He is a Former Managing Editor of the Stork in Segovia and is now the winner of two awards for the IE Foundation Prize in Humanities. Juan Pablo González, originally from Mexico, is a bright third-year student in the Bachelor of Behavior and Social Sciences here at IE University, and today he has taken the time to chat with us about his creative path, background, ambitions for the future, and what drew him to the art of poetry.
First, could you share a unique aspect of yourself that most people need to be made aware of?
I think I’m very lucky to be in such an international environment. Growing up back in Mexico, I never thought I would move abroad to study. And when I was 16, I had the amazing luck to move to Madrid, and my life changed 180 degrees. So, I think that’s one aspect of my life people don’t know about me, and whenever I make art, music, or anything creative, I think it’s a huge step up from what I used to do when I lived in Mexico. Living in Spain has provided me with many experiences which fuel my creativity and artistic process.
At what point did you first start exploring writing, and how did you find your way into the world of poetry?
I started writing when I was a kid. I always loved to write, but it was just for me. Then, when I was 13, I took a creative writing course, which led me to the world of writing and expressing my emotions in words. At that age, I sometimes found it hard to express my feelings out loud. However, I feel that when you have time to sit down, there’s a flow of words, and you keep writing and, in the end, when you get out of yourself and look at what you did, sometimes it can turn out into a very good piece of work.
What fuels your creativity? What do you believe serves as the driving force behind your work?
If I had to choose, I’d say three main aspects. The first is people, like my social connections, family, friends, and people I enjoy being with. The second is nature, and the third is, in general, art. Everything I find beautiful: architecture, painting, classical music. And those three converge in Segovia. I spent my first year of university in Segovia. There, I had the opportunity to live in a shared flat, so of course, I bonded with many more people than I usually would, way more than I did in high school. I discovered a community of my own and took advantage of the Creativity Center, where I would play the piano almost every day. All those people and all the nature-inspired me, like taking the walk from campus to the Creativity Center, where I would often remove my headphones and listen to the birds, so yes, it was an incredible experience.
Also, Segovia is a city full of architecture, from the aqueduct, and the cathedral, to many other historical and beautiful buildings. I’ve always appreciated it, but I’d never had the opportunity to experience it before moving to Segovia. So, having that experience, I think it transformed me, and to this day, it still shapes my creative expression.
When readers engage with your pieces, what emotions or experiences do you hope they encounter? What do you aim to evoke in your audience?
My work is very nostalgic. It has a nostalgic quality of the past, of times of personal and emotional growth, of a moment that we enjoyed and is no longer there, but the absence of it doesn’t make it worth any less. Nostalgia, love, and the past are the emotions I most explore in my writing.
Beyond your literary pursuits, do other professional interests or hobbies captivate your attention and time?
Yes, of course, the main one is music. I started taking piano lessons at 14 or 15, and I feel that all the creative effort I had previously put into my writing went to music. So, playing music was, for years, my main creative outlet. I started playing the piano proficiently, I had a strong connection to classical music, and I even started composing my music without formal education. I never took composition classes, but this was another way to express my emotions. So, music and composition are my two main artistic and creative outlets besides writing. Throughout these past years, I’ve also had the opportunity to have my music featured in a couple of short films and recitals, something of which I’m very proud.
In professional terms, I consider myself a person who enjoys business, and I want to focus on consulting when I graduate. I think consulting is similar to the way one solves problems in one’s life. Like in school, when you are presented with a math problem, And if you don’t know anything about it, what you can do is try to find solutions to the problems. In consulting, you find solutions that are the cheapest and most effective to implement. Another of my professional passions is marketing, which I think is naturally a very imaginative endeavor and a very good way for me to channel my creativity. So, yeah, those three, in terms of music, composition, and career, in the future, consulting and marketing.
Delving into your academic choices, what inspired your decision to delve into the realm of behavioral and social science at IE University?
So, I would like to go back to a question you asked me before, which is the things that shape my artistic output. People. People, in the end, are what make up every organization, every company, every neighborhood, and every city. And so, when I was 18, I felt that understanding how people behave, think, and react to different stimuli can open the doors to anything you want to do. The more I study behavioral science, the more I believe it is omnipresent, and you can apply it to anything that has to do with the human experience, which, in a way, encompasses every dimension of our world.
Looking ahead, what aspirations and plans do you hold for your future endeavors and personal growth?
I would mainly like to continue with writing and composition while I continue to make meaningful friendships and connections and prepare for a career in marketing or consulting. Before I decided to study at IE, I considered going to a conservatoire to music school. For a while, I strongly thought about it, preparing pieces for the exam as a repertoire, and I did consider it: should I be a professional musician? Should I become a classical or concert pianist? Then, I decided it wasn’t the right path for me, as I thought there were other ways I could channel my creativity. Nowadays, I’m happy I’ve come to a business-oriented path, as I find that more and more companies in any sector are thrilled to include the social sciences and the humanities in their core values and activities, which gives me an edge given my unique background. So, what I hope in my future is, of course, to join a professional consulting and marketing career, which is something that day-to-day motivates and amazes me while continuing to create and share my art.
As you can see, Juan Pablo is a young man with much promise for the future as he continues his path as a BBSS student on the Madrid campus and a lifelong, devoted artist. Below, you can find two of his poems that won a prize this year from the IE Foundation.
Petricor (first prize)
hay en el cielo cúmulos de nubes tristes
y en la calle charcos de lágrimas
donde beben perros abandonados.
Hoy llueve, y acaso mañana
quedarán residuos de agua en las calles
(no habrá más que usarlos como espejo).
Ciudad de México, octubre 2018
Si coincidimos de nuevo un día (second prize)
Mi corazón sigue en Segovia, en
esa primera semana
de vida castellana a tu lado
en que intercambiamos nuestra música,
yo Bach y tú Mahler
y esas tardes en que osé abrirme y conocerte
Para luego volver a casa
y echar la siesta
entre tus manos tibias de otoño,
abrazado a tu piel canela.
Ahora (ignoro si por
simple broma cruel del destino)
Tú seguirás persiguiendo una vida más tranquila
y quizás, al llegar la tarde, llevarás tu barca
a la tierra tropical de tu infancia.
Yo me quedaré en la ciudad de los madroños,
acaso cerca de ti pero tan lejos…
Si coincidimos de nuevo un día,
déjame ver de nuevo tus ojos de café manchado
y sentirme en casa,
como cuando nos conocimos.
Madrid, julio de 2022
Cover image courtesy of Juan Pablo González