Jack of all trades, retired real estate agent, computer technician, and local artist is giving back to community through his art.
Rick Gonzales curiosity has driven him into learning how to build websites, create original jewelry for his wife, how to paint, and now his latest project Art for Food.
“You have to keep your mind busy,” Gonzales said.
“A few people have asked me why I don’t sell my paintings, they were interested in buying one, and I never have really been interested in selling my hobby,” Gonzales said.
He added, “The jewelry I made, it’s all original stuff that comes out of my head, I never sold any piece, I only made it for my wife.
“It’s a bit strange, because a lot of people want to make money from the things they do, I understand that, for me I like to keep it as a hobby, as my own little thing. When you start selling your hobby, it becomes a job.
“I didn’t think anybody would like them, and then when somebody started to like the paintings, I thought maybe I could use this to make money to donate to the food bank.”
Gonzales has recently sold one of the paintings for Art for Food, where he donated 100 per cent of the money raised to the Chestermere Food Bank.
“That’s a win-win for everybody. The person who bought it is happy, she liked the painting, the food bank gets the money, and I get to feel good that somebody likes the painting,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales has been working on multiple paintings, including one which he is creating for Christmas with Dignity.
“I’m working on a whole bunch, the problem is I’ve ran out of walls, I don’t know where to put them anymore.
“It’s not like an eight to five job, when you know exactly what you need to do, when you start painting you don’t really know what you’re going to do,” Gonzales said.
Inspiration comes from everything that Gonzales see’s. He can be driving along a familiar road and notice new things he has never seen before and feel inspired to work on an acrylic or oil painting.
“Everything catches my eye more than other people,” Gonzales said.
However, Gonzales inspiration for creating Art for Food came from his own personal struggles.
“It still shocks me that there are people who don’t have food,” Gonzales added, “That shocked me considerably, I can’t understand it.”
A shed, much like the ones people have in their backyards to store tools would have been considered a high-end condo compared to where Gonzales used to live, he said.
“We had a shack, it was full of holes, and the water would come in, we used to cover it up with flour and water, and make glue, and use newspaper to cover the holes.
“I guess that affects you somehow, I do like to do something for other people. I just hate to see people without food, I guess because I went through that it bothers me,” Gonzales said.
Painting is an expression for Gonzales.
“A lot of things come out of frustration, problems in your life, there’s always something that effects your life. The paintings are just a release of energy, I’m trying to make everything look a bit better.
“Everybody has the potential to change their attitude or their life and look back and help a bit. I want to keep on painting, and I want to keep donating either to the food bank or to the shelter downtown,” Gonzales said.
He added, “I think we can all help.”
Gonzales wife, Karen Gonzales said, “He is very-very creative. He loves to give back, he knows what it likes not to have food. He’s been without, so he knows what it’s like.”
She added, “We’ve been successful, we don’t take it for granted, and we want to give back and that’s exactly why he’s doing this.”
Rick is encouraging the community to get involved and to help others through creativity.
“Hopefully I can get more people involved creating things, selling it, people don’t have to give 100 per cent, they can give 50 per cent or whatever they want. There’s no rules on that,” he said.
To get involved with Art for Food please visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Art-for-Food-1973651852703378/.