Upon seeing an image of a face with an imposed cover coming across my Instagram feed, my scrolling stalled, I was intrigued. I was soon looking at the art work of soon to be printmaker graduate, Julia Gonzalez. The multifaceted artist – barista included – talked with me about art, making coffee and working from the studio.
c: How did the morning start for you?
Julia Gonzalez: I brewed coffee at home. I’ve been editing all morning. I have a V60 and a Chemex. For Christmas I got a Camano coffee grinder, it’s neat!
c: I have one too now, isn’t it?
j.g.: Yea! At home when I’m making coffee, I have to work for it versus at work where there’s an automatic coffee maker, but I like it. I have some friends who just started a roasting company Nom de Plume and they do events, brew on site. it’s really cool. I drink more coffee than I do water.
c.: How did this show come about?
j.g.: That piece you saw was one of my last prints I made as an undergrad student. I tend to do a lot of self portraits. But, my show was part of my thesis show.
I was in group show with some other members in my class. I just finished my art degree. I’m a photographer and print maker. Printmaking is more traditional and with lithography I’m working with big limestones. I carve and draw on wood panels. Its like a huge stamp and run on a press. I crank the press manually and on the other end get this beautiful print.
c.: What was the show like?
j.g.: My work recently has been based upon identity, how someone identifies you, gender roles and stereotypes.
The group show was in a gallery. I brought some of my employees I work with at Royal Coffee Bar in on it. We wanted to remove the coffee shop experience and bring it to the gallery.
c.: I love that idea, simulating coffee shop culture in another space.
j.g.: A couple baristas came and made pour over, we had mineral water and we hired a chef. It was cool, we wanted the presence of Royal to be in the gallery and to smell like brewed coffee.
c.: Beautiful! Tell me more about the show. Did it have a title?
j.g.: Yes. Variable Edition. As a group, there were seven of us that graduated, seven printmakers. As a printmaker you make an edition of print, limited edition and variable editions. Even if each piece is different it can still be tied to the same work, so that’s why we chose the name – we were wrapping up a chapter of our lives together.
c.: Although you were in a group show, what does it take for you as an individual to make art?
j.g.: I work in a studio space, currently at the university but I’m looking for another space outside of the university. Depending on what process I’m working on, I’ll be in that studio. We have large tables, music playing all the time, we also have coffee – we always run down the street and get coffee.
Sometimes I’m alone or I work with others. Sometimes you’re super involved with a piece and having an outside perspective helps you get a clear message. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to do. Sometimes I think a lot about what I want to do and then don’t do anything. A lot of times I start sketching; I go a lot on Pinterest and look at whats out there.
c.: What do you like to listen to while you’re creating? I listen to a lot of music. I love Toro y Moi.
j.g.: I love Foster The People, its funky, I like their sound. And, I listen to a lot of soundtracks, Bonobo, I love Bonobo.
c.: I’m curious since you’re an artist, a barista and also work a print job, in your opinion, what is the value of art to the culture of coffee shops?
j.g.: Art is very personal. As an artist I’m very exposed a lot of the times, its scary and exciting. I think it adds a lot of value. Making coffee for people is personal. There is an art to making good coffee and I always look forward to latte art. Third wave coffee is here and you have these really neat coffee shops. I prefer going to coffee shops with art inside. There’s a shop, Cartel Coffee Lab, they put a lot of time in it, the décor; I’m a huge fan. Having art and people together, that’s just the culture.
See more of Julia’s work on here.