Juanchi González

JuanchiGonzález.jpg. Juanchi González is a Puerto Rican award-winning self-taught artist who enjoys experimenting with humor in his artistic filmmaking. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

Juanchi González Experiments with Humor in His Artistic Filmmaking

Feature image: JuanchiGonzález.jpg. Juanchi González is a Puerto Rican award-winning self-taught artist who enjoys experimenting with humor in his artistic filmmaking. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

Juanchi González is a Puerto Rican award-winning self-taught film director, editor, screenwriter, visual effects artist, and creative. His masterpieces come from a place of experimentation with his artistic craft while adding a touch of humor to entertain the audience. Ever since González can remember, consuming films has been an escape for him.

“As a child, I always looked forward to going to the movies on Saturdays with my aunt. I just remember wanting to be an actor when I was a child. But then, I started watching certain types of films where I didn’t recognize the actors,” González said. “I was getting to know more about the art behind the scenes.”

He was drawn to what happened behind the scenes of the creation of a movie and started studying film on his own. That implied watching plenty of movies to understand what he likes and what he wants to communicate through his art. González has been in constant pursuit of his art of filmmaking since he was 16 years old, and it’s something he questions himself on how it came through in his life. He also studied theater at the University of Puerto Rico with the intention of doing film direction.

“I never visualized myself doing anything else that isn’t filmmaking. I’d like to have a psychoanalysis as to why,” González said, laughing. “My father was a policeman. My mother was a photographer, which could be on that side. Film was not something present in our home, but I was naturally drawn to it.”

 JuanchiGonzález2.jpg. Juanchi González hard at work. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Juanchi González hard at work. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

For González film is as natural as it is to breathe. He needs film and art to clear his mind from the daily stress of life. He understands it as a medicine that calms you down and helps you move on with life. And in that conception of film as a basic need, he’s found the ability to use it as a multidisciplinary art that stimulates the audience through their different senses.

Film as a Multidisciplinary Art

Whether he’s working on a documentary or a music video, the merging of different artistic disciplines is always present in his work. Currently, he’s working on a documentary exploring a time in Puerto Rico when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) filed the documents of people who were in favor of Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States. The FBI filed the victims’ documents so that they wouldn’t have a record and kept the folders as secret and confidential information.


González’s documentary tells the story of a photographer who created a general document about these people’s files and photographs. Those are photographs that could not be published because they were secret, and the victims were often persecuted by the Puerto Rican police.


In the case of this documentary, González found in his artistic craft the impressive multidisciplinary role that film plays for the audience. This taught him how film can create a multi-sensorial experience on a whole new level that he was not that conscious of before doing the documentary.

“I noticed with the documentary that almost all of the sensory elements can be used in the audiovisual. I was using photographs, music, audio, and text for one scene,” González said. “It was super interesting to see that I could integrate everything in one scene. You could read, see, listen, and, on top of it, listen to dialogues through the music. That combination was a bit disturbing but very interesting at the same time.”

The disturbing yet interesting combination is part of his general experimentation with film, which serves as a medium where he can constantly learn new things through its different audiovisual genres. One would think that González’s movement through documentaries and music videos would have no common ground, but for him, these visual genres feed each other.


González applies the same methodology he uses in music videos for his documentaries. It all starts with doing initial research and brainstorming his ideas. He writes down his ideas on a notepad so that he can come back later for inspiration. Whenever he’s working on a music video, he tries to create everything from scratch by listening to the songs, lyrics, and overall mood of the music he has to portray on the screen.


After having a clear idea, he creates the music video treatment, which González likes to polish in a sharp manner so that his crew is crystal clear about everything. The treatment includes the story, how the story will be told, what equipment they’ll use, the color palette, and suggestions for locations.

Embracing the Imperfection in Music Videos

Once all the technical aspects are ready, González goes into action. Through the years, he's learned to embrace change and be more agile in his process. At times, being a director means solving issues that come up in the moment, and González does it with his editor's mind. During the creative process of a music video, he visualizes in his mind how he'll edit and paste the shots he's doing.

“I’ve noticed that perfection doesn’t exist. Perfection is relative. Something that is perfect for someone else might not be perfect for you,” González said. “So, sometimes, you can embrace imperfection and create. Maybe some things will come through as perfect. They can, somehow, create a perfection that you hadn’t even noticed.”

Embracing the imperfection is part of his style with his music videos. He portrays visually appealing stories that take you to another world but leave you wondering what’s going on in his cinematic universes. Creating that sensation of “what’s going on” is a constant in his storytelling through the development of his characters.


When he’s working with Puerto Rican artist Álvaro Díaz, González is given the freedom to creatively elevate whatever idea Díaz brings him. They speak about movie references and creating characters around Díaz. Whenever González has to create these secondary characters, he’s very aware that Díaz has to be the protagonist and that the story revolves around him.

