Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Alouishous San Gomma
Biscayne World, 2014
Created by: Ahol Sniffs Glue, Michael Arcos, and Marnie Ellen
Video, 10 min., 57 sec.
thank you for joining me
SAN GOMMA: Thanks for having me on here
RAMOS: i saw a video you did - i think it was for Borscht Film Festival two-three years ago - i really loved it
it was the story of you getting into a scooter accident and then having to take the bus
and all the characters you met on the bus
I remember the demon character wearing a cross
SAN GOMMA: Yup, that movies called Biscayne World - it's been a on going project with a bunch of different types of branches coming out of it... i things the character you are referring to is named Buntu.
Buntu's inspired from a lady I ran into on the bus from little Haiti. Very interesting but I didn't understand her
RAMOS: ah yes - actually Buntu is in the video
there is a very apparent interest in the subject of drugs
in general, in your work
can you talk about that?
SAN GOMMA: Yea, I am not drug free.
I don't mess with all of them but the ones I dabble in make recurring cameos throughout different types of my work.
I don't condone drug use in any way. But it's real, they are out there and readily accessible.
My brain is sharp and all over the place so I consider myself my own personal doctor.
RAMOS: self prescribed
SAN GOMMA: Yup. I know what's best I guess
RAMOS: and as your personal doctor - what symptoms are you diagnosing?
SAN GOMMA: Ha. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Sometimes I gotta just make myself right. No specific symptoms I guess.
Anxiety is prominent so Xanax holds me down
Currently in jimmyjohns
RAMOS: buen appetite
Xanax is a pretty serious medicine
it has heavy withdrawals
SAN GOMMA: Definitely. All drugs are easy to abuse tho. I am very disciplined
RAMOS: i believe you
what makes you life so anxious?
or were you born that way?
SAN GOMMA: I've been anxious... I feel it's the heavy expectations I set on myself creatively.
RAMOS: so the internal expectations are causing anxiety that you choose to medicate
if you are the cause of the expectations - could you not stop those instead of medicating the result?
SAN GOMMA: As you can see with the variety of stuff I sent you. I want to do it all. I don't want any one part of my art stuff to be neglected so I push my self hardest and it leads to more anxiety.
Hope that makes sense
I like the pressure tho. Any day could be my last.
So many people have excuses for days on why they don't create or stay busy. I know how to roll with the punches pretty well
RAMOS: i get the pressure and i get the desire to be accomplished
i am not sure i understand the part in which you are medicating something you are a direct cause of
and not because i haven't been there - but because when i was there, for me, it was an excuse to medicate cause it was what i wanted to feel
SAN GOMMA: I feel you. Not many people get it.
That's why I don't impose it on anyone but it is why I put it in my art sometimes
Definitely. Without a doubt. I drink a beer when I want a beer. And I can deal with anxiety and just stay away from Xanax but I like the feeling and it allows me to work easier.
Some people like a cup of coffee and cheese cake. That ain't me
yes - to each it's own
so putting this in your art
let's talk about that
because it can be many things
from a transparent expression to a cry for help
SAN GOMMA: It could be. I am constantly taking pictures with my phone to build up a arsenal of images I chop up on my phone to collage together to make powerful creations that may make people feel weird or repulsed.
So drugs, sandwiches, and anything else around me become my medium in a way
I'm definitely not asking for an intervention so if anyone's trying, don't even think about it
RAMOS: i didn't think so - and i deff wouldn't
that's not by place
nor is it my place to assume one of the other
i am just curious
SAN GOMMA: Ajhahahahaha
It's all good. I just like powerful imagery too. It's like people that love drawing weed leaves. Weeds pretty much legal already. It doesn't visually slap people in the face. At least not anymore
RAMOS: for me - the image is not as powerful as the concept of living in alternative realities
or do you see your reality sober the same as your reality when medicated?
SAN GOMMA: I see my daily life as reality. Like food and water, my substance consumption is like the WD-40 to a old machine. I can run and perform, but
why not be smooth and sharp?
If you got a headache why not pop Tylenol?
RAMOS: so you are making reality smooth and sharp... how does that alter your work? or would you produce the same if sober?
SAN GOMMA: Well. Reality is what is happening. What I'm feeling is my reality. I can choose to push forward and create with the feeling I have now or get on a level I feel more comfortable. My work is dictated mainly by a cause and effect of what I encounter. Like the amount of time it takes to respond is dictated by the sandwich in front of me and typing with one hand instead of 2
Different moods lead to different times to work on different projects. I have outlets for all my moods
SAN GOMMA: I'm really enjoying this conversation, so I hope my answers are making sense to you
RAMOS: i am enjoying this as well - and yes it makes perfect sense - you are going with the flow and experimenting with the same flow to see how it affects your experience
RAMOS: nice - well done
i see you are on Biscayne and 29th
out of the closet is across the street
the video we began the conversation with - was an amazing experience of Miami
RAMOS: a lot of your work is also about a personal brand with the closing eye graffiti and jewelry - can you tell me more about that?
SAN GOMMA: I live on biscayne and 30th. You are correct on my location... (good eye)
The eye has become a symbol I have branded a lot of my work with as well. It all started with the way I would draw characters. All line work. The half closed drowsy eye is in a numb state of going with the flow. It's never asleep
I started pushing the eye more and more as a simplified version of the characters and to represent the work via a symbol that is recognizable.
RAMOS: so would you say it it more about spreading the presence of you, or perhaps your value system, rather than a particular piece of work?
and by work, I guess an artistic practice in an academic format
since spreading a brand can very well be art
SAN GOMMA: I think the branding side and reinforcing my style and presence came from my roots of graffiti and the pursuit of always maintaining a recognizable presence
Some of the other stuff I do doesn't have the eye at all. Like my work with the Huffer Collective or some of my digital pieces. But from time to time I will sneak in a eye to try and subconsciously remind people of it. It's all tied together some more some less. It's a reminder that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want
RAMOS: wherever you want
in fact you are everywhere in Miami
and i think of you when i see the drowsy eye
is that what you want? for people to keep you in mind?
SAN GOMMA: That's the idea. To be up everywhere.
It's nice to know people can and will see my stuff when there are out here and I'd they see me out of Miami and don't know me to automatically associate it with Miami