Meet Marissa Gon­za­lez and where her pas­sion lies

The Manila Times - - MAGAZINE -

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.

Vis­ual artist Marissa Gon­za­lez is a grand­daugh­ter of former pres­i­dent El­pidio Quirino

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