Meet Sofia Victoria Gonzalez, Our Newest Affiliated Artist!

Our newest Affiliated Artist is Sofia Victoria Gonzalez! Sofia finds inspiration from her natural surroundings and uses processes of sewing, staining, and color to explore her sense of place. Read the Q&A below to get to know the newest artist in the Alliance family!

Get to know our newest Affiliated Artist, Sofia Victoria Gonzalez, on today’s special Q&A blog post! Sofia finds inspiration from her natural surroundings and uses processes of sewing, staining, and color to explore her sense of place. The Climate Science Alliance team was honored to feature Sofia’s presentation in our recent San Diego Climate Summit. You can watch her presentation “Creating Natural Watercolors” here, and participate in the Interactive Activity here.

Climate Science Alliance (Alliance): Have you always known you wanted to be an artist?

Sofia Victoria Gonzalez (Sofia): I have! I grew up in a very creative home and was always encouraged to create art. As an only child, art became my best friend and was always there to keep me company. I became more serious about my future as an artist in college and continued to pursue a creative career while studying to receive an MFA in studio art. For me, making art and connecting with other people through art is my happy place. It is where I feel comfortable and curious and willing to take risks. I will do anything I need to keep this side of myself alive and well. 

Alliance: You've said, "As a maker, I feel a frantic urge to record the places I have known..." Does climate change influence your art, as it leaves its mark on the land?

Sofia: I’ve found that my textiles are my response to climate change and change in general. I think natural dyes are a way to remember a place and record it in an almost frantic way, so that I can always remember the colors and place within a specific time. I’ve done a lot of work about home and where I live, whether that is where I grew up or in Arkansas, and I have different associations with those places now, too. The colors I create allow me to see all of the places I’ve been while still allowing me to be present in the place I’m currently in.

Natural dyes also connect me to the changes in seasons and the effects of climate change. For example, this year the Oxalis (sour grass) bloomed far earlier than in the past as we had warm weather soon after the rain this winter.

I used to feel like because I’m an artist, I had to do something directly to help solve climate change. But, ultimately, that is a heavy burden for someone to bear. Eventually I learned that in many small ways I can do my part; that’s when I adopted the natural dyes as a way to bring people’s attention to their own neighborhood. Climate change is a global problem, but my practice allows me to put it into perspective and recognize that climate change impacts that one plant you love or the park you walk your dog in. I think that helps make the issu