My name is Uziel Gonzalez and I’m majoring in Graphic Design and 2D art with a minor in Community Arts. Recently, I’ve really shifted my focus in 2D to printmaking and the different ways to engage with the community and the visual arts. I started at Whitworth with a very different path; I had planned for a major in Health Science on the Physician’s Assistant track during my freshman year. My reason to pursue a career in the medical field was to help people through medicine. I understood that for many patients, that was going to be their most vulnerable moment. My mother was a nurse in Mexico; her passion to care for others and help the people who often lacked resources left me inspired. I can now look back and see that it was her care for people, not the career, that inspired me.
When I took my first fine arts class ever at Whitworth, I had planned for it to be a nice break between my heavier loads like chemistry and biology. I was definitely struggling in those classes, but I thought to myself, “Drawing 1 could be a nice space to relax and do something I like to do as a hobby, so why not?”. I had seen a few assignments my friends had done during Jan Term, so I was excited to try it out myself. I had never taken any art classes all through middle and high school because I felt like I was set on going into the medical field, so this was very new to me.
The first assignment Professor Gordon Wilson assigned was a hatching and cross hatching study. We had to choose an object in the still-life setup he had in class. I chose to do a skull which I felt was going to be easier because a lot of lines where already describing the form. It was supposed to be an easy light assignment, but I ended up working over the minimum time stated in the syllabus. I clearly remember working on the drawing and ignoring my chemistry homework that was sitting over on the side. I got lost in the drawing. I had never felt so focused and when I was done, I started feeling uncertain about what I wanted to do with my career path. “Was I majoring in the wrong field? The arts? Really? That’s… no… I can’t do this. It’s a big jump from science to art. What even is a portfolio and now I have to apply to the major?!”. I was very uneasy about changing careers. I’ve been commuting to Whitworth all four years now; during my freshman year I used the bus to travel from the valley to campus. I remember studying for my chemistry exam on the bus and having a lady sit next to me. She asked what I was up to and explained what I was studying and what I wanted to do. She picked up on the fact that I did not like chemistry at all and I was having a hard time. Then she asked me, “then why are you even studying something you don’t like?”. I knew change was coming but I kept denying it because I was honestly afraid that it would be a major and expensive mistake to switch from science to art.