The Manila Times
Meet Marissa Gonzalez and where her passion lies
SHE was born into a political family, and is the granddaughter of a former president of the Philippines, no less. But Marissa Gonzalez’s passions lay elsewhere, specifically in the visual arts, which she has practically dedicated her entire life to.
Gonzalez is the granddaughter of former president Elpidio Quirino and the sister of businessman Louie Quirino Gonzalez, former husband of singer Kuh Ledesma. Although her family was to politics born, Marissa has always loved art. After graduating from De La Salle University with a degree in Mass Media, she devoted herself to the study of different forms of art. She moved to Switzerland where she spent several years working in diplomatic circles, including for the Philippine Embassy in Berne, and the International Organization of Migration in Geneva.
At the same time, she studied photography, earning a technical diploma from the Cours Industrial du Soir in Geneva, Switzerland in 1990. Two years later, she moved to France to study Basic Silk Painting Techniques at the Atelier Tissus d’Idées in Cessy, France under Eliette Pignard; Drawing and Watercolor Techniques at the Ecole Migros under Maître J. P. Grelat, Advanced Watercolor Painting Techniques at the Atelier Bombix, Morges, Switzerland under Jöelle Desterne, of Avignon, France; Swiss Folk Art painting Techniques on Wood at the Atelier Rosa, Geneva, Switzerland under Heidi Rosa, and her last course of study, completed only last year, in 2012—and which took her six years—was in Advanced Oil Painting and Mixed Media Techniques at the atelier of Maitre J.P. Grelat.
As she studied, Gonzalez also exhibited some of her works at various galleries in Europe. She has also turned her art into a business venture, going into graphic design, production and direct sales of wooden trays with acrylic paintings and painting, developing and internationally marketing of one-of-akind, exclusive, hand-painted silk neckties, under the brand name Marissa González. Her latest endeavor is launching blank greeting cards box sets from the collection “Chairs and the Art of Waiting.”
Art has become such a way of life for Gonzalez that it seems ironic when she says she was clueless about it in the beginning. “I didn’t even know how to draw,” she quipped.
Now, her skills as an artist have matured to the point where she is bold enough to try mediums not entirely explored by other artists, such as executing handpainted works on jusi, a material normally used for gowns and barongs. This February, she will present a solo exhibit of handpainted jusi wall hangings titled The Road to Silence. It will be held at the ground floor of the Ayala Museum in Greenbelt 5, Makati City.
Gonzalez explains that jusi is the term for “raw silk” and is used to refer to the material woven in the Philippines from silk and pineapple fibers. “By using it as my medium, I am paying tribute to Philippine material and exploring other non-traditional uses for jusi, apart from gowns and barongs.”
In a previous interview with Cristina DC Pastor published in Filipinas Magazine in February 2005, the artist outlined the delicate process involved in painting on jusi. “It’s delicate, but very strong,” she said of the fabric. “You have to work very fast because watercolor dries very quickly on jusi. Sometimes you have to work while certain parts of the fabric are still wet.”
This time, it will be the turn of local art enthusiasts to be introduced to Gonzalez’ work, and she is very excited to honor her country of birth and its rich artistic heritage through this exhibit.