Hola! My name is J. Gonzo. I am a Chicano artist who resides in Mesa, AZ, though I was born and raised in Cypress, CA. Artwise, my formative years were shaped by the rigid tradition and Byzantine iconography of the Catholic school I attended juxtaposed with the DIY aesthetic of the late 70s, Orange County Punk counterculture peppered with the bright, bold, Hispanic hues of my grandparents generation. My formal art training began in 1988 when I entered the Orange County High School of the Arts’ Visual Art program, but the seeds of what would become my art style had already been sewn. After high school, I moved to Arizona and attended a trade school receiving a degree in Visual Communications (a fancy, non-university term for graphic design). Commercial Art seemed like a good way for me to earn a living being creative without having to be a clichéd starving artist and/or get a straight day job that I would hate, to support my art on some kind of hobby level. So, as is the tradition of flaky artists the world over, upon receiving my degree, I promptly did nothing with it. I instead began a tattoo apprenticeship and would tattoo off and on for the next six years – supplementing my income with a whole host of menial, second jobs. After the birth of my daughter (the first of my two kids – I also have a son), I decided to dust off my graphic design skills and portfolio and quickly found a job in advertising. I vacillated between full-time and freelance with some of the top agencies in Phoenix and worked in-house as the Senior Art Director for McFarlane Toys/Todd McFarlane Productions. After a brief stint as the Creative Director for an Ad Agency (kind of the high-water mark for someone of my skill set outside of starting my own agency), I made the decision to quit, freelance full-time and focus on art, illustration and the completion of my comicbook project – La Mano del Destino.
This meandering path to where I am, and disparate spheres of the art world that I have lived in, have led me to an overall art philosophy of believing in the impact of idea over intense rendering – I hope you enjoy the end result.