People and Places
Message in the making By Liz Rogers

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Marco Gonzalez does art. This Spanish-born Mornington street and graphic artist comes from a raw aesthetic where expression surges from a reactive and reflective place. Deep down inside. And it has to surface.

We chat in his studio space in Co.Co Place on the industrial side of town. Still operating his graphic art business in Barcelona, where he directs his 20-plus staff from our medium-size seaside town halfway across the world, we chat about life, family, new and old beginnings. I wonder why an Antoni Gaudi (Catalan Modernist architect) native chooses to relocate on the Mornington Peninsula when he could be on the streets of Barcelona under the cover of darkness wheeling and dealing in paint, colour and freedom. He explains.

“The lifestyle was appealing. I met my Australian wife overseas and we have two young children who are three and six years old. It was time to come here for family. It was her turn and I like it a lot. It’s all new to me and I’m still near the sea.”

This is how his love affair with art started. “I was always in a bubble. I lived a long way from the city centre and was always painting and drawing even from a very young age. I was fascinated by the concept of using style as a message. One of the great things about street art is you just feel it and do it. You can be anonymous. It was exciting to be involved in the street art scene in Europe in the early ‘90s because it was quite evolved, and you earned respect quickly. We painted in beautiful places, abandoned factories and gypsy camps. Street art is a great conversation starter. But then I was becoming well-known (Milano show in 2000) and you started to need a permit and it was time to move on. I bought my first computer in 1996/7 and began teaching myself illustration. It was a natural progression.”

This instinctive artist has dabbled in set development and sculpting but is most contented while designing and painting. He is currently thriving on texturing and layering acrylics on to canvas while exploring colour splurges and fine fluid lines in still-life drawing classes.  

“When I was 14 my teacher spoke with my parents and suggested I go to art school. This is where I began my formal training at 15. It was 50km away from my home, but I went. My parents were always incredibly supportive of this obsession I had with creating and producing. It was all I did. It is still the same way. It’s my happy place.”

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