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Meet Brian Gonzalez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Gonzalez.

Hi Brian, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m a first-generation American born to immigrant parents from Guatemala. I was born in LA but grew up in Van Nuys and then moved to Colorado. I remember I was kind of floating around after high school. I was unsure of what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. I took up many odd jobs and I was taking random courses in community college. I didn’t know I was a creative person but I had multiple creative interests that helped develop and focus my ideas.

I didn’t really come from a family of visual artists and no one really pursued college around me so I didn’t know where to turn to figure things out for myself. As a kid, I was introduced to a bunch of hobbies and subcultures by my brother and my friends. Like any other kid from the 90’s I got inspiration from television, movies, and magazines.

I had many paths growing up and I’m thankful for all of them. I took up a lot of interests such as skateboarding, playing different instruments, breaking (breakdance), and graffiti. They really helped shape the way I approach things. Ideas were always in my head and I was ambitious to improve myself or to know more about what I was pursuing, These passions opened me up to new worlds and would push me to travel and meet different people.

Eventually, I found myself interested in photography and the world of art & design. I applied what I learned from my previous passions to my design career. I took random design gigs, freelanced, and screen printed before I decided to pursue design school.

I remember the turning point in my life was when I was living in San Diego at the time and I wasn’t fully satisfied with my situation.  I had gotten the opportunity to attend ArtCenter and to move to LA, but there were a lot of risks and financial factors to consider.  It was going to be a big change and I was hesitant at the time but I knew it was the right step for me.  Eventually, I bit the bullet and I took the opportunity. I’m glad I did because I learned how passionate I was about Art & Design.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Things have gotten a little better for me now, but no, I can’t say the road was smooth for me.

There were so many obstacles and barriers in the way of me working my way up. Moving back to LA to improve myself was and still is a journey. Outside of financial issues, I was also experiencing some family troubles and other personal issues. I remember feeling like my life was spinning out of control and nothing felt secure or solid. Every day there was something new. I would hit so many dead ends, be lied to, I would be underpaid, or worst not paid at all, and there would be some nights where I didn’t sleep at all. There were a few moments when I was ready to give up, pack my things, leave California, and stop pursuing the creative world.  Thankfully all of those experiences opened my eyes, made me a stronger person, and thought me how to move through the career-building world. I learned from every loss and I’ve also learned to take time to appreciate every win.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a graphic designer and I guess my approach and my style toward visuals is what defines me in the world of design. I don’t know how others perceive my work but I like to break a lot of traditional design rules and recontextualize new meanings into overlooked imagery and typography. I like to make work that is experimental yet meaningful and work that holds ground for many conversations.

I’m most proud that I’ve been able to make a career out of graphic design. I’m thankful that I’ve worked with some amazing clients and studios that I’ve always looked up to. I’m having fun learning new design techniques and experimenting with other mediums such as painting and photography both in the analog and digital worlds.  Outside of design work I’ve been focused on making other things happen for myself.  I’ve been shooting a lot with both of my film cameras to document moments in my life this year. I’ve also been studying a lot of different skate graphics.  Maybe I can make something out of all of these mini side projects, I don’t know what yet but I know I want to put some personal work out there soon.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
hmmm, I’m not the biggest podcast guy but I do listen to a few either because I find them funny or interesting.  Podcasts like NPR radio, 99% Invisible, California Love, and Powerful Truth Angels.

I like to read up on anything that involves typography, photography, art, architecture, and subcultural-related material. I also find myself reading a lot about Latin American stories and history.  I like to be as updated and as informed as I can about Guatemala and all of Latin America.

I’m a big fan of NTS radio and Dublab radio, I feel like everyone should check them out.

When I’m not checking out books or I’m not on my computer. I like to go outside to skateboard, catch some live concerts, catch some DJ sets, and simply hang out with friends and family.

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