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.

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

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