Episode 32: Failing Fast (w/ Natalia Gomez)

Hey everyone. I hope everyone is enjoying fall. The weather in Zhuhai is finally not unbearably hot and sticky. I have been trying my best to learn Chinese and it is kicking my ass, although I notice I am easing in it a bit better than others as I was lucky to grow up listening to Cantonese and being forced by my parents to take Saturday morning Mandarin classes as a child. Thanks mom and dad. I have also been traveling quite a bit on weekends. So far, I’ve been to Shenzhen, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. I hope to eventually make it more north to Shanghai and Beijing.

Anyway, today I have a fun episode to share as I am speaking with Natalia Gomez. Natalia was born in Columbia before her parents moved to Virginia. Natalia completed her BFA at Carnegie Mellon University right before I began my graduate program, but Natalia stuck around and continued working with and within the Pittsburgh arts community. Natalia is a visual artist working primarily in sculpture and photography. Much of her work uses the visual language of basic contemporary building materials – sheetrock and pine 2x4s – to explore form, labor, and the body’s relationship to space.

I’ve known Natalia for quite a while as she was my neighbor the whole time I lived in Pittsburgh. I still remember fondly of spending many evenings with Natalia on our buildings rooftop talking and drinking the night away. At the time of our interview, Natalia was working for the outreach and education program at the Carnegie Museum of Art but has since made a shift towards a few other areas. She recently told me she finally came to terms with keeping her day time job separate from her practice. For our conversation, we delve into what failure and success means to us individually, how one comes to accept a name, outreach in art institutions, and weddings. Our conversation goes all over the place and it reminded me of our rooftop conversations. I hope you enjoy it.

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