photography career, I tried extremely hard to steer away from “what sells” and tried to stay away from making my photography seem like a blog. So I HAD to say no to certain photoshoots because it wasn’t what I wanted to display. I was told many times to just “do the shoots” or “get money, it’s easy”, but I wanted to do things MY way and wanted to create my art to reflect what I really wanted. It definitely wasn’t easy, but going on year 3, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Seeing my portfolio transform and it being what I actually envisioned is only reassurance that I did the right thing. I am obviously still trying to perfect my craft, but I plan to make that journey extremely fun and exciting. I think going the route I did set me apart because it allowed me to display the photography that’s true to me. I like people to see that my work is natural, organic, minimal, and timeless.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to every coffee shop imaginable LOL. I am a coffee addict, so I think taking them to coffee shops and walking around cute neighborhoods would be the way to go. I would definitely start in the Heights! Boomtown tacos with Crud’s on a perfect sunny day would be stop #1. Walking down 19th is very cinematic and calm. It’s its own little town. Easy to have conversation and capture moments in their truest forms. Bike rides through the city after that and ending in Eado for AMAZING food. Indianola, Nancy’s Hussle, Rodeo Goat!! Definitely ending the day with the most perfect city views and a signature Texas sunset. I’d follow anything that has a good margarita, whiskey, and/or live music. It goes hard in the paint LOL The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My success was always thanks to all of my dear friends, near and far, sharing my talents with people they knew. Every friend I have come across, whether social media or in person, have recommended me to anyone looking for a photographer for any reason. There isn’t a specific group I can thank, it’s honestly everyone that I have met. Even if they haven’t recommended me, their feedback on my work and them letting me know that my photography is amazing is more than enough. Then my work changed and became much more intimate and sincere after a very close friend of mine, believed in me in ways that nobody ever has. The support and belief that was given definitely reflected in my work. Then there was a book I read right at the beginning of quarantine called Untamed. THAT BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE. I went from caring what people think, getting opinions on everything, trying to follow certain peoples style, to being me independently. It has been the BEST transformation. My internal transformation has been by far the best thing I’ve ever done.