TAOB: First of all many thanks for taking time to do this interview, tell us a little about your childhood, where were you born and what do you most remember about being a kid ?
RIGOBERTO: Thanks for the kind words and for allowing me to share my work through your blog. I was born in Reynosa Tamaulipas . What I most remember from my childhood would be my family life with my four older sisters and brother. One of my fondest memories would be of watching my mother draw to keep me entertained as a child and also seeing my older brother draw and been very impressed by him. I would say that is what initially motivated me to be an artist.
TAOB: When did you first get interested in art, painting, who , where did your first inspirations come from ?
RIGOBERTO: first inspiration, that takes me back. Seeing something so beautiful that motivated me to try and replicate its beauty. I have to say that the first fresh green sprouts of either sorgum orsorghumthat my father used to grow in his ranch/ farm. I remember as a five year old picking up colored pencils and making a drawing of the field with green leafs sprouting from the dark brown dirt. Natures first green is gold, so writes Robert Frost.
Later on in life what motivated to start painting was a book titled Living with Art by Rita Glibert which my brother was using when he was taking Art Appreciation at UTPA. It is a great book contained a lot of great information regarding artist biographies, art materials, and art theories.
TAOB: Tell us about your education back ground, where did you go to school and were there any strugles to achive your goals and perhaps what helped you over come them ?
RIGOBERTO: I have a Bachelors in Art from UTPA in Edinburgh and a Masters in Painting From the New York Academy of Art. But looking back at my educational career I feel I am largely self taught. Making art is always a struggle, from money, discrimination, jealousy from peers, narrow minded professors but you have to be self motivated and have firm goals and you can't let anything stand in your way.
TAOB: What local shows have you done in the valley, and what future plans do you have to exhibit locally ?
RIGOBERTO: The most notable shows I have had in the valley would be solo shows in 2005 at University of Texas at Brownsville, and La Casa de La Cultura in Reynosa, 2006 At The Art House in Mcallen, and 2007 At the Harlingen Heritage Museum. Currently I am in the process of negotiating an exhibit in a local museum in Brownsville for 2011-12. I am also have a show for 2011 at the Rubin center at UTEP in El Paso and another show in San Francisco at a non for profit art space.
TAOB: As an artist -painter what do you hope to achieve, what importance do you hope people walk away with , when they see your work?
RIGOBERTO: I hope to be able to create profound images. Images that moves the viewer intellectually, emotionally and makes them more aware of the world around them.
TAOB: Besides producing art, what else is important in your life ?
RIGOBERTO: Right now the big project between my wife and I is taking care of our two week old baby.
TAOB: What is a process that you have when producing art, any rituals, methods that you may have to get things done as an advise to other artist who are just starting out ?
RIGOBERTO: I do a lot of preparation work, before I start a painting. Numerous sketches, perspective drawings of the setting for a scene, before I settle on a composition. Although I prefer to work from life this is not always possible. For many of the images in my work I work with groups of models that act out the scenes I want to depict. Once I decided on a composition I transfer the drawing to my canvas using a grid method and paint the entire scene in monochrome and add color at the final stage. I also work with a palette of carefully gradated colors that I premix before I start painting. So my advice to young artist is don't listen to people who emphasise spontaneity, freedom and expressiveness when painting. That type of advice is nothing but worthless out dated modernist, post modernist, - post deconstructivist art school instruction cliche.
TAOB: Is there any local artist here in the valley whose work you follow, any local inspiration or perhaps tell us what artist work inspires you ?
RIGOBERTO: There are several artist who I wish I could have kept in touch with one of them is Noel Palmenez we were both students at UTPA I always thought his work was ambitious but I have not seen his work in years. I would imagine his work has improved. One artist whose advice I occasionally seek out is Phillip Field who was my main instructor at UTPA. Another interesting artist and personality I respect is Carlos Gomez. Vincent Desiderio is an artist who I studied under in New York and I find his work very intriguing. I think his work is incredibly ambitious. But my true inspiration is Caravaggio, Jose de Ribera, Velasquez and Peter Paul Rubens. Another source of inspiration is the Mexican magazine Alarma, and the conversations I have had with Mexican Bartenders, waiters and cabdrivers from Matamoros up to Ciudad Juarez.
TAOB: Rigoberto Gonzalez , many thanks for your time and response to this interview, we hope to hear more from you soon., tell us last, how did you here about this blog, The Art of Brownsville ?
RIGOBERTO: Google told me all about you. Many thanks to you too.
Here are some links to some news coverage I have been getting for my artwork. I just spent two years in an artist residency in New Mexico and currently living in Harlingen. I believe they are interesting and worth your time.
below is a news report from an El Paso newsprogram they did a story on my exhibit in Las Cruces. forward the video to minute 8:10. that is when my story starts.
Rigoberto Gonzalez Alonso