Drawing in the fast lane

Dangling precariously from a woman’s arm is a purse: an unmistakable symbol of femininity. He takes notice, and in his mind, the transformation begins; curves are carved, wheels materialize.

Hector Gonzalez, 23, studio art major, gathers inspiration from every-day objects to design vehicles. For example, a project where his sketchings transformed a purse into a car for women.

“One of my assignments for Art Center (Art Center College of Design) was to design a car geared toward women for Dodge, because right now their target buyers are male.” Gonzalez said. “I was supposed to break new ground for Dodge, so I thought I might as well make a compact because they don’t have any compacts, and I incorporated the purse into that.”

He has also showed his versatility by going in the exact opposite direction.

“I sketched a Cadillac with like a southern feel,” Gonzalez added. “Because what’s more American than a cowboy? So I thought of a revolver and a bull.”

Gonzalez, who many times re-draws projects after turning them in just to see if he can improve them, is making good impressions here at EC.

“He’s very diligent about his goal. He knows what he wants,” Andrea Micallef, associate professor of art, said. “In an assignment, if you ask for 50 thumbnails, he gives you 100.”

“He is going to make it,” Micallef added. “He’s the kind of person I’d want to hire. He’s the kind of person I’d want to give a problem to because I know he’s not just satisfied with any answer. He will look to find the best answer possible because that’s who he is.”

Friends have seen his skills take off.

“He pushes himself so hard,” Jaekyu Lim, 27, who attends Art Center, said. “If you look at his first drawing and his drawings now, you would say it’s from different people. He always draws a car wherever he goes if he has a pen and paper. He was drawing a car at Starbucks and the people there were amazed.”

For Hector, art and cars meshed together as naturally as the purse and compact car in his sketch.

“Me and my dad have had a 1980 Z-28 Camaro,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve been working on it for a while now, like the engine and all that. I’ve really just liked cars since the beginning, and I was also good at art, but I didn’t want to be a fine artist.”

Gonzalez has already received a scholarship for classes at Honda and hopes to transfer to Art Center full time.

“I took classes at Honda,” Gonzalez said. “I applied for a scholarship and they gave it to me, so they paid for the classes, and they paid for some markers because they’re really expensive.”

Down the road, Gonzalez hopes to make an impact on what cars people see on the streets.

“I think the simple fact that I could design something on paper and one day be able to touch it and see it on the road is awesome,” Gonzalez said.