Another Pilot Down: The Artwork of George Gonzalez

Monday, July 29, 2013

Confidence in Expressing Myself

As an artist I put a lot of myself into my artwork. So much so, that I used to never actually show my family or friends my drawings because the subject matter was very personal. I felt that I didn't have the confidence to express who I was. Instead, I drew a lot of portraits of famous celebrities and my favorite rock bands so I didn't have to show my dark drawings.

While I had fun in making portraits, it wasn't in my heart or what I really wanted to do. This would all change when I started to attend the Laredo Community College. During my first semesters in LCC, I got to know my professors and they really helped me to refine a lot of my technique. In turn, I gained some confidence in showing them my more original and personal pieces. Later, my professors pushed me to have some of my personal artwork in a local art show at the Laredo Center For The Arts. Even though I was very excited and thrilled to participate in the show, I felt a huge sense of anxiety because my family would come and finally see my dark and very personal artwork.

"The SALSA Exhibition 2008 at the Laredo Center for the Arts"

My drawings featured scary and distorted figures and I knew it was sure to cause some controversy with my family. However, the night of the opening reception my anxiety was slowly going away. It was still very nerve-racking, especially since a lot of my family came to the gallery. But ultimately, I was overjoyed to have those who cared about me support me and my art. Despite that it felt as if my there was so much people wanted to know about my work, nobody judged me for my work. Though, it wasn't a very easy thing to overcome it was a process and necessary step in-order to fully grow as an artist and actually try to make it as a career. I got a lot of recognition by my family, peers, and art enthusiasts. It was the first public exhibition that I had ever participated in and the experience further gave me the confidence to continue to be myself.

**Originally published in Spanish in the April 28th, 2012 issue of Antesala

Friday, July 26, 2013

Marfan Syndrome

Being born with Marfan Syndrome has not been easy. Infact, it has been a rather difficult challenge. For those that do not know, Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that effects the connective tissue of the body and it is a condition that I have lived with my entire life. The physical characteristics of people with Marfan's tend to be tall with long hands and arms and tend to have long thin fingers. Furthermore, I ended up having a slightly more severe condition of the disorder because my heart valves, eyes, and spinal cord have suffered defects throughout the course of my life. Some people whom have the condition go through most of their lives not not knowing of it's existence and it goes undiagnosed until their late 20's or 30's (which is why it's important for me to educate people about this disorder.)

For me, it was especially challenging to grow up with the condition because of these things. As a child when I was going to both elementary and middle school I always felt different from the rest of my classmates. Because of the physical characteristics, I was picked on and bullied because of my appearance and I was not allowed to play many of the sports during P.E. while I was in middle school. Then, later in high school I had an operation that would leave me using the assistance of crutches, which too did not make things easier. In spite of this, I am grateful that I had amazing parents whom looked for the best doctors on the genetic disorder.

I feel it is very important more people know about Marfan's, because of the fact that many go undiagnosed. Lastly, even though life I have always found it hard to put down my experiences into words, I draw and paint them onto paper and canvas. I use my art as an outlet to express my ideas and the things that I have been through. Yet in spite of everything that I have experienced, this disorder isn't what dictates me. Though I take medications and I try to keep myself healthy, I feel that this is something that I live with, yet it isn't what I live by.

For more information on Marfan Syndrome please visit:
The National Marfan Foundation

**Originally published in Spanish in the April 14th, 2012 issue of Antesala

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Motivation and Inspiration

As an Artist, it can be difficult finding inspiration and motivation. I remember in my senior year of high school, there was a period in which I did not have much of a drive to create any art. Being diagnosed with Marfans Syndrome and having surgical procedures done throughout my teen years, made me feel exhausted to motivate myself in starting my ideas. Sometimes, this went on for months. The ideas that had were placed on hold because I didn't have the energy to create any drawings or paintings. Even when I tried to write poetry, I found myself being displeased with the outcomes.

But deep down, I knew this path couldn't continue. I felt that without Art, I didn't exist and I did not want to let that happen. If my artwork and poetry is my autobiography then it felt as if there would be lots of empty lifeless pages. So I tired to push myself, even when it was so painful. Trying to draw while being in a hospital can be extremely difficult, but my friends and family knew that if I was going to get better I had to start drawing again. Thinking negatively is like a plague that eats away at your mind and when you are feeling physically broken it can be extremely toxic in getting well.

Thus, I kept drawing and writing. Deliberately, I tried to put all my feelings onto paper in hopes that something positive can come from my struggles. As I continued, slowly my motivation was coming back. The lines I drew eventually turned into sketches. The sketches eventually turned into clear designs. Eventually, I started to heal to get better and I noticed that the artwork I was doing grew and matured in the process. My teachers and mentors saw my art as a breakthrough. My friends were impressed and in turn it made me feel good about myself. Months later, a lot of the artwork I did during this time would eventually be displayed in local art shows. Through this painful trial, I was able to bring out the motivation and inspiration from within. Even though everybody is different in their own way, I learned that if you have a passion and will to strive to better yourself, you can overcome any situation.

**Originally published in Spanish in the April 7th, 2012 issue of Antesala