The Art Salon is proud to feature emerging, self taught, Cuban America artist Adrian Gonzalez with a fine art and graffiti mix upon his latest upcoming exhibit. Born and residing in Miami, Adrian's range boasts a widely colorful assortment of graffiti styles tailored to an approachable fine art format of portraits to abstracts. One recent highlight is presenting a painting to entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" television personality, Daymond John (photo below.) Have a look at his unique style and be sure to check out his exhibit on September 30th at Mindwarehouse Connect in Downtown Miami.
When did you first begin perusing art and know you wanted to be an artist?
I started when I was young. I was always watching my dad paint and he was the one who really inspired me to create art even though I was not really good at it at the time. After I graduated high school, I went to college and that’s when I began learning how to do typography and graffiti. I was taught by a few friends and pretty much took the knowledge and information that was given to me to create my own style of graffiti which would later transition to the art that I do today.
With Daymond John, (center), businessman, investor, entrepreneur and TV personality of the widely popular "Shark Tank" on ABC.
Are you self taught or formally trained?
In the beginning, I was taught by a few graffiti artists that knew how to do letter structures, outlines, and create different color schemes. Once I got a good feel for that, I started teaching myself more things by watching videos from different artists that were successful and started to understand their work ethic and process when it came to creating their art work. I pretty much liked watching documentaries and interviews about art to really get an idea of how artists branch out and create different things.
I never really had the money or the time to invest in art school. I was too focused on teaching myself how to create different art forms and was experimenting with what I had learned from graffiti and other forms of art. It was quite challenging in the beginning trying to be honest with myself because I always want things to come out good, especially when I’m trying to learn a new art style or method. It took me a while to realize that there really is no structure or rules, it's just perceptive. I developed the confidence to have fun with my work and that is when things started to get exciting.
You mentioned you were/are a graffiti writer/artist too, when did that begin? Do
you still do walls or tag now?
I started doing graffiti around the fall of 2007. It took me a good 2 to 3 years to get really good with painting on walls to create murals. In the beginning, I did it for fun. It was something to stay consistent with. Later on, I started taking my work more seriously and I began getting commission work to paint murals for businesses and events. I started pushing myself to make sure my clients were extremely happy with the work while still incorporating my art style within their designs. I’ve painted different patterns, characters, and logos for my clients while still having my creative control and I’ve really enjoyed it.
In reality, It was fun to do it at the time when I was in college but I pretty much already did what I wanted to do with that part of my life and I decided to break away from that. I still love graffiti and will always have an appreciation for it but everything changed when I started to focus on the artwork I create for my clients. I love the fact that people can take my artwork home and appreciate it instead of spending hours creating a mural that will only last for maybe a couple of months until the next artist buffs it and paints over it. When it comes to street art or bombing for graffiti, that's just the law of the land.
What do you love most about painting?
The fact that it's part of my identity and it makes me who I am. I really started doing this because it was something cool that I wanted to do. It was just a thought in my head but it was something that I really wanted to accomplish. Once I learned how to freely create art, I applied myself and started creating more and more art on a consistent basis. I began to establish a signature style to my art and my painting style became more of a flow
for me. It was kind of like having tunnel vision. I could start working on a piece and before you knew it, I was done. There isn’t really any heavy, complex thought process when I paint, it’s mostly quick decisions when I’m focused and I let it flow. Painting comes very natural for me and that’s why I love it.
How do you describe your style?
My art is both chaos and structure with hidden messages in between if you read between the lines. It’s a blueprint to success and it means something different for everyone who sees it. It’s conceptual art that carries stories with meaning within the artwork, representing history, freedom, and freethinking. It’s also contemporary art mixed with modern mixed media art. It’s both simple and complex, incorporating my thoughts and showing people everything that I love and hate in this life. I usually use a mix of bright colors or dark colors depending on my mood and what I want the artwork to represent. After, I add patterns, usually in black bold lines to help shape the story I want to tell.
Who were your favorite or most influential artists growing up?
As of right now I love Basquiat and Andy Warhol’s work. I love reading their stories of how they became world famous artists which is very interesting to me. I’m also a big fan of Pablo Picasso and have been taking a liking to the conceptual art of Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, which are extremely successful artists of our day and age.
From where do you draw inspiration? What else other that art inspires
I get my inspiration from everyday things. It really all depends on how my day transpires. Sometimes I have an idea that I'm sitting on for about a week or two before I execute it and then when I finally do, it's almost like a release of relaxation because I don't have to think about it anymore. Sometimes I create just to create. I also get inspiration from other people’s art sometimes and I’ll do my own variation with a similar concept. It could be an image or a song that I was particularly listening to that day that can inspire me to do a certain type o artwork.
When did you truly feel like an artist?
I truly felt like an artist when I started getting paid for my work. That’s when I started to realize that people saw value in my work and what I did. It made me look at things in a different way. Not to make money but to improve on certain aspects of creating my artwork. I always want the final product to look amazing. It definitely gave me the drive to create more and it also gave me purpose. To be honest, even if it wasn't for the money, I
probably would still be creating art just because it's something that I have to do. It's part of my daily routine. Even if I don't do it for a little bit, I always start right where I left off as if I never missed a beat.
