Interview conducted by Kadie Sue Martin in the The Crossings’s series on creativity and diversity within Bethel University’s student body. The heart behind this series is to explore creativity in a broader sense and to be encouraged and inspired by the creatives on our campus and the things that they are doing.
Tania Gonzalez is a junior majoring in Business Management. She likes to hangout with friends on campus in the Commuter Lounge or in the AC. Tania can often be found in the library as well, studying and enjoying the view. Additionally, Tania has helped start and run the hispanic student fellowship club called UNIDOS.
How would you define creativity?
I would define creativity as any source that brings you joy and lets you express yourself. I don’t think it has to be one certain thing, like art. It’s just anything that helps you express yourself in a positive way, or [lets] you express your emotions, feelings, or thoughts.
How do you specifically express your creativity?
I definitely express my creativity through painting - I really like to paint - and also through nail art, which is one of my hobbies. It lets me create the vision of some sort of idea that I have. Art gives me a physical representation that I can look at [especially] with painting and ceramics. I really like ceramics because I can just make a creation that I had an idea of, and then it’s the physical form of what I was imagining.
What art classes have you taken at Bethel? Currently, I’m taking Painting with Professor Jay. I’ve only taken Painting. Right now, we’re doing the Principles of Painting - still lifes, color palettes, mixing paints, and playing around with composition. I thought it would be hard because I hadn’t taken any other art class before that, but I think he’s so helpful. It just makes it easy, and it’s very soothing because you focus on your project - super relaxing.
At what age did you discover your love for painting and nail art?
At a young age, actually. I think I was maybe in fifth grade when I started really getting into drawing, painting, and also nail art. I think it was just because I was bored. It was really accessible, and I really just liked creating my own things and designs. Having it come to life was really cool.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I usually, well, I think it’s just from things that I see, whether it be outside or maybe some pattern that I see on clothing. It also depends on the season and time. So, if it’s during Christmas time, I really like to use the basic Christmas colors and incorporate what’s going on in that season with what I’m doing.
How have you grown in your craft since starting at a young age?
I think I’ve become more creative, actually, because as I get older I know how to work [with more materials] whereas when I was younger, I was like, “oh, pencil and paper and paint.” And that’s it. Now, I know that there’s more means of art I can do more things with and use to enhance your creativity.
How do you balance homework and expressing your creativity?
It’s definitely hard because I know sometimes when you’re so focused on homework you forget that you can be creative or have an outlet or hobby you can do. It’s just setting a time for after you study or before you go to bed to let yourself relax and let your creativity flow. It’s just balancing it out and making sure you leave some time for yourself and the hobbies you like to do.
Is there a routine you apply to painting or a set time that you paint?
So, I paint in class, and then I have other projects that I do at home. I usually do those on the weekend because that’s when I have the most time, before I go to bed, or in the afternoons and whenever I’m done with homework and stuff. I usually like to do my own things in my journals. It’s so fun and usually after I’m done with all of my responsibilities, I do my own thing.
Do you find journaling to be a good, creative outlet as well?
Yeah, I think so. It incorporates writing as well as art. So, what I like to do is, like if it’s some feeling I’m going through, I’ll write it out, and then I’ll accompany it with a small piece of art, whether it be painting or watercolor. It kind of correlates to what I’m writing about. Yeah, I really enjoy doing that.
Are there anyways you explore your creativity on campus other than in your class?
I don’t think so, but I know other people really like taking pictures. I think it’s either pictures of architecture or nature. Also, the way the season affects how campus looks. I personally don’t involve what I’m doing with campus. It doesn’t correlate with me, I guess. I have to keep school and my creativity separate.
Congratulations on having your own nail business. That’s not something very common on campus. Could you please tell me a little bit more about that?
So, basically, it started off with some close friends from school. Since they worked at Sufficient Grounds, a lot of people would see their hands. They got compliments on their nails, and so my friends would recommend me to the people they were serving. From there, my business spread by word-of-mouth. My friend would say, “oh, yeah, Tania did my nails. You should go check it out. She does cool stuff.” Then they would contact me, and it was kind of like a chain type of thing. I ended up doing a lot of girls from Shupes nail's last year. And so, it still is like a chain to this year because those girls from last year recommended me to new girls. I initially started during Christmas break because I was super bored, and I would practice on my hometown friends, but then they would leave for college. I was like, “now I don’t know who I’m goingto practice on.” Then my campus friends saw that I was doing my own nails so then I had more people to practice on.
I know nail art has a lot of freedom, but do you have an fun shapes or designs you like to do with nails?
I do like working with glitter. I think it’s so pretty. I also like doing drawn nailart, so not stickers like other people do. It just ties in what I like to do, like painting and drawing, with nail art. It seems so much easier to me so I tend to lean toward drawn nail art or with glitter.
Do you have any nail tips?
I would say, if you go to a nail salon, don’t get shellac. They charge you extra for shellac, but it’s the same as gel, and a lot of people don’t know that. Salons usually overprice for shellac just because a lot of people don’t have the knowledge that they can get gel cheaper.
Also, if you get acrylics, don’t tear them off. You’ll damage your nails.
Any final words for me or the Crossing’s Literary Journal audience?
Yeah, I would just say go for it! I think there’s no certain way to express your creativity. However you want to define creativity is what you can claim as creativity. Definitely don’t let schoolwork discourage you from whatever you like to do, whether it be art, photography, or even writing. Just go for it. It could even help you with the stress of school since it’s an outlet that you can express yourself through.