The following essay is by my sister Guadalupe González featured in the exhibition catalog, Yolanda Gonzalez: Sueño de Familia | Dream of Family.
Margarita López Ibarra, our grandmother, arrived sometime in the night from her home in Houston, Texas. Our mom, pictured to the left, had spoken of her, “She is an artist, a woman before her time.”
When Margarita moved to Los Angeles to live with us and she immediately filled our house with inspired memories. She was a painter and performer, her painting is pictured above. Her grand piano roomed with her as well and became one of our favorite residents. Our home became a concert hall, and she regularly filled our ears with classical music.
As my brothers and sisters grew up and went out on our own, our youngest sister, Yolanda González, emerged as a budding artist. Her high-school teacher recognized her as a nascent talent, urging her to develop her ability as a visual artist. Quickly, she started achieving quite a bit of success with her work. (Above, from Japan to California).
She earned a scholarship to Art Center College of Design after winning a contest. During this time, Sister Karen Boccalero, founder of Self Help Graphics & Art was mentoring and nurturing Latino artists. Yolanda was one of her first artists, and under Sister Karen’s wing, she started to exhibit her work regularly. We often attended as a family – my parents and Yolanda’s five siblings.
One of Yolanda’s early accomplishments was when she received the invitation to be an artist-in-residence in Japan. The Japanese government chose twelve artists from around the world. I thought, “Wow, she gets to go to Japan?”
(Above, drawing by my great grandfather, grandmother, grandmother’s painting, my mom in traditional dress for a dance recital, my mom, Yolanda, Lauren, and painting by Yolanda).
Secretly, we all started living the life of a tourist through Yolanda’s adventures. We saw photos of her wearing a red coat at the Hermitage in Russia in the gently falling snow…
I lovingly reflect on the legacy given to us by Margarita and our great-grandfather, “The five generations of our family’s art is a reflection of our Latino heritage, the culture of color and motion, the tradition of family and honor we carry deeply. It’s in our blood.”
To enjoy the complete essay by Guadalupe please visit the Vincent Price Art Museum, enjoy the exhibition Yolanda Gonzalez: Sueño de Familia | Dream of Family on view through March 15, 2020 and pick up the new book.