Spotlight

Feature Gommie, the walking poet-artist

Championed by Ryan Stanier
Visual Arts
The Wick - Artwork, Gommie
Above  Artwork, Gommie
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The Wick - Gommie
Above  Gommie
Interview
Gommie & Ryan Stanier
06 April 2021
Interview
Gommie & Ryan Stanier
06 April 2021
The Other Art Fair founder Ryan Stanier is at the forefront of an international movement that champions emerging artists and provides a unique platform for them to present their work. Stanier founded The Other Art Fair in London in 2011, with a mission to provide a vital global platform for artists to sell direct to buyers and it was here the day before the opening that Stanier met Gommie. “Usually, the day before an opening is a stressful moment for artists who typically work diligently and meticulously to hang their works. Gommie, however, had other ideas! He was laughing, joking and being playful with those who would pass his stand. His excitement was palpable, and I immediately connected with him and it drew me to understand both his work and personality. I admire Gommie for his commitment and exploration of himself. He doesn’t create work for anyone else. His work is sincere and authentic, and he engages the public in a very direct way that is touching and powerful. I hope one day I get to join him on one of his trips and to be sprinkled by his magic dust!”
It hasn’t always been a life full of art. Art literally saved Gommie. He was unemployed and severely depressed back in 2018 and it was during this time that he developed what is now recognised by the art world as iconic, poetic paintings with provoking quotes and truths. Gommie explains, “I use simple words and repetitive images to form a handcrafted visual poem full of shape, life, feeling and colour… I like to find the fun… The lightness. The bounce. The positivity. I like works to be childlike and full of wonder and wit. I adore life. I adore poetry. I write simple phrases with the word ‘poem’ above them because I believe ‘the truth is like poetry, and poetry is f**cking everywhere’.”

Fuelling his imagination and providing inspiration comes from walking. Walking is essential to Gommie’s practice. Immersing himself in the essence of the UK and meeting fellow islanders allows him to write and paint poems on maps based on the spontaneous and honest things people share with him. Always resourceful, Gommie navigates the area with an OS map, which doubles up as a canvas and he uses whatever paint, ink or mud is to hand to capture the spirit of what he sees and those he meets. The result is a dazzling, explosive work of art – covered in paint, doodles and single sentence poems and phrases inspired by the part of the country he is in.

Gommie’s inspiration comes to him from many sources: “poets and pilgrims, artists and street artists and everyone who has ever had the bravery to get out there and do it.” His work is a testament to the joys and tribulations of the people of all walks of life that he has met – their insights, wisdom and often suffering, which he translates into iconic pictures of colour and life. The written word continues to inspire Gommie and it is an openness to this that drives his work. “I consume a lot of poetry, I’m particularly loving Catullus and Sappho right now, poetry is grabbing that moment while it’s there. I find if I think about it too much the poem swims away.”

Reflecting on his biggest achievement to date, Gommie adds, “My biggest achievement? God knows! I like it when teachers teach my way of working. That’s pretty much the best feeling, knowing it’s being passed on.” This sense of legacy and the impact his work will have on the next generation of artists seems befitting of an artist who so thoughtfully captures the spirit of a nation.

With the art world preparing to open in a month, we wanted to know what we can look forward to. Gommie is currently preparing for an exhibition of his sketches at Daniel Raphael Gallery in October “It’s the first time my sketches are going to be exhibited, so I am thinking about diary keeping and what that means and why I do it. I’m nervous to show my sketches and pages of my diary, which is probably why it’s a good idea. I want the space to be a book of poems you can walk through.”

About the champion

The Wick - Ryan Stanier at The Other Art Fair

Ryan founded The Other Art Fair in London in 2011, with a mission to provide a vital global platform for artists to sell directly to buyers. It has since hosted over 43 Art Fairs in London, New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Sydney and Melbourne and has sold over 35,000 artworks from young emerging artists from across 22 countries. Described as ’The Future of Art’ by The Guardian, the fair has helped to launch the careers of many talented international art stars.

“I admire Gommie for his commitment and exploration of himself. He isn’t creating work for anyone else.”

Place of Birth

Oxfordshire, UK

Education

BA Hons Acting Central Saint Martins


Awards, accolades

Group show at GROUNDED at Daniel Raphael Gallery, London (2020) and has previously participated in exhibitions at House Of Vans, London (2019) and Messums Gallery, London (2019). He has also been awarded the Soho House Mentorship award with Kate Bryan (2019) and Out-Spoken finalist, a visual poem of the year (2019).


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