Hopeful Murals and Much More
Ricardo Gonzalez is a designer and artist from Durango, Mexico, currently living in New York City. It’s a living is both a signature and a life philosophy: for him, his art is so much more than work. Ricardo’s style can be easily recognized from large-scale murals in cities around the world to commercial work for some of the biggest brands out there. He was one of fifteen artists to design Budweiser cans for the Mets in 2017, and his art is currently on display in every Apple Store in the world. If you’re in Brooklyn, check out his “You Are Here” mural at 646 Dean Street. We catch up with him to discuss murals and etymology.
You’ve had a busy 12 months. What’s been the most exciting project in your recent career?
It’s difficult to say what’s the most exciting project I’ve done recently. I’ve been very excited to try new things. For example, I’ve tested a calligraphic pattern in a project for a hotel in Tokyo, which lead to the project with Apple. I think it’s all about experimenting and applying new styles and media.
Words are intrinsic to your work so it often has a very literal message. If you have free reign over a project, are you more concerned with message or medium?
Every mural I paint, I have complete freedom. I strive for ambiguous messages or words that mean something to me but which the viewer can relate to and which create a positive effect. For instance, the project “esperanza” means “hope” in Spanish, and it was a idea I had for a long time, until I got a project at Central De Abastos, Iztapalapa. It was perfect for it. Esperanza has been my biggest mural in Mexico. The Word “esperanza” comes from “espera” (wait) & “avanza” (move forward), so when you put both words together it creates the word “esperanza.”
What would be your dream commission? If it’s a mural, where would you like to see it?
For now, I don’t really have a dream commission, I just want to focus on experimenting and applying my work in different ways.
Can you recommend a few resources for people interested in learning more about lettering and typography?
There are many books about lettering and calligraphy, but I highly recommend books from Donald Young. He has been a major inspiration for me.
As a transplant to NYC, what’s your favorite, most underrated place or activity you’d recommend to visitors?
I think Brooklyn has a lot to offer. I always say, if it’s your first time in New York, go and see all the tourist stuff. But if you want to experience the city a little more I always recommend Brooklyn, because it’s got a good vibe, and there are so many good restaurants in every neighborhood.