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MCA Stories: Vanessa Gonzalez

Vanessa Gonzalez
BFA in Printmaking, 2015
MFA in Fine Arts, 2017

Vanessa GonzalezWhat are you working on now?
I’m working on portraits of my family and how their nationality impacts my dual nationality. I’m currently represented by Agora Gallery in NY. I was one of the finalists for the Latin American Contemporary Art exhibition in NY. I was invited by the Dixon gallery for the “Women in the Arts,” one of my prints was selected in the private collection of Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, CA, and I’ve been in multiple exhibitions nationally and internationally.

What was a memorable experience you had at MCA?
It’s so hard to answer this question because I have so many memorable experiences but I want to say when I picked Printmaking as my major. My first year at MCA was so hard because I didn’t really know what I was doing and I was so confused, but when I was introduced to printmaking my heart just fell in love, and in that moment I knew the challenges I was going to face but the smell and the sound of the ink when you apply it to the plate and the excitement of making an edition, carving every single line in my woodcuts–it was and still is amazing. But my graduations were my most memorable experiences. When I graduated with my BFA I felt like I overcame all of the challenges like not speaking a lot of English and not really having a huge art background. I discovered my inner artist. And when I graduated with my MFA I felt so achieved because I was the first girl in my family to graduate with a Master’s and proud of myself because I was a full-time student with a full-time job.

What does MCA mean to you?
Everything. It breaks my heart to know that MCA is closing!! My mom always says that as soon as I walked in MCA during orientation I found myself. Not only did I meet my husband at MCA I also had the privilege to learn from people I admire such as Leandra Urrutia, Eszter Sziksz, Tom Lee, and Maritza Davila. I truly discovered a whole different person/artist in myself. I owe everything to that school, I wouldn’t change anything.

What do you think MCA’s legacy will be?
It’s the place where so many artists were discovered, where an all-nighter was more than sweat and tears– it was a sense of passion. The place where faculty and students shaped the visual arts community of Memphis. Students were inspired, challenged, and pushed to their limits daily but the MCA culture made everyone feel a sense of purpose. It’s more than just the school in the middle of Overton Park. It’s the school that brought talent from all around the country, the school that will always be in Memphis’s heart.