Rodel Gonzalez has artistic ability in his blood. As a third-generation painter, he was exposed to art at an early age and began learning from his father, Rick Gonzalez, when he was just 9 years old. "It's basically the family business," Rodel says. "The highlight of my day would be to go to my dad's gallery and see a lot of familiar faces. "When he was 11, Rodel sold his first piece to one of his father's customers and became instantly enamored with the idea of becoming a profes-sional artist. Serving as an apprentice for his father, Rodel immersed himself in the art of the old masters and worked on perfecting his craft.
As the years progressed, Rodel began exploring other avenues of artistic expression. He continued to study art at the University of Santo Tomas where he majored in painting. During that time, he also became captivated by the art of playing music. Rodel, though reluctant to disappoint his father, decided to focus his energy on music and formed a band called Side A, which quickly became the No. 1 act in the Philippines. In the 1980s and 90s, Rodel toured with his band performing lead vocals, sax and guitar.
Even while a successful musician, Rodel always fell back on painting as a hobby. In 1990, Rodel married and found that the rock-n-roll lifestyle soon became a burden. In 1992, he resigned from Side A but continued to play music professionally. In 2002, he decided to move his family to Hawaii. It was there that Rodel re-discovered his passion for painting. "Being in Hawaii is such a graceful place because you don't have to go far to find inspiration," he says. His cousin, Roy Gonzalez Tabora, was already a successful artist in Hawaii and was able to introduce Rodel to some key contacts on the island, which helped catapult his career in art once again.
With a newfound focus, Rodel quickly made a name for himself in the art community. Using a dry-brush technique, the artist creates stunning realist seascapes, wildlife-conscious artwork and other depictions of everyday life. He often works on multiple pieces at the same time to allow ample time for his oil-on-canvas masterpieces to dry. For Rodel, being a realist artist requires more than simply re-producing a photograph. "I paint more what I feel than what I see," he says. "I want to create that overall mood to really capture the moment."
In December of 2007, Rodel and his family moved to Los Angeles and then in 2016 to Orlando, continuing a full time career in fine art. He still focuses on honing the craft he first learned from his father many years ago. For Rodel, nothing is a given; dedication to his art is of utmost importance. "Just like anything else, you've got to invest the hours if you want to be good," he says. "The everyday lives of people and their surroundings are my inspiration. I love the interplay of light and shadows and the details in expressions and structures. I find it challenging and rewarding to depict the changing moods each day."
"In this lifetime, I was able to do music, which I love, and art, which I love. On a personal level, I'm really humbled waking up in the morning knowing I can do what I want for a living. For me, that's really the accomplishment." ~ Rodel on finding success by following his passions
Rodel on-air with Telemundo to talk about his artwork.
With a young fan in Japan during a gallery tour.
With Star Wars fan and art collectors at Comic-Con.
Hand highlighting a giclee for a fan at D23 Expo.
Painting live in Orlando at Wyland Gallery (Disney's BoardWalk).
At a special VIP event for Disney art collectors.