GOGY ESPARZA INTERVIEW

GOGY ESPARZA (NYC)

‘NEW MONEY’

Presented by
CHAMP
at SO Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

 
Friday April 17, 6-9PM

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INTERVIEW: CHAMP
PHOTOS: SATOMI YAMAUCHI
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CHAMP: What is NEW MONEY?
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GOGY: What “old money” is labels people. Specifically in the art world, people who weren’t born into money, a new generation trying to break in. I’m new money and I realize that, “old money” people don’t ever let me forget it, and I’m owning that about myself now. 
 
On the other hand, I feel like “old money” is another form of “old school.” A set of rules, a code that has roots and tradition. I knew what it was like before the Internet. I’m 27 now and was a part of the generation that didn’t have the facades of digital personas. I look at kids and some of my contemporaries now, who want to tote the image of one from the streets, but deep down I know they’re not from the same cloth. I look at them as a current manifestation of “new money” too. People who weren’t born into the rules or the system. 
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Tell us about the various elements in NEW MONEY.
There’s performance to sculpture and embroidery – why do you choose to express your ideas through various mediums?
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It’s the way these things need to be said. A photo or video is 2D and I’ve been needing more for a while now. Texture and physical presence demand certain emotions.  And I need to grow, challenge myself and change. I want the same interaction from whoever I’m speaking to.
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The concept of your work NEW MONEY is based on your family background.
Why did you choose to tell this story now? 
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I think my family background and how I came up is always present in my work. It’s what made and keeps me strong. This voice keeