Artist Interview with Stephanie Gonzalez

Every so often I meet people that continuously amaze me by their personality, authenticity, and being open about what their passions are. I’m a firm believer that if you continue to share the things you like, you will always have an variety of friends that share those common interests, and therefore have a small, yet meaningful effect in your overall satisfaction with life in the present moment.

Stephanie Gonzalez, is a friend I grew up with in the Rio Grande Valley and we both ended up becoming Houston transplants, where we continuously cross paths and now have mutual friends here. Whenever I run into her around the city, the vibes are always fun and we have insightful conversations about creativity, happiness, the Houston hustle, and of course her beautiful art pieces.

Stephanie at Free Press Summer Festival ( June 2016) for Dark Horse Wine 

Stephanie at Free Press Summer Festival ( June 2016) for Dark Horse Wine 

 

When I get the chance  to make it out to her open studio or small events around the city to go see her latest art pieces and learning about her mixed media process. What I think is most unique about her art work is that it's like you're catching up with via her art, because her pieces provide insight to what she's is feeling in that particular time in life and seem to always encapsulate a provocative and sexy part of the human condition. 

Since moving to Houston 8 years ago she has easily become one of my favorite friends to casually run into and catch up with. So when I pitched the idea of having her featured on my blog, it quickly became a no-brainer decision.  For the blog interview we met at her art studio in Eado where she works and lives across from the very popular coffee shop, Tout Suite. As soon as you walk in you are invited  with canvas waiting to be stretched, paint everywhere, and 2 Pac playing in the background to keep the creative vibes going.

 

Me:  How did you get started as an artist in Houston?

 Stephanie: I started off studying interior design at the Art Institute of Houston and after I finished school I was at an art consulting firm for 3 years. I knew that it wasn’t for me, but I stayed for 3 years, because to get another job in interior design I would need at least 3 years of experience. When I was working there I would come home and just start creating art and looked forward to leaving work everyday to just create. So when I got my 3 years, I became a self-employed artist full-time.

 

Me What other things did you figure out while at the art firm?

 Stephanie: I realized how much happier I could be as an artist and that I actually could make it a career, especially after working with artists and helping them get there art out in the world. I also learned about how to be a professional-which is a reason why some do and don’t get hired for commission pieces, understand timeliness, and how to really sell things to different populations.

 

Me: What are some of your current projects?

Stephanie: Right now I am working under a local artist on commission for health care projects, I do shows, and work on pieces for local business and spaces. I also have some designs up on society6.com

 

Me: What are some things that you have learned as a self-employed artist that have kept you inspired to create?

 Stephanie: Being open to reinventing myself and where I find inspiration. Before I started working for the firm I’m at now I started looking up international trends on the Internet, and I notice what girls and guys are buying and wearing on pinterest, instagram and friends.

 

Me: So it sounds like you do a lot of background work before the creating happens.

 Stephanie: Yes.  I started to also go to yoga, I run, and try to workout. I also drank less and try to sleep more.

 

Me: Which kinds of trends do you see happening?

Stephanie: Like geos, tropical fruits, and plants (note: which she has a lot of on her society6 page)

 

Me: Do you have any muses? Or places that always spark your creativity?

Stephanie: People like Tracey Layouis inspire me. As far as places Arlo’s Ballroom or anywhere I can dance,  Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston,  and Avant Garden. I go outside too and spend a lot of time at my personal studio, which is my favorite place.

 

 Me: What are some goals you have as an artist?

 Stephanie: I would like to have art around Houston and internationally. I would also like to make it as a full-time artist and invite people to feel something with me, just ultimately.

 

Le Méridien, Saigon – Starwood Hotels (Ho Chi Minh City)

Le Méridien, Saigon – Starwood Hotels (Ho Chi Minh City)

 Me What do you find yourself trying (or wanting) to express in your paintings most often?

Stephanie: Mostly, issues of the time I am living in—of the world and personal. I also paint about heartbreak and making it relatable to other people and not just gay women.

 

Me: Are there things you have learned along the way you want to share with other artists that are also trying to create full time?

Stephanie: Yeah, understand that large mainstream corporations fund art. Educate yourself about the business-that’s how professional artists make it in the world.  And talking about other artists isn’t cool—use your voice and art for good.

 

Me: Kind of tying and bringing all of this back to wellness—you mentioned earlier about doing yoga and running. What other things help you keep a clear mind for creativity as an artist?

 Stephanie: I am reading “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”, meditation, and drinking less alcohol. Mediation is the main thing though. Also realizing that I can change my feelings-what we think affects the outcome of our life. I try to affirm that I can be a bad ass artist, that can make in the world. Using my alone time to understand myself. Keeping people that are “go-getters” around and progressive people. 

 

Although I have known Stephanie for half my life already, it was extremely nice to sit down and talk more about her art, becoming a full-time creative, and how it has played out into her profession. After this interview, I realized how much she uses her gift and skills everyday as a professional, and although it can me be draining, it takes courage to share and express personal thoughts, feelings, actions into art, which is definitely something I grew to admire even more so.

To all my friends out there using their creativity to spread and share more goodness and connection: keep going. We definitely could use more good creative vibes in this world. 

You can view more of Stephanie's work on her website and make sure to sign up for her newsletter so you can stay up date on when she sets up shop at local Houston events!  Most of these photos are from her website, artist page, and other social media platforms. 

Other ways to connect with Stephanie:

society 6 page: https://society6.com/stephaniegonzalez

 

IG handle: :@me_gusta_pintar si

Thank you, Stephanie, for your time and interview!

 

Let's Shine,

Starla