We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Following my intuition and staying true to myself and my artwork has been the most important factor in my success. Of course, I’ve had help from people like my longtime friend, mentor, collector, and art patron Rick Rubottom, who gives me advice and has the best stories about life in the ’60s. I have had help from The escapist program in Houston, where I learned the value of maintaining relationships with collectors because they become your friends. It is a beautiful relationship, they support your work and you get to see them grow. These days there is so much noise and distractions. It is important to disconnect and spend time doing your practice, whatever that may be. Any time spent on it is better than zero time. Learning to balance and know when to stop is also very important, it is something I don’t think I will ever stop working on.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work has shifted its focus and subject matter throughout the years. I started painting seriously and prolifically at the age of 13. I painted out of necessity, after learning it from my grandfather who was also a painter, my grandfather would watch Bob Ross painting instructional VHS tapes and create paintings while watching them, I would watch him, and eventually, I picked up different painting techniques. The painting was the best way for me to escape the everyday struggles I was dealing with at home and school. I started with landscapes and later discovered abstraction and the rest was history. My main method of painting is abstract expressionism, painting from intuition by using mark-making techniques and methods. I let the feelings guide me. Recently I have developed a different method of painting involving geometric patterns and dye. I am incorporating acrylic painting techniques and creating these hazy landscapes and then adding geometric shapes. I was inspired by David Fredrick, a painter from the Romantic period. I always honor the time to paint, it is a spiritual practice to me, I try to do it every day. Sometimes the inspiration is not there, and I must go out and seek it. Whether it be in nature, downtown, etc. The way I got to where I am today professionally is backed up by hard work, dedication, persistence, and a lot of sacrifices. I am in the studio 90% of the time, I am constantly exploring through different methods of creating. There is a lot of isolation involved with what I do but it does not feel like work and I love what I do to the point that I find it hard to stop. The hardest challenge that I think I will always be facing is finding the balance when it comes to working and knowing when to stop. Along the way I have learned to protect my energy by spending more time alone, it is then when I have gotten to know myself the most. While my works reflect differently upon each viewer, my ultimate goal is to make the viewer feel. I simply create freely and openly with the hope that someone else feels the need to create too. I think the world is better when we can all express ourselves.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is a great city full of good food, art, music, and great sites. If my best friend were visiting, I would have the following itinerary for them: In the morning, a bike ride on the memorial trails, with a speaker blasting music and some beers in a tiny cooler. Then a meal at Brasil In Montrose followed by a nap. For mid-day, I would take a trip to the MFAH followed by some drinks at Grand Prize Bar. In the evening, I would go get corn in a cup from Treats of Mexico on the east side of downtown then Tacos from Bohemeo’s, and then some local art, music, and goodies from your local art and music store called Insomnia. Finally, I would have a nightcap at little Danny’s Speedo for drinks and a pool game. Now that all that is limited due to COVID 19, I would spend time on the bayou trails and pick up food to go from Brother’s tacos on the east side of downtown. I would then drive 45 min. to Galveston to camp out at the beach at night and see the sunset. In the morning I would order some food from Sunflower Café and eat it at the beach followed by a day of splashing in the waves.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
John Palmer, Blakely Bering, The Escapist Program, Carlos Canul, Michael Collins, Ryan Baptiste, Rebecca Lankford, Circa Real Estate