Rodel Gonzalez is an artist of inspirational talents with a keen eye for seeing the beauty in the commonplace and grace in the ordinary. Not to mention, he has artistic ability in his blood. As a third-generation painter, he was exposed to art at an early age and began learning from his father, Rick Gonzalez, when he was just 9 years old. "It's basically the family business," Rodel says. "The highlight of my day would be to go to my dad's gallery and see a lot of familiar faces. Serving as an apprentice for his father, Rodel immersed himself in the art of the old masters and worked on perfecting his craft.
“Growing up my father would always tells me not to be intimidated by the paint and be 100% sure about my intentions on my first stroke [of] the canvas,” says Rodel. His explorations of color, form, and composition ignited a lifelong passion for the arts in its many forms.
He studied at the University of Santo Tomas, with a major in painting and went on to earn a degree in Interior Design from the Philippines School of Interior Design. His artistry became evident in the field of music and at 20 he founded “Side A” in the Philippines. The band is still active today and is currently the longest-lived band in Manila. Rodel was the lead singer and the band’s most prolific songwriter. His success in the music industry fulfilled a part of him, but exposed a desire for a more meaningful and deeper connection with his audience.
Before he was commissioned to create Star Wars paintings in 2013, he was already creating interpretative art for Disney. His photorealistic Disney and Star Wars artworks gained popularity in the US and the Star Wars paintings were even featured at the San Diego Comic Con.
Style and Inspiration
In 2002, Rodel began in earnest his dreams of pursuing a fine art career. With inspiration and influence from his brother, Rudolf Gonzalez, and support from his cousin Roy Gonzalez Tabora, he has a newfound energy and dedication for his artwork.
When asked where his inspiration comes from Rodel says, “My inspiration always comes from above! I know that God is the true artist.” Additionally, as artists here on earth, “we’re a poor representation of what He created.” “Think about it, everyday you wake up in the morning and see the sunrise or later see the sunset, God has never repeated a sunrise nor a sunset -It’s always new. It’s when I’m off the easel that I copy and see my surroundings and get my inspiration.” His father also serves as a big inspiration. “After he passed away 2003, every time I approach the easel, I know that he’s watching me from above.”
When asked what medium he enjoys working with, Rodel explains, "I work with oil and acrylic most of the time. I love all mediums from colored pencil to watercolor, gouache, pastels. Some paintings, they will take just one sitting. Others can take months before I can finish them. An average size piece, about 18×24 will take me about 20-30 hours give or take."
When I stare at a blank canvas and nothing is happening, I try to just get up and do other things. Pick up my guitar and play, drive around for inspiration. Google images from everything under the sun, watch TV or cook. When an idea hits me, I’m back in front of the easel.
Star Wars Art
Gonzalez holds the distinction of being one of some 30 artists authorized to create interpretative art for Disney and Star Wars. As a matter of fact, out of that small number, he's the only Filipino. George Lucas himself has bought the first four originals of Gonzalez's paintings. Gonzalez admitted that he is partial to painting certain characters, “My top three characters would be Yoda, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett.” He enjoys painting the Star Wars material, “The Star Wars material is very cool,” he said. “Art is a very great journey. I’m glad to see people appreciate it and purchase it.
When asked about his passions in life, Rodel explains, “In this lifetime, I was able to do music, which I love, and art, which I love. On a personal level, I’m really humbled waking up in the morning knowing I can do what I want for a living. For me, that’s really the accomplishment.”
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