INTERVIEW WITH :: GOMER
INTERVIEWD BY :: ZUZU
GOMER is the man with the plan when it comes to the graffiti and street art scene in Austin, Texas. GOMER shares his journey and perspective beginning from the 80’s and onward.
SprATX :: What’s your name, what you write, what kind of art you create, and when did you start?
Gomer :: I write Gomer. I create all kinds of art, I always have. I went to art school for about nine years. For better or for worse, I was able to get my hands into a little bit of everything during that time. The one thing that I’ve always come back to is graffiti. I guess it was my bread and butter because that’s what I am good at. I’ve been doing graffiti since 1998.
SprATX :: How long have you lived in Austin?
Gomer :: My whole life, born and raised.
SprATX :: Would you say your favorite medium is spray paint?
Gomer :: No, not in the slightest. It’s just what I am best at. My favorite medium is clay. I like making weird little toys or objects. It is a lot more tangible. It was something I didn’t try until years after art school. I was asked to be apart of an art show where we built our own action figures. I got really into it surprisingly enough. It was a lot of fun and if I could do that all day long that would be phenomenal. There’s not that much money there, it’s just a hobby.
SprATX :: Tell us about how you first got introduced to graffiti back in the 1990’s.
Gomer :: I grew up in south Austin and graffiti was all around the neighborhood. From what I observed it was mostly the artist, Worm. I ended up in Spanish class with his sister and she caught me sketching one day and asked, “Oh you like street graf?” (laughs) and I said, “yeah”. The next day she brought in her brother’s black book. It was a flip out moment because it was all this stuff I had seen. At the time he was battling this guy called Venom. They were back and forth on a nightly basis all around my neighborhood, so there was graffiti everywhere. It was inspiring.
I first got involved in graffiti with a friend of mine that also skateboarded. We had this mentality of one upping each other. I thought if he can do it, I can do it better. Eventually it became a full time graf life.
We were tagging a bunch in the neighborhoods. We both lived by the train tracks and eventually it became three of us and then five of us. We formed a little crew, mostly friends that were the ‘bad kids’ from our high school. We were tagging, and bombing, doing all that business. That eventually transitioned into meeting some older writers who I was big fans of. They took me to the chill, day time spots, that were still illegal-ish. I got more into developing and getting better.
When I met these older guys, they gave me a graffiti magazine and I thought “Shit, that is something”. When A2M or Addicted to Metal was a big train crew that started in Austin, it was a big deal. It made Austin a destination for like-minded people. A2M were groundbreaking as far as what they did and what they were able to achieve. It was impossible to not fall in love with it at that point.
SprATX :: Tell me about the first crew that you and your friends started and any other crews you’re affiliated with.
Gomer :: Our first crew was called FBE or Franklin Blunt Experiment. I don’t know why this has anything to do with graffiti but it came to be. It’s evolved now to ‘Friends Before Everything’. It’s become nostalgic.
I am still in DAC, and will never stop repping that crew. Predominantly, I am in a crew called Half Dead, or HD. I am also in a group called RGK. They have mostly stopped writing that as well. Everyone has moved away and the ones that have stayed have gotten over it. Again, I will never stop writing that because it’s fun. It’s a good memory and time period.
SprATX :: What’s your experience of the graffiti scene from the 80’s up to today?
Gomer :: My knowledge of the 80’s is limited to what I have absorbed from listening to older guys talk. I was maybe 8 when the 80’s ended so it’s kind of over my head.
The 80’s paved the way to what we have now.
Starting around ’96 was when I really started paying attention. I was downtown, in the campus area and exposed to Pause and Debt. Those guys were big influences on me. Pause came to my school for a hip-hop day and did a throw up thing on the chalkboard, real sneaky-like. I realized who it was by seeing his tags around. It was the first time I saw an older writer and put a face to the work. That was a big deal for me.
From there, what brought me further through the 90’s was the artist, Broke, who now goes by Briar Bonifacio. He took me to through some tunnels and I learned weird random things and tricks from him. He introduced me to DAC.
SprATX :: Talk about your opinion of the graffiti and street art scene now.
Gomer :: It’s definitely louder. It’s all subjective though. Seeing it now, it seems to come so easy for everyone. I am not going to hold that against them in the slightest. It stings a little bit, it’s hard to do from what I remember. It seems so accessible now, but that is amazing. That is not a bad thing, at all. The bad part about it being graffiti is the lifestyle, the fumes… I am not physically able to participate the way I use to. Plus aging, being tired and not wanting to climb on things makes it difficult.
SprATX :: If you could meet any artist, who would it be and why?
Gomer :: (laughs) That is a crazy question. It’s one of those questions where you need a group of people. Then ideas would come to you because you’re spit balling.
I would like to meet an artist from the past. I would probably get the most out of that. Caravaggio… he seemed like a bad man, that would be cool! He stabbed people…(laughs)
SprATX :: What is your favorite thing about Austin?
Gomer :: Friendliness amongst strangers. Southern hospitality does exist here to a certain extent.The hidden things are the best part of Austin.