We hung out with the talented @itsaliving, aka Ricardo Gonzalez, and talked art, music, life and tequila. The Mexican-born, now Brooklyn-based, artist tried our tequilas and came in to create some fresh content for us using his superior calligraphy skills.
After tasting each product, Ricardo selected a word to describe each one. We will be revealing the words and the amazing final pieces that he created for us on our Instagram page, @1800Tequila, over the next couple of weeks. Check out some behind-the-scenes photography and our Q&A with Ricardo below.
Let’s start with something easy, where did ‘It’s a Living’ come from?
‘It’s a Living’ started a few years back. I was watching a ‘Death from Above’ video on YouTube and in the video I noticed that the drummer had this tattoo on his shoulder, saying ‘It’s a Living’ and it really resonated with me. Time passed and I was looking for a name for my studio, a brand name, something that I could relate to and in that moment I remembered the tattoo.
In regards to your work, you’re always trying new things. Why don’t you settle?
That’s a good question! I see so many things out there. Lettering is huge right now, but I want to get better projects, I want to do things that haven’t been done. It’s not like I’m always inventing new stuff, it’s pretty much just the same thing over and over but applied to different mediums and techniques. I am always very curious to try new things and see what happens and just get really weird.
Do you get tired of old stuff and think ‘I never want to do that again’?
I don’t know, I always spice it up and go back to my old work and recycle what I’ve done. I can take something that I did back in school and try it again but take it in a whole different direction. Sometimes I get bored and move forward but if I ever get stuck, I always have a base that I can go back to.
How did you get into lettering in the first place?
It started off back when I was in Mexico as a kid looking at letters that my Grandfather wrote to my Grandmother; he was a teacher with this amazing handwriting. I got into graffiti as a teenager and then went to college for graphic design, where I learned the basics in typography. Things died down for a couple of years after that but then I started to get back into graffiti! I kept thinking how can I do this without getting into trouble… so I just bought a bunch of markers and started doing stuff in my apartment. I ended up heading to New York to study calligraphy, lettering and type design and here we are.
When you’re working, what music are you listening to?
MFDoom – I love hip hop and rap. I love Beach House too. It really depends on the mood but most of the time that’s what I’ll listen to.
In talking to you, it sounds like you’ve had an interesting life. Where have you lived so far?
I was born in Juarez, right on the border but I was raised in Durango, Mexico. It’s a super small town and I lived there until I was 18. Then I lived in Canada for five years before returning to Mexico for a bit. Now I’m in New York and I’ve been here for two years.
For this project that we are doing, we had a fun tasting of the 1800® products. Which was your favorite and why?
My favorites are Coconut and Añejo. I think the brand and this whole project is super fresh, it almost doesn’t feel like a brand, it’s very organic and flexible.
You are a part of our #1800Visionaries series, but what does “visionary” mean to you?
For me, a visionary is someone who has their feet on the ground but looks forward. I always look to progress and become better, to do better, to try harder.
Can you list some people that you think of as “visionaries”?
I can think of a lot of people that are visionaries. Alex Trochut, @trochut, is an amazing illustrator from Spain. He is one of the best people and someone I look up to. Felipe Pantone, @felipepantone, is a kinetic artist who paints huge murals, also from Spain; everything he does is very cool. Juan Carlos Pagan, @junacarlospagan, is a good friend and a superb typographer. His work is super clean and innovative and he is based here in New York.