Max Emiliano Gonzales



Max Emiliano Gonzales, also known by their artist name “GEMS”, can be classified as an activist, art educator, muralist, graffiti writer, curator, and much more. Originally from the Southwest side of Chicago and raised in Latino communities, Max brings a unique perspective to Pittsburgh and their Garfield community.


Max was brought to Pittsburgh in 2012 to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s Fine Art program on a full-ride Scholarship. By 2016 Max had graduated with honors, secured multiple positions with the University, and was arrested as Pittsburgh’s most wanted graffiti artist. Rather than let the notoriety of their graffiti identity dwindle, Max has gone on to develop a career from it as a practicing artist, muralist, curator, and art educator.


Max has presented as a guest artist, lectured, and run workshops at locations including The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Winchester Thurston High School, Pittsburgh CAPA, Propel Schools, The Carnegie Libraries, Youth Places, Assemble Pgh, and The Environmental Charter School. Max is also a member of Hemispheric Conversations Urban Art Project, the Uptown Arts Council, and the Maxo Vanka Educational Programming Committee.


Lately, Max has become most well known for their spray paint Murals and community-driven Mural events. As a full-time muralist, Max wishes to use their identity and vast knowledge of the arts to serve the public and brighten the walls of any community they may be invited into.