After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1982 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, his path was set. Apprenticing with established Filipino artists in painting and printmaking, he was lured to paper early on, examining it from every perspective, and challenging himself to adamantly question “What if?”
In 1991, helping his father Geoffrey S. Gonzales establish a handmade paper mill they called GSG Industries, he exalted in the free rein he now had in testing the aesthetic sensibilities of a single sheet of paper.
Acting as Creative & Marketing Director, he developed previously unfathomable concepts in paper-making which gave birth to ingenious production techniques that soon gave their company the distinction of being one of the major leading sources for handmade paper. This led the company to set up another paper mill which, to date, uses innovations to create unique machine-made paper by reconfiguring everything traditional paper machines normally do.
From paper-making, Tony went into its conversion when he set up his own firm, A Greeting Card Company, which does exactly as its name suggests, that is, make greeting cards. Tony’s highly curious card concepts arrested the attention of a number of European investors who recognized this exceptionally cunning upstart and tapped Tony to do commissioned works for product design. In particular, he was sought, together with select European paper artists to make a limited edition calendar, singular in its consisting of different paper collages. This extraordinary work has consistently been winning in a prestigious calendar design competition in Stuttgart and Tokyo, the latest of which was this year. He is now explicitly recognized and hired by companies worldwide to design for them as well as branding his name.
Since early ‘90’s, Tony has consistently won the sought-after Katha Award, a select award given to designers and companies who show excellence in arts and design achievements.
From 1995 to date, Tony has been one of the few preferred merchandising consultants of the Department of Trade’s CITEM (Center for International Trade, Expositions and Missions) for its most major trade exhibit, the Manila FAME International Show.
In year 2000 Tony co-founded what is now considered the leading design group in the Philippines, Movement 8. This is the country’s foremost group of designers who manufacture their own eclectic furniture and home accessories creations known worldwide for its unparalleled creativity and cutting-edge perspective of design.
Since 2002, Tony has been commissioned by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) as its trade show curator in Germany two times a year. Last year also at the Frankfurt Messe, Germany, he curated with another co-founder of Movement 8 and a distinct furniture and visionaire, Budji Layug, the Asean Fusion. This forum brought together leading Southeast Asian designer-led companies in one common platform. ASEAN Fusion remodeled the traditional to cater to the modern tastes and lifestyles of today’s ‘global’ generation and to uplift the image of Asia as a formidable design force to be reckoned with. This somehow changed the image of Asia as solely a low-priced souvenir source.
In 2003, Tony co-conceptualized Manila NOW for the Philippine International Furniture Show. This concept brought into the country internationally-acclaimed designers such as Karim Rashid, a modernist designer and Gaetano Pesce, one of the world’s pioneers of modern design.
In 2004, Tony’s Genie chair was distinguished with the “Good Design Award” from Japan’s leading product design critiques.
In 2005, Tony, having been recognized as a capable curator for the European Chamber of Commerce, was handpicked by the major German trade show, Frankfurt Messe, organizers to curate a special project dubbed as “Asian Living”.
In 2005, he held a special exhibition on paper together with two other acclaimed artists, Impy Pilapil and Tes Pasola, entitled Papel ng Papel (Role of Paper) at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.
In 2006, he bagged two other “Good Design Award” citations from Japan for his Melon chair and Mosaic lamp.
In 2006, he was invited to lecture about his design philosophy at the Kaywon School of Art and Design in South Korea for its International Design Forum.
This year, in October 2007, Tony is scheduled to launch two highly anticipated paper exhibitions in Galleria Duemila and Alliance Francaise de Manille.
In November of the same year, Tony with Tes Pasola are slated to hold another exhibition with their favored medium, paper, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Tony Gonzales’ achievements as a designer are not difficult to comprehend when one sees his body of work that exemplifies the best of Filipino creativity and innovation. Tony attributes his success to a clear knowledge of who he is: an artist to the very core. Whether finding time to exhibit at art galleries to self-expression through art pieces that he paints for his friends and clients, over and beyond his visionary triumphs, Tony never departs from his artist’s soul.