Eight months ago I bought my first house and renovated it, which meant my art collection was packed up in boxes and bubble wrap not to be seen for another 5 months. In the mean time, staring at the boring white walls in my house was literally driving me up a wall. And the second the dust settled, before even moving in the furniture, I installed every piece of art I owned in the new space. The art transformed the whole house, what felt soulless and sterile before was now filled with the chatter of all the different works of art telling their individual stories.
That got me to thinking about how important art is in making a house a home, and how everyone should be able to collect it. That’s how the the CLICK TO COLLECTproject was born. We wanted to give everyone a chance to collect our favorite artists and keep the prices to $500 or less…. Art Within Reach, if you will, ahem. Each week this month we will offer you 5-10 original hand-made works priced $500 or below through our CLICK TO COLLECT project. It’s our hope that by making these original works available at these prices, we’re helping our readers start or grow their very own collection that they will enjoy and treasure for years to come.
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
Massachusetts-based painter Raul Gonzalez is not only an artist who has exhibited in galleries, but he also works as an art teacher. I also worked as an art teacher, and so I can’t help but feel an instant respect for Raul. Looking through his paintings, you are immediately reminded of classic cartoons…..classic cartoons that are walking around with arrows pierced through their skulls, boners growing out of their foreheads, and wearing necklaces made out of bullets… I think Raul would be a very fun teacher to learn from.