Faceoff final five: Alita Gonzalez

Alita Gonzalez jokes that she suffers from creative ADD. It’s a tongue-in-cheek condition that has progressed over 12 years, across three continents and followed her to more than half a dozen agencies. The design industry “always seemed so compartmentalized, either you were a graphic designer and your specialty was typography, or you were an art […]

Alita Gonzalez jokes that she suffers from creative ADD.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek condition that has progressed over 12 years, across three continents and followed her to more than half a dozen agencies.

The design industry “always seemed so compartmentalized, either you were a graphic designer and your specialty was typography, or you were an art director that illustrated,” says the freelancer and top-five finalist for Marketing’s Creative Faceoff. “I loved so many different things that I immersed myself in different worlds.”

Since graduating from the graphic design program at Ontario College of Art and Design in 1997, Gonzalez has delved into traditional branding, editorial, exhibit, interactive, packaging, product design, and special effects animation.

But don’t think Gonzalez lacks focus. She has managed to harness her creativity to produce a portfolio of side projects that are fueled by ingenuity, but based on strategy.

“I really like to understand what the possible solutions can be,” she says. “I tend to think of things not as a one-time result, but how can this live long term.”

This philosophy is the basis for her newly formed collective called Undo that invites artists, designers, activists and writers who seek to create insightful social statements through collaboration, says Gonzalez.

The first project: Nite-Lite, a free-standing interactive light installation at this year’s Nuit Blanche arts festival in Toronto, which used re-purposed materials and over 2,000 hand painted water bottles that acted as “pixels.” The exhibit took inspiration from the classic children’s toy, Lite-Brite, and displayed facts about environmental sustainability and the long-term consequences of cheap disposable plastics.

“If we could use the volume of people that came through to contribute to something that’s environmental, then you’re actually creating a change,” she says.

Gonzalez will repurpose some of the bottles to make chandeliers, which she hopes to sell. The remaining bottles will be used to create wall partitions that mimic stained glass.

Gonzalez has worked on several brand-building projects for agencies like Leo Burnett, Y&R, Taxi, TBWA in Chile, Juniper Park, and most recently Zulu Alpha Kilo, but for now, consumerism takes a back seat to charity and conservation. Gonzalez designed a website and logo for Drawn to Develop–From Paper to Print, a fundraising effort that features original photographic prints inspired by the drawings and stories of street youth from around the world hosted by non-profit agency Street Kids International.

While Gonzalez says she’d love a full time job again, her freelance work facilitates her creative hobbies.

“I’d really like to keep doing what I’m doing, unless it’s the kind of job that allows me to keep doing what I’m doing, which is rare,” she says. “I’m loving the freelance world.”

To view the original profiles of all five finalists and to cast your vote for your favourite, visit CreativeFaceoff.ca.

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