How one IG educator’s artwork inspires and supports creatives

“I think I’m a philanthropic misanthrope,” said Elwing Súóng Gonzalez to her teacher when she was in ninth grade. Gonzalez is a writer, artist, and educator who supports creatives much like herself.

Flash forward to today, this hasn’t changed too much.

“I like people in theory and I love when people create. And stories with people and watching people… but my interactions with people are very difficult,” the LA born-and-based artist explained on our Zoom call.

Behind her are posters reading “Black Lives Matter” and “No Human is Illegal.”

An introverted disposition

Despite this discomfort stemming from, what Gonzalez says, is anxiety and internal barriers (“it makes it hard for me to have individual interactions”), the Vietnamese American artist, teacher, and author has actively used her art to create a safe space on Instagram.

Her Instagram page @elwingbling, which has over 80 thousand followers, is the main place where she posts her art to support creatives. The work is a combination of words and ambiguous faces.

“The two biggest parts of my artwork are personal healing and political healing, but then of course those two things overlap,” Gonzalez told Kulture Hub. “It’s like the personal and political together.”

Besides being an artist, Gonzalez is also a teacher (of eighth graders and at community college), and mother. She sees many parallels in these three identities and connects all three back to educating and as a means to support creatives.

“[People all need to] feel like they matter, they’re seen, they’re not vulnerable to being criticized for expressing their thoughts or who they are,” said Gonzalez.

According to her, only then can real learning happen. 

“It boils down to the fact that I think all the work I do, whether it’s writing history or doing artwork or even raising my kids, all of it is educating in some way.”

Elwing Súóng Gonzalez

Support creatives

Her art reflects this need to communicate and educate. Her work is relatively straight forward: line drawing, noses, eyes, lips, surrounded by short phrases and reminders. 

“I need to make things most accessible to the largest group of people as possible in my teaching, and I bring that to my drawing and then the drawing brings it back to education,” Gonzalez said.

“It’s like this infinite loop of how to make things most accessible to the largest group.” 

While her art style has been influenced by her need to educate, Gonzalez said it has also come out of her being really busy. “One of the reasons I stopped painting when I was raising my kids is because it was so difficult in my mind to lay out all the paint, set up the easel, start drawing, start painting and then be interrupted,” Gonzalez explained. 

IG creative artwork

Instead of oils and pastels, she now keeps extensive notes in her phone and has loads of scrap paper with scribbled ideas for future pieces. “I start with whatever idea and then usually I add a…

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