Johnny Tse-Pe Gonzales was born in 1940 to the well-known potter Rose Gonzales. His father Romando Vigil was an excellent painter and was formally married to Juanita Vigil who passed away in 1933. Romando and Rose wanted to get married, however, the Gonzales family wouldn’t let her. Allegedly this riff eventually led Johnny to start using Tse-Pe as his last name.
His teachers were his mother and both his grandmothers. Tse-Pe was already a known potter when he married Dora and they began collaborating on innovative pottery along with Popovi Da and Tony Da. He worked in traditional redware and blackware and used both carving techniques and sgraffito, but he is probably best known for his polished mica slips, green clay and inlayed turquoise with asymmetrical designs.