We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Gonsiorek and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mary, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Surrendering to the process. Especially as an artist that does a lot of on-site illustration work, it is so easy to get trapped in the noise- noise of the customers, noise of the anxiety and pressure of peering eyes watching every step of the process. Learning to surrender to the artistic process and just live in that moment with the art that is on hand, those noises get a little less loud. Also as a person who is diagnosed with anxiety and depression, learning to surrender expectation and surrender narratives that are not genuine to my goals are critical to moving forward with my art everyday.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the proudest moments of my life was to be able to admit my worth as an artist and accept the responsibility of becoming a full time artist. For so long, I have let my mental health take the worse of me and have struggled accepting I do deserve happiness and I do deserve to follow my dreams. For years I had refused to pick up a pencil or a paint brush for fear that I was not good enough to live up to preconceived notions others had imposed on what an artist truly was. After months of not sleeping and compulsively scribbling, I finally got real with myself, I admitted I needed help and sought counseling to confront my anxiety and depression. It was a lot of work, and I struggled – and still struggle with getting out of bed some days, but it changed my life in accepting the fulfillment that being an artist is for my soul. The most important thing for me, if my art can conceive any message it would be this: joy, love, and the openness to feel the love in a moment my art can capture.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a proud dog mom and bruncher, I would absolutely have to start with Mutts Canine Cantina! Both their locations in Fort Worth and Dallas are absolutely fabulous and give a dog-on good time with their events, their music, and all the fun the dogs provide for free. From there, I would absolutely have to head over to the DMA, Dallas Museum of Art- whereas my favorite painting is in restoration, the docents are wonderful as friends of mine and I typically do weird yoga poses in front of their sculptures and tell us fantastic knowledge about art works along the way. Afterwards, it’s time to get the dogs back together and hit Klyde Warren Park across the street to catch live music, breakdancers, acro yoga acts, and of course their food trucks. With all the art vibes, it wouldn’t be complete without going to Bishop Arts district. Finding the fun artistic shops like Mosaic Makers Collective and various boutique stores that let the puppies roam while we wine and dine and shop.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Stephen Silver. It is so rare to meet your heroes and them to live up to your expectation, never the less, working alongside them in your dream trade. Last year I had my dream come true to study under Stephen Silver in one of his workshops in Tennessee. I drove from Dallas, having no idea what to expect, struggling with my identity as an artist and really working hard battling my fight with clinical anxiety, each mile on the road being a huge fight in my head about “deserving” to have this amazing experience and take my art to the next level. In fact, I even had a car accident on the way to the workshop! Whenever I made it to the class, Stephen opened up with a mantra “piece by piece, I will find peace” and shared that as artists who constantly undergo critiques by everyone- clients, passerbys, and worse ourselves, that everyday the goal is to “suck just a little bit less everyday”, and it resonated with me. I took the rest of the workshop smiling, laughing, sharing experiences with others and making the best fat batman- necessary work to get out of my head and work from my heart.

Website: https://gonzotails.com
Instagram: @gonzotails

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