Can you tell us about your art pieces in general – what is the thought and
inspiration behind them?
When it comes to my art pieces, I have many different ways on how I go about creating it. For example, first I come up with an idea for the artwork I want to create. I want it to look a certain way so I find an image or create a design that represents the story I want the art piece to tell. Once I start painting, I paint patterns and things around that image to enhance the story and the meaning behind it. When I'm done with the piece, I give it a title to finalize everything. That’s one way I create my artwork. Another example for my thought process is to just start painting, not thinking about what I want it to look like. Those are pieces that I finish the fastest but I make sure they look really good in a timely manner and that they still mean something. I step back and see what I created once it’s done and I figure out the story I was subconsciously creating.
Tell us about your new art works - such as what you choose to paint and special
facts about your work?
A lot of the artwork that I have created now within this year has been a little more grungier and darker color schemes. I still create a lot of patterns and hidden messages within the art pieces. I've created a lot of art pieces that have stories behind them too. I've created artwork during some very interesting times in the world, which also inspired some of my artwork. A lot of my artwork is created with acrylic paint, oil paint cans, paint
markers, tape, and any type of medium texture art. I pretty much use any form of art tools and I combine different art techniques to make a hybrid of different ideas and feelings.
What do you want people to understand or take away from your art?
I want people to look at my art and start to realize that everything begins and ends with how you imagine and envision things both in a positive and negative way. Art is supposed to be perspective. Every individual interprets art differently. I like showing a variety of different ideas and different thoughts processes both provoking and calming to the soul and I want to inspire people not only to do great things but to help others who can't help themselves. This is a language and a way to communicate with people. By using bright colors I
can provoke positive thoughts, my patterns can make you focused, and the overall story of the art piece can make you feel something.
Do you ever get frustrated and give up on a piece?
Normally, I don't get frustrated when creating art, I like to paint when I’m in a good mood and in a good place mentally. The days that I do get frustrated, I normally won’t get anything done because I have a lot going on but once I’m in a good mood again I finish the piece.
How do you navigate through a creative block, if you even get them?
I usually just take breaks when I don't have any ideas or any motivation to create art. These breaks don’t usually last a long time though. Once it passes, I start painting something random that turns out to be something unique.
What is / was your most favorite piece completed so far? Which piece are you
most proud of?
I don't really have a favorite right now because I've been creating so much work that I have not had the time to really sit back and absorb each piece the way I want to do it. I think it's a great thing though because I have so many pieces that are amazing and they're truly breathtaking to me because they show how fast I have improved in my journey as an artist but to really sit down and pinpoint my favorite ones is difficult.
What are your future plans for upcoming shows, either pop up spots, galleries,
Right now for my solo art gallery event, I'm creating about 100 pieces of artwork or more. My goal is to expand to larger galleries and events around Florida and nation wide. I want to create 200 to 300 pieces and also mass produce my artwork for everyone to have.
If you could collaborate with another artist, anyone in the world, for a painting or project who would it be?
I would work with Andy Warhol and also Picasso. I admire their work ethic and their ideas of taking technique and simplifying it to mass-produce their brand of art.
What are your favorite pastimes when not creating art?
My girlfriend both write and record music so whenever I'm not creating art, we/re usually creating songs and going to the studio, coming up with different ideas. We create Hip Hop and many different alternative genres. If we're not doing that, we will go to Fairchild Botanical Garden or to the Perez Art Museum to enjoy a change of scenery.
You mentioned you also create music, which music in general is big with us artists, what type of music do u listen to while creating?
I listen to all types of genres. I usually listen to rock, hip-hop, R&B, soul funk - I listen to anything that inspires me to create. It really all depends on what mood I'm in as well.
Tell us whatever else you would like the reader to know about the art, “fun facts,”
or anything you choose:
Well when I paint sometimes I like to figure out what's working for me material wise or ideas. If I feel like I'm hitting a roadblock I just problem solve what I can do to make things look better. I actually do this because I feel like it builds emotional intelligence and it teaches me to be patient with what you're creating versus rushing something that you want to look right.
If you were not an artist what would you be?
I would probably be a professional baseball player. That was one of my first joys growing up, especially when I watched the Marlins win the 1997 World Series. I was actually really good playing baseball but then I stopped because I got into hip-hop, break dancing, and doing graffiti.
If you could have dinner with one or two people, dead or alive who would they be
One of them would be Robin Williams because his joy and laughter was so brilliant and I think it would be nice to understand his perspective in life. The next person would definitely Steve Jobs just to get some insight on how he overcome all of his obstacles.
Make sure to check out Adrian's art exhibit on September 30th at Mindwarehouse Connect (Miami), all of the details are above and here: Eventbrite Event Link (Tickets):
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feel-free- solo-art- exhibition-by- roc-sol- tickets-
Facebook Event Link: - https://www.facebook.com/events/1464653430289635/
Keep up with Adrian on his website here: www.rocsolmiami.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rocsolmiami - Twitter: www.twitter.com/rocsolmiami
Instagram: @rocsolmiami - Youtube: www.youtube.com/rocsolmiami