Today we’d like to introduce you to Niletza Gonzalez.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico where I had the privilege of receiving a comprehensive bilingual education while having a multicultural upbringing. I grew up with a mom in the military and politician dad so I developed very strong convictions and became very independent and resilient from a young age. I’ve always been extremely inquisitive and adventurous and I have a huge love for learning and exploring. Growing up, I kept busy with dance classes, Girl Scout camps, and jewelry design and confection courses. By the time I was a teenager, I spent most of my time making jewelry, rehearsing for school plays and shows, modeling and training for talent competitions like IMTA New York. I believe it was that artistic and somewhat rebellious nature that pushed me to seek out colleges in the states. At the time, I was interested in pursuing a Performing Arts major with a Photography minor. The options on the island were limited, so when I heard of SCAD, it was like a no-brainer. I started at the Savannah campus and ended up declaring Photography as my major after falling in love with the classes. I then moved to the Atlanta campus, where I graduated from in 2016. I established Nile Yang Photographics in the spring of 2017 and set up an online gallery where I sell my fine art prints. Since then, I’ve been concentrating on staying genuine, creating as much art as possible, and collaborating with small brands to make and promote amazing things. Currently, I’m in the process of launching a lifestyle brand, jewelry line, and more tangible art pieces as well as taking time for networking and having pop-up shops around town.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh, it has certainly NOT been a smooth road! I’m very unique so I was bullied and I’ve always struggled with mental health which definitely made things interesting growing up. Going to college was also a huge step filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty. I didn’t get accepted into SCAD until a week after graduating high school so I didn’t really know what I was going to do and I was determined to leave the island. When I got my acceptance letter, I was ecstatic but I had never spent longer than a month away from Puerto Rico or been to Georgia before. Nevertheless, I took the chance and left home but quickly found myself overwhelmed. I was suddenly alone in the states, trying to figure out how to become an adult while attending one of the most challenging art schools in the country. It took me longer than expected to graduate and I went through my fair share of bumps in college too, but it was truly an overall enriching experience. Since graduating, I’ve mostly had a challenging time finding my place and purpose as an artist. I’ve also been coming across the obstacles of being an entrepreneur and small business owner that are to be expected.
Nile Yang Photographics – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I decided to bring Nile Yang Photographics to life during my last year of college. It all started as a place for me to share and sell my photography, graphics, and digital artwork. I specialize in museum quality Fine Art Photography and digital designs. I’m also open to some freelance work and I love collaborating with other artists and small businesses to make and promote amazing things. I’m most proud of how much passion I put into my work and how committed I’ve been to remaining genuine and staying true to myself while also helping others thrive. What sets me apart from others is probably how spirited I am and how eclectic my art is. I follow my heart and do everything with a fiery passion, and I’m also committed to providing quality work. I want my art to be worth the investment and I try to make that shine through in everything I do.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There’s a couple of projects I’m very proud of, but there is this one project, in particular, that has been evolving since its inception. Every time it gets better and deeper and I just absolutely love that. It’s a project about Puerto Rico, called Salimos De Aquí, that I started during my last year of college. The title means “From Here We Came” and it started as a social commentary about the state of the island, meant to highlight how beautiful our culture is but also how broken it has become due to corruption and criminality. Then, Hurricane Maria happened and the island was literally broken so it became a direct reflection of that too. Now, three years after its birth, my people have been protesting tirelessly against our corrupt government and I have made it available for sale on my online gallery with the purpose of bringing awareness about the island’s issues and raising funds for victims of Hurricane Maria that are still struggling to recover.
- Shoots starting at $60
- Fine Art Prints starting at $90
- Canvas and Metal prints starting at $130
- Website: nileyang.shootproof.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/nileyang
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/nileyangphotographics
- Twitter: twitter.com/Nile_Yang
- Other: www.tumblr.com/nileyang
Mahalo Studios, Nile Yang