Derek Gonzalez |
My name is Derek S. Gonzalez. I go by a lot of different names, D, D-Gonz, Stu, Max-156, but most people call me Drektek. I was born in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood and lived there until I was 8 years old. My family then moved to the further northwest side of the city since the violence was getting to be too real in H-Park. I got into the art world via graffiti at around age 12. I kept at it for years and still do to this day (legally, of course). Having hard-working Mexican parents who always instilled education on me and my brother, I wound up going to DePaul University and getting a degree in Art/Graphic Design. I am now a Senior Graphic Designer for an out-of-home transit advertising company.
1. What kind of art weapons do you use to CREATE?
Let’s see. During my 9-5 gig, I use a Mac Pro and all of the usual Adobe Suite goodies. After hours, I use a variety of tools: Sharpie, watercolor, paint marker, spray paint…I guess it depends on the mood I am in. I’ve used oils to make still life’s and Pilot markers to do graffiti. I also use different canvases, from found objects to ceramic tile to proper canvas to mailing labels.
2. When was the moment you fell in love with ART?
I first fell in love with art back in the day when I was about 11. My brother had one of his friends do a graffiti piece on my notebook and I knew from that point on that it is what I wanted to do. It is still one of the best pieces I have ever seen. I would stare at it for hours.
3. What is your purpose to CREATE?
I feel as though every time I do a piece, I am giving a part of myself to the world – a gift to society for them to interpret as they see fit.
4. Is there a particular message you want to communicate through your artwork?
I know it sounds cheesy, but I want to send out feel-good vibes from my work. I know a lot of artists who try way too hard to deliver a certain message that it becomes obvious to the viewer. There has to be SOME sort of mystery in one’s work or why do it at all?
5. What is your meaning behind the word, “philARThropy?”
I think it has a positive message of letting people lose themselves in your creation, even if for a second. They can forget about all their problems and think about what you made, wether it’s positive or negative (i.e I like this.)
6. How do you plan on using your creativity and imagination to give back to your community and make a difference?
I hope that some of the younger generation will be inspired just as I was. I hope they use a Bic pen or their #2 pencil and just start to doodle. Anything to get the mind going. Any way that I can do that and I will be happy. I’d like to get people involved with art. I always hear people say that they cannot even draw a circle, and I always respond with, “Well, why would you want to draw a circle? That’s plain and boring.”
7. What would be your contribution to the art community?
I think I have a few methods of mixing traditional and non-traditional, and some people will have a problem with that while others will appreciate it. I guess it just keeps on coming back to my wanting people to get talking about art in general.
8. What message would you give to a young artist who is trying to find their place in the art world?
I would tell them to keep on practicing. Your art represents you, and just like you, your art should be unique. Don’t listen to the people who are telling you that something will not work. If you can see it in your mind then it can be put on some sort of medium. Practice practice practice. You’ll never be perfect, but you’ll be dang good at your technique.
9. If you had the chance to collaborate with another artist, what would be the #1 thing on your art bucket list of creative projects you’d like to complete?
I would live to make Chicago more of a mural city. I know L.A. has tons of murals done by Chicanos, and I want that to permeate our streets. I wish that every underpass would have murals, either by trained artists or by students from a nearby elementary school. So I would really, really like to start with adding some color and vibrance to the City of Big Shoulders.
10. What kind of art legacy do you want to leave with the world?
I want people to look back at my art and think, “how could a guy who didn’t do drugs or even drink alcohol have come up with something so ou there?” Ha-ha. But really, I want to be remembered as a guy who did art for art’s sake.