Wend is more than just a starving artist

Photo by John Villanueva On Display: Geoff Gouveia’s art hangs inside of  Augie’s coffee house on 12th St and Lemon St. in downtown Riverside. A mural also adorns the wall facing 12th St.

Photo by John Villanueva
On Display: Geoff Gouveia’s art hangs inside of Augie’s coffee house on 12th St and Lemon St. in downtown Riverside. A mural also adorns the wall facing 12th St.

Michael Isberto | Staff Writer

Oct. 16, 2014

Riverside native Geoff Gouveia is an artist to watch out for, but you won’t find any art pieces signed with that name. As an artist he goes by Wend, which means to proceed or to go in English.
Inspired by a graffiti art show in 2010, Gouveia started putting art in the alleys.
“I was so inspired by the show that I had to place things in the street: I began to draw larger and larger images to cut out and paste places,” Gouveia said. “The activity was illegal and because of that I never signed my real name. Except one time in a field I began to spray paint my real name Gouveia really large and then I freaked out, thinking ‘am I stupid?’ I definitely was.”
Growing up in Riverside, Gouveia didn’t always know which way he wanted to go. He started off at California Baptist University as a Theology major, but quickly realized he didn’t want to become a minister. He remembered how much he enjoyed his art class in high school, and decided to pursue art as a major in college. And with a supportive family and girlfriend (now wife), his journey in art began.
Now working as a full-time artist, Gouveia has done local Riverside showcases at the Saturation Fest, Back to the Grind, and CBU. But the majority of his artistic efforts are focused outside of Riverside.
“I do murals that’s not really Riverside friendly,” Gouveia said. “So I’m always branching out and going to different places to paint murals and different things. But social media like Instagram have really allowed me to do other stuff outside of Riverside.”
He recently did some work for Baron Fig in New York, a new and rising notebook company known to support creative professionals. Their mission statement: “To champion thinkers in their journey to create and inspire the world.”
This goes hand in hand with Gouveia’s attitude regarding his own artwork as well. He doesn’t consider himself a traditional artist. He takes inspiration from connecting with people and believes that art can be the medium for connections. On any given day, you can find him at various local coffee shops in Riverside including Lift and Augie’s talking to the baristas and customers about art and life in general. He describes his lifestyle as a simple one, but he will never refer to himself as a starving artist.
Artists can relate to the term starving artist: an idea that a person gives up monetary wealth in order to concentrate on their creativity.  As an artist, Wend doesn’t buy into that mentality.
“I hate the idea of a starving artist,” Gouveia said. “People say it as a negative term. But I think that artists buy into it as well. It’s like this noble appeal. you’re starving because you’re pursuing something worth starving for.
“I just think that’s not cool, because that doesn’t pay for my wife’s meals or for rent. That mentality doesn’t provide for my family.  I like to think of myself as a hunter. I’d rather shift the idea from being a starving artist to being a hunter. You kill what you eat. You go out there and get it done. And if you don’t, you’re the only one to blame, not the world. That’s what I’m trying to do. I don’t want to buy into the starving artist mentality.”
With this attitude, his dreams of traveling and creating murals around the world aren’t so far fetched. Wend’s art has already taken him to places including San Francisco, New York, and Brazil.  People can currently find Gouveia’s art locally displayed at Augie’s Coffeehouse in Riverside, as well as one of his murals right outside of the same building.