Before landing a position as creative director at WeCreateMedia, Joseph Gonzalez had an epiphany that he needed to refocus and rebrand his life outlook and career choice.
A Northwest Indiana native, Gonzalez graduated from Clark High School in Whiting. Growing up he always held an interest in art, often drawing comic book and Disney characters in his free time.
“At a really young age I would draw all the time, and I was really good at it, too,” Gonzalez said.
But he initially didn’t believe it was a plausible career choice, especially after his grades at Indiana University Northwest didn’t make the cut.
“When I went to IUN for Fine Arts, I wasn’t disciplined enough to be a fine artist,” Gonzalez said.
In an attempt to find his true purpose in life, Gonzalez hopped from from college to college with no luck. To take break and reset, he moved to Las Vegas and worked several different jobs before deciding to refocus his passion for art and design into a career that would work.
“I got serious about going back to school, and remembering I was always good at art, I started looking at art schools instead of community colleges,” Gonzalez said. Shortly after, he earned an associate’s degree from the International Academy of Design and a bachelor’s at the Illinois Institute of Art. Gonzalez worked at various organizations including hospitals in the region before starting at WeCreateMedia.
There, he helps the team develop ideas and concepts for clients to enhance their branding and business strategies.
“We work in the leisure and hospitality market, so we help a lot of resorts and hotels and restaurants all across the country, as well a corporate clients across the globe. My daily duties consist of checking other people’s work, offering creative direction, reading through scripts, working with our video team, and mentoring and working with other designers and our freelance talent,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez most enjoys the talented group of coworkers at WeCreate. “I don’t really feel like I’m working. When I wake up in the morning, I run to work because it’s something I really enjoy doing.”
Gonzalez’s only regret in life is that he didn’t get into his profession sooner, so he encourages others to follow their passions head on.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was about 22 years old, and I had never turned on a computer until then. Don’t mess around and be more focused,” Gonzalez advised.
He is most thankful for his wife Lisa Gonzalez who helped him “get his head on straight.”
“My biggest influence has probably been my wife. She has helped me become the man I am today, through helping me with transitioning careers and carrying our family financially while I was trying to figure out what my career would be,” he said.
Gonzalez also is an artist under the namesake Miracletwentyone, a photographer under the name Blackbean, and is the co-founder of the Insight Conference with Kevin Bruinsma.
The event is a low-cost local creative community networking opportunity, featuring speakers that lift up a mission to educate, inspire and transform the lives of up-and-coming graphic designers.
“The conference started off as just a portfolio review of college kids’ portfolios and then that turned into having speakers and having more of a structured event,” he said. “The biggest thing that comes out of it is the relationships that get made from the people that attend. Being able to provide that platform to start those relationships is important in this community.”
This year's conference is being held at WeCreate Media at 7 p.m., Sept. 21. Gonzalez’s work also will be featured in an art show on April 14 at Miller Beach. More information on the event here: https://www.squareone.gallery/.