Meet a Roadrunner: UTSA M.F.A. student Raul Gonzalez says art starts conversation

Jim Crange and Raul Gonzalez

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane (left) and UTSA student Raul Gonzalez

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(May 22, 2013) -- Meet Raul Gonzalez. He's been drawing since he was seven.

First, he used a BIC ballpoint pen -- any old pen he could find -- to reproduce drawings he saw in comic books, in cartoons and on t-shirts. Then, he began to develop his skill through practice, first using acrylic on canvas, then blending painting and drawing. More recently, Raul has dabbled in sculpture, printmaking and performance art. He's currently working on art made from cardboard, duct tape and construction barrels.

"Art lets you create things that start conversations with people," he says. "My art includes hints of folly. It also shows that every experience a person has contributes to making that person wiser and stronger."

Those conversation starters are now reaching the ears of Texas art collectors.

About a month ago, a woman at the 2013 Hunting Art Prize exhibition engaged Raul in conversation about one of his pieces. The prestigious competition received 1,600 submissions. Raul was named one of its 107 finalists for the ballpoint drawing he entered.

When the woman and her husband decided to purchase Raul's drawing, he thought the couple looked familiar. Only after the gentleman handed Raul his business card did the UTSA student realize he'd sold his artwork to Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros. It was a dream come true for Raul, a Houstonian and an avid baseball fan.

Raul's artwork also has made its way into the UTSA Art Collection. Last year, President Ricardo Romo was contacted by a friend in Los Angeles about purchasing some new prints. Several art pieces stood out including Raul's work.

"Somehow, I had missed Raul's local shows and now I was buying his art out of a gallery in East Los Angeles," Romo recalls.

Notably, he recalls Raul's piece, "Tampico," which features a local restaurant the university president is sure he's driven by many times. He also has purchased many drawings by Raul featuring Prismacolor markers and ink on paper.

"Raul excels as a draftsman. In his work, you will see a superb selection of color and contrast for both landscapes and structures," said Romo. "He is young, but he is already developing a unique style of expression. I am happy to have found him."

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