The sweetie, Stephanie Gonzalez, is an amazing creator, painter, person, Houstonian-community-supporter extraordinaire. Her art story is really invigorating as she talks about process and life and inspirations.
My advice to you is to keep a close eye on her come-up because she’s pushing out work constantly! Not you or you or you could keep up with this hustle!
Where are you from?
Where are you now?
Houston, Texas or “Screwston” as locals like to call it.
What’s your creative process like?
I must have music. Sometimes I am not satisfied with the music on the radio, so I create loops of my own music on my guitar and start with that. I look around and start with what I have rather than purchasing more materials. I use anything I can get my hands on, food coloring, shoe polish, torn pages from an old magazine, caulking, you name it. Then the layers come, all of them from feelings of real time.
I rarely use a subject to paint but when I do it is because I am inspired by real time and what is happening in the moment. I lay out my substrates in a row and give them all a layer as I go. I always work on at least 3 pieces at a time. There is a lot of dripping, scraping, tearing, rubbing, etc. I like to let the work bake in the sun.
Do you like to sketch and plan or just wing it?
I like to sketch but they never become paintings. My paintings are paintings and sketches are sketches, I keep them separated and allow them to both have their own life.
How long might a completed painting take to create?
Years… Sometimes 1, sometimes 3, sometimes 5. There is a lot of layering involved.
What’s your studio/work-space like?
My space is filled with little things that inspire me, stuff that I have collected throughout the years. I have an amp and guitar that I like to play while I work. I have a “dirty” room, where I let everything drip, stain and puddle. That’s where the magic happens, the last layers.
I mostly keep the door open and create my first layers outside in the sun. When stuff is ready to be shown I keep it in the main room, which is white wall space and where I like to use my power tools. I live and work there so I wake up with the pieces everyday.
Since I’ve known you, you now make all kinds of awesome things besides paintings! What inspired you to branch out?
I grew up a bit neglected and in a war zone so I had to find things to make the time pass and take my mind off the things happening around me. I fell in love with the act of creating years ago and started experimenting with sewing very young. attending events like Pop Shop America really inspired me to try new things and push myself to create. I have such amazing friends in Houston who are all doing their own thing, a bunch of them creators, some of them musicians, and they also inspired me to branch out.
Did you always feel destined to be an artist? Were you ever unsure?
I knew I wanted to be an artist when I entered my first art competition in high school. I will never forget the first time I saw my work inside a mat and frame, I will never forget that feeling. It is then that I knew I wanted nothing more.
I didn’t think it was something I could do, so I got a BFA and majored in Interior Design. After college, I got a job at an art consulting firm. I didn’t know what to expect from the job, but I took it and worked there for 3 years. To my surprise it was all there in front of me, tons of artist replying to our call for artist daily, I had to answer artist emails and ask them about budget and lead time for their work etc. I learned a lot there and soaked it up like a sponge. It was while working there that I realized I too could make this my main source of income. It’s all I ever wanted to create, I think I was destined to be an artist, I took a degree that was safe because it was what you are supposed to do but it eventually took me on the path that I am now on and showed me the way. the short answer would be yes, absolutely. I used to doubt myself but I don’t anymore. I believe in the universe and it working in your favor, you just have to pay attention and trust your struggles.
When would you say you developed your current personal style of art?
In 2015, my heart was broken and I gave all of myself to my work. I quit going out as much and found satisfaction in solitude. I received a residency with John Palmer and dedicated myself to learning about myself which allowed me dig deep and really find my style.
What are your favorite art supplies?
I am really obsessed with alcohol inks, flow acrylic transparent paints and pigment sticks.
Are there any that intimidate you?
Watercolor always, but I try anyway.
Do you collect anything?
I like to collect old stamps, music instruments and miniature objects. I also hoard fabric and burlap coffee bags.
What makes you happiest in life?
Music and the sun