Is your work a method of preserving time?
I see my work as documentation, like archiving and archaeology. With the world changing at such a rapid rate, this is the last time our cities are going to look the way they do. I want to preserve and convey to people that our communities are beautiful. And I want to compel people to look for what the communities before them left behind—the traces, imperfections, culture.
How else does contemporary life influence your practice?
Since I grew up looking at screens, it impacts the way I approach a new work. I found that, when making compositions, my mind sometimes thinks about viewing them on a screen and cropping the image with the zoom option. My recent work focuses on landscapes. I find a cohesive parallel with the work by imagining the environment on Google Maps. Zooming in and out, walking around the corner down the street, in and out of a building, looking up, down and around. The irony is that I’m terrible with computers and tech. I still approach the production of my work the old school way, the way I learned through sign painting.
Tell me about your Dad, the sign painter.
My dad Alfonso Gonzalez Sr., a.k.a. AL SIGNS, has been painting signs for over 40 years. He’s originally from Tijuana and moved to City Terrace, Los Angeles, in the early 1970s. He’s always had an art practice and began painting commercially as a career. Because of him, I grew up around books and magazines about Mexican muralism, airbrush painting, lowrider and car culture. The first book I remember looking at was on David Alfaro Siqueros. My father continues to paint signs and make art. I see truck lettering he’s done everytime I drive on a Southern California highway.