Artists and arts professionals seem to always have their hands in multiple projects, often in disparate fields, whether due to financial necessity or personal passions. Artists are hustlers and San Antonio-based artist Raul Gonzalez is no different.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Gonzalez earned his BFA in Painting from the University of Houston and his MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Often exploring themes of parenting, the relationship between domesticity and manual labor (specifically the use of concrete in both settings) and identity, he has gone on to exhibit both regionally and nationally with work in permanent collections throughout the United States. As if being a full-time stay-at-home parent and working artist is not enough, Gonzalez recently launched his latest project, an eclectic and art-focused Airbnb he calls Werk House SA.
Originally used as extra storage space and gallery for studio visits, Werk House has been transformed into a comfortable, private, and art-focused short-term rental. Werk House accommodates up to two people and features a kitchenette, a bathroom with all the essentials, wifi, and of course, art. Upon entering the space, visitors are greeted with an inviting sleeping area to the left, and a spacious area for cooking and enjoying those home-cooked meals on the right.
The studio apartment has the added benefit of being a live-in gallery. Gonzalez will feature his own work as well as contemporary artwork by regional artists, connecting all of its visitors to the heart of San Antonio’s art community.
When asked why create Werk House, Raul replied, “K.C. and I had talked about doing an airbnb when we first moved in as a way to make extra revenue…so I just kept thinking well what the fuck am I gonna do? I’m at home with the girls all the time. I can’t take on a new job. I’m not going to work somewhere I don’t want to work. I’ve done enough of that in my lifetime. So I thought, you know what, I’ve been in San Antonio long enough and I’ve done a lot on my own. I’ve been showing a lot, selling a fair amount. I got myself into museum collections…so I thought I’d just keep doing what I’m doing and maybe help some people out.”
Upon renting out Werk House guests will be able to “curate their stay” and have the opportunity to select one of three themes of artwork to be on display during their visit: figurative/narrative, abstract, or host’s choice. Each piece of art on display will have an art label and a price list will be available for those interested in adding to their collection. Guests will be able to purchase the artwork on the walls during their stay or browse other works that Gonzalez will have available for viewing. Visitors will also be able to visit Raul’s studio upon request.
Sarah Fox, one of Werk House’s featured artists, is in full support of Gonzalez’s efforts stating, “I thought it was a really creative idea and I knew Raul could pull it off and make it successful… it sounded like a great way to get some out of town guests to see the real art world of San Antonio. A nice remedy to terrible hotel art!”
We have to agree with Fox on this one. Werk House is bridging the gap between local talent and San Antonio’s visitors.
Following his own mantra of “Werk Hustle Sleep Repeat,” Gonzalez has a busy art schedule ahead.
He has launched limited edition “Werk Hustle Sleep Repeat (Whataburger edition)” shirts which are available for purchase at Feliz Modern or online here. Raul will also be exhibiting at this years annual ARTBASH, hosted by Art Alliance Austin, on November 9th.
Learn more about his practice by visiting his website at http://www.artistraulgonzalez.com and don’t forget to follow Raul on instagram at @werkin_artistraulgonzalez and Werk House SA at @werkhousesa.