Fatal fantassy.jpg. Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Fatal Fantassy” music video featuring Tainy. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Fatal Fantassy” music video featuring Tainy. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

When creating very short visual stories for artists like Díaz and Guaynaa, González is faced with the challenge of conveying a substantial narrative in a short period of time. For González, it’s the greatest challenge of his artistic craft.

“You can create a feature film and have two hours of footage to empathize with a character. That’s great, but you empathizing with a character in three minutes is a super challenge,” González said. “The challenge is on how to create a story or sequence that you can identify with the characters. That’s where you struggle with the visual medium and the characters. So, you know that you don’t have enough time to say a lot.”

One of the music videos where González was challenged with the narrative structure was Díaz’s “Ramona Flowers” song. The story ended up being completely different from what was initially written in the music video treatment. When González was editing the piece, he noticed that it would be more interesting if the video started with Díaz being beaten up and finding his way to give a CD to a woman.

RamonaFlowers.jpg. Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s music video for “Ramona Flowers.” These are the men who appear beating up Díaz at the beginning of the video. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s music video for “Ramona Flowers.” These are the men who appear beating up Díaz at the beginning of the video. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

The ”Ramona Flowers” music video was based on pop culture films “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Fight Club.” The piece resulted in an artwork where both of those movies, some of Díaz and González’s favorite films, are merged together to create a new visual story with a slight touch of humor.

“I took various visual ideas of these movies but created our own story. Instead of him [Díaz] fighting with his exes and the woman’s exes, he comes to this place and finds a lot of people who start beating him up,” Díaz said. “He has to fight these people to get where the woman is. Eventually, it’s a very humorous thing. She forgot to tell these people that he was coming and she’s a huge bichota in Puerto Rico.”

As you can see, there are a lot of film references in González’s pieces. Such is the case in Díaz’s “Fatal Fantassy” music video featuring Tainy. There, they took inspiration from the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” for the concept of a repetitive dream that becomes absurd and surreal. For this video, Díaz’s request was to show things repeating, having no idea why they’re happening, and constantly dreaming about a woman he doesn’t know.

“He doesn’t know where these dreams are coming from and why he’s having this insomnia until the end, when she gets into the taxi with him, and Tainy is the one driving them,” González said.

Music Videos with a Dash of Humor

With Díaz’s music video for his song “Deportivo” featuring Argentinian artist Cazzu and Puerto Rican artist Caleb Calloway, the challenge was in producing the piece during the COVID-19 pandemic. Díaz reached out to González, and they first thought the music video was not feasible because of the lockdown restrictions. Yet, González continued with the production, and Díaz came up with the idea of placing Cazzu’s face on an iPad screen since she couldn’t fly to Puerto Rico.


González was enthralled with Díaz’s concept and based the music video’s story with a vibe from the movie “Natural Born Killers.” The music video tells the story of a woman and a man going on a date, but she ends up being a criminal and uses him (Díaz) to commit the crimes. On a conceptual level, things were easy for González to create the story, but he had to find a way in which Cazzu and the iPad screen face would be integrated into the masterpiece.

Deportivo.jpg. Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Deportivo” music video featuring Cazzu and Caleb Calloway. Cazzu’s face on an iPad screen gives it a touch of futuristic humor. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Deportivo” music video featuring Cazzu and Caleb Calloway. Cazzu’s face on an iPad screen gives it a touch of futuristic humor. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

“The process was very interesting. We had to call Cazzu and I made a very detailed storyboard of the things she needed to film. So, with her team in Argentina, they filmed all these poses and actions I sent them,” González said. “They sent me the video. I edited it for the iPad, and, literally, there was a model wearing a mask. She couldn’t see anything and had an iPad in her face.”

The iPad worked perfectly in the music video and added another element of humor with a futuristic aesthetic to the story that was being told. It’s one of González’s favorite music videos because of the process it entailed and how it miraculously came through successfully during the pandemic.

Another challenging piece he worked on for Díaz was the music video for “Yoko.” The challenge there was more tailored towards the ambition of the storytelling because Díaz is portrayed as aging through time.

 Yoko.jpg. Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Yoko” music video. A young Díaz is portrayed here. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “Yoko” music video. A young Díaz is portrayed here. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

“Álvaro wanted it to be very sentimental. For it to be very nostalgic and we wanted to create some effect that had that nostalgia at the end of the video. We tried to create that story that entails times and spaces where Álvaro is old and young. And we did it through different mediums: digital, film, and Hi8 cameras. Those 8-millimeter cameras from the 90s.”

González’s use of different mediums is tightly knit with the short stories he wants to communicate through music videos. His pieces share a common thread of subtle humor and leaves you with a sense of wonder. It makes you question what is going on and why nothing makes sense, but at the same time engages you in watching the music videos with a sense of curiosity to see what happens.

Inverting Gender Roles in Latin America

Such subtle humor is present in two of his greatest masterpieces: “Buyaka” for Guaynaa and “1000CANCIONES” for Díaz, featuring Spanish artist Sen Senra. In both artworks, the humor serves a strong purpose in González’s visual narrative that inverts the gender roles in a historically sexist music genre like reggaetón.


For Buyaka, González was instructed by Guaynaa to have male strippers in the music video with the intent to change the narrative where women usually are the ones portrayed in a sexual manner. Guaynaa wanted to invert those roles, and González jumped in and was very interested in visually executing that concept.

 Guaynaa.jpg. Frame from Guaynaa’s “Buyaka” music video. Guaynaa and González collaborated to create a video where the gender roles were inverted. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Guaynaa’s “Buyaka” music video. Guaynaa and González collaborated to create a video where the gender roles were inverted. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

“I’ve always had issues with creating scenes where women are sexualized. That’s been going on for a long time and it’s become part of its [reggaeton] videos and culture. That’s always given me trouble because it’s time for us to skip that and evolve,” González said. “So, I thought that the fact that we could invert the roles and feel that now men are a bit more sexualized was more interesting and refreshing.”

And with that refreshing perspective, González added his special twist of humor. It’s a visual story of handymen being hired to fix a woman’s house, but they don’t know anything about being handymen. They only know how to be strippers, and they’re “useless,” as González described them. But they’re great at being male strippers.

“That concept drew my attention, and it was humorous. So, I went down that route of humor and, in the end, even though the house is destroyed, she’s happy,” González said.

She’s happy because she’s sitting down surrounded by men without shirts and living her best life. There’s a certain subtlety within González’s humor that portrays women as secondary characters in control of men in his music videos. You can see that in his music video for Díaz’s song “1000CANCIONES” featuring Sen Senra when the woman in the video comes through as the one in control of Díaz and Sen Senra.


You start off with a scene of Sen Senra wearing a white shirt, implying he’s in a psychiatric ward. As the video progresses, you’re taken to a party in a living room where nothing makes sense. Again, the feeling of “what’s going on” comes through. You’re suddenly seeing Sen Senra ironing clothes in the middle of a party. Nothing makes sense, but that’s because González wants to convey a sense of absurdity through his pieces while also being very blatant with the inverted gender roles.

1000Canciones.jpg. Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “1000CANCIONES” music video featuring Sen Senra. Sen Senra’s scene ironing clothes in a sassy manner is a very mundane, yet humorous image. Courtesy of Juanchi González.
Frame from Álvaro Díaz’s “1000CANCIONES” music video featuring Sen Senra. Sen Senra’s scene ironing clothes in a sassy manner is a very mundane, yet humorous image. Courtesy of Juanchi González.

“Álvaro is great in being vulnerable in his videos. He has no issue with being a vulnerable person, and Sen Senra either. They’re people that overcame that retrograde vision of men and masculinity,” González said. “Whenever I give him [Díaz] these ideas that are about placing Sen ironing clothes, he’s always on board. He likes this thing about changing the stereotypes, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do with these specific scenes.”

The scene of Sen Senra ironing the clothes is such a mundane image. Yet, it conveys a strong visual message in an unconventional manner. It challenges the stereotypical Latin American masculinity portrayed in reggaeton music videos for a long time. It also conveys a new sense of Latin American identity through González’s music videos that are reaching millions of people around the world thanks to the huge global and online platforms of artists such as Díaz and Guaynaa.

“Being a Latin American artist means a lot because I feel we’re at a point in which we’re representing a very rich and powerful culture. I think this global boom that Latin American music and art is having is very interesting,” González said. “I find it very interesting that they’re listening to us and watching us. And it’s being accepted that this vision is just as important as any other vision in the world. Being part of this culture is a privilege.”

To keep up with Juanchi González’s experimental and humorous filmmaking, follow him on Instagram at  @juanchigonzalez or his website.


©ArtRKL™️ LLC 2021-2024. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ArtRKL™️ and its underscore design indicate trademarks of ArtRKL™️ LLC and its subsidiaries.

Back to blog

Recent Posts

 LatinMafiaCostaRica.jpg.

Latin Mafia

Latin Mafia, a sibling band from Mexico, tours globally and plays major festivals. They create soulful music and have achieved great success independently.

Elizabeth Lang
 DiegoMuñoz.jpg. Diego Muñoz is a Chilean scriptwriter, writer, and film critic. Photo by Daniel Gil. Courtesy of Agencia La Luz.

Diego Muñoz

Diego Muñoz is a Chilean award-winning scriptwriter, writer, and film critic. Stories, art, and literature caught his attention at a very young age.

Elizabeth Lang
Ethan Anderson at work

Ethan Anderson

At 22, Ethan Anderson's rich art world spans mediums sculpted by diverse techniques and inspired by a creative upbringing. A true Renaissance man.

Emma Segrest