Super snapper and snappy snipper Gogy Esparza is the sometimes barnet coiffer, always artist, who has touched down in London to present his debut UK show, ‘El Vacío’, at The Wayward Gallery.
Hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts, Gogy headed for the bright lights of the Big Apple in 2005 to kick off his studies in design at NYU. Throw forward six years and still just 23-years-old, Gogy has plenty to his baby-friendly name: a successful career in hair styling (you can find him scissoring through the crowds at NY’s The Blind Barber), shows popping-up across the globe and a packed portfolio to boot. Collaborating with fellow design duo Nikolai Rose (one half of whom is Jacob, pictured bottom with Gogy) on multimedia extravaganza ‘El Vacío’, Gogy’s goodness has now ventured across The Atlantic and onto London shores, landing at Bethnal Green’s The Wayward Gallery. As Gogy sprung up ladders and pinned petals around us, putting the finishing touches to the showcase, i-D online grabbed a few wise words.
Could you describe your work in five words? Comes from my gut really.
Do you remember the first photo you ever took? Yeah I’m pretty sure I was no more than five or six and I took my father’s camera. I turned on the TV to the channel where previews to pay-per-view porno played and I snapped an entire roll. I don’t remember the cam but it was automatic for sure, I wasn’t that smart.
Tell us about how youʼve landed here at The Wayward… I reached out to Craig Ford and the lovely Annoushka Gitsoff at A Number of Names. Crazy, I met Craig at my show I put on in Tokyo. We had mutual friends and had a coffee the next day at Denny’s in Shibuya cuz I promised I knew a spot with French toast and strong coffee. Anyways, we built a relationship where if I had something I wanted to do, I saw what he thought of it and he’d recommend people I could pass it on to. He put me in touch with Annoushka who mentioned El Vacío to Edson over at Wayward. Turned out I had met Edson before too and gave him Lighttime, a zine I made about a year ago. Small world.
Tell us a bit about El Vacío and its multimedia magnificence… I was inspired by Dalí’s interpretation of Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’, the empty space in the top right of the painting. Dalí referred to that space as ‘El Vacío’, the emptiness, the nothing. My life changed a lot in the past year, I was really naive to a few things. A few personal, heavy things happened and I started encountering and exploring darker parts of life that I thought I could never end up in. Places where my Latin, Catholic morals didn’t come into play. Nothing was black or white, everything grey. A realisation, a coming of age kinda thing, I found a big part of myself and learned a lot from it. During this time, I always recorded or took stills with my blackberry and documented the ride. I reached out to my brothers Jacob and Alan who make up the design duo Nikolai Rose to help me bring the entire vibe to life. We collaborated on all elements of the project and created a book, candle, website and installation. Without them none of this would have happened. They tied everything together and added the glue, the polish to everything. Frederick Bouchardy at Joya Studio is also a friend and we designed a candle for the project that will burn in the installation. Physical Therapy, our friend from NY made a soundtrack that embodies the same aesthetic. Jonathan Vingiano of OkFocus helped us in a big way by designing a website with us to give El Vacío an online platform. Ultimately we wanted to create a monument to this feeling of being in El Vacío, we wanted to put ‘you’ in that same, dark, chaotic place I was when I took the photo and video.
If i-D popped by The Blind Barber for a quick trim what would you do to our barnet? I had to google barnet hahaha, I could give i-D whatever they want, I’m nice!
What role do you think internet platforms like Tumblr play in the development of the contemporary art scene? Now, I think they are super popular, I think people love stories and eye-candy. I think we’re such a click-happy world and want everything instantly. I like Tumblr a lot. I’m not the best with words and so spacey with replying to people, so it gives me a good platform to say what I like.
Are there other artists whose work you admire and aspire to? I admire Jay-Z’s career and I like what Andre Saraiva has done. I really look up to people who have something to say and keep at it. And I also love range, artists who have appeal across multiple demographics and live in the worlds that they’ve come across. Like that guy that can still come back to his hood but hang out with the socialites all the same. I love rags to riches stories and I look up to dudes who make it all the way to the top.
Whatʼs next? We’re going to do El Vacío in New York and I have a huge photo and video project I’m shooting with a bunch of beautiful, amazing girls. It’s called 3, 2, 1. I should finish that by Spring 2012. Kiss my mom and come back to London asap too, I got family here!
Head here for i-D online’s latest on the wonderful Wayward.
Text: Sean Baker
Photography: Rebecca Thomas