We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vanessa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always admired my parents hard work. My mom’s desire to be her own boss, her confidence and ¨jefa¨ attitude and my dad’s career passion and work ethic inspired me to seek my own business. I knew it was going to be difficult especially working as a full time art teacher. For me having my own business is more than just another income, it’s about having ownership of my own work. “It’s me”, it’s who I am and I feel so accomplished when people want to purchase my art, especially when others can relate to to the work I make. It’s a 24/7 job so learning how to balance my business, personal life and teaching career has been a roller coaster to say the least. Although there are never ending sacrifices linked to maintaining my own business, those sacrifices are the foundation to my current success.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I explore the sense of cultural dislocation and dissociation, based on my experience of moving from Mexico to the United States and an educator. Although I was born in Texas, I was brought up in Mexico and did not return to the United States until the age of 17. As such, my work explores the feelings inherent in the experience of feeling like an outsider who constantly needs to explain and justify my cultural identity despite residing in the country of my birth. My images are meant to represent identity, confusion, and acceptance, which makes me explore the questions what is required to be part of a nation and what it means to be an Mexican American. Using the term “Mexican-American” as a constant influence rather than just a migration moment, reflects the significance of the diaspora I live in. This diaspora positions the idea of homeland slowly and painfully in terms of the past .
I constantly use images that certifies my identity and nationality something that proofs my identity where I belong a representation of my two homelands, but they also show how I constantly cross an emotional border between these two societies. These border crossing creates the feeling of transient experience of a cultural explorations, that helps me accept my dual citizenship, it creates the feeling of belonging within the two cultures.

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?
I’m new to Houston and I know I have a lot of things yet to discover, but I’m already in love with this city. I would definitely spend a couple of days in the museum district, visit the MFAH, Contemporary Art Museum, Museum of Natural Science. It’s really pretty around that area so I would make sure to take my friends to a concert at the Miller Outdoor theater and enjoy the view with good food from the Rise Box. We would visit the Houston Farmers market in the Heights, buy some conchas from El Bolillo and finish the day at the Color Museum. Go for a walk at Sam Houston park and make our way to the post where they have all the food options with an amazing view of downtown. I’m in love with printmaking so visiting the Printmaking Museum is a must and end the day wit some good food and drinks at St. Arnold’s Brewery. On the weekend visit all the amazing studios at Lawndale Art Center and eat at one of the best restaurants in Houston Xin Chao and some good Texas BBQ.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh wow! I have so many people to shout out. I’ve always been super thankful to four people in my life. First, my husband and his unbelievable support. Not only did he help me learn english, but he has always helped me in my art and business decision making. Second, my parents who have given me everything I need to be who I am. All their sacrifices and hard work is the result of my success. Last but not least, my most inspiring mentor, my ESL teacher, Mrs. Kelly. With her love and care, I was able to overcome my fears as an immigrant and learned to follow my passion for art. She has played a vital roll in my career path and has truly set the bar in my career as an educator.

Website: vanessagonzalezart.com

Instagram: vanessa_la_necia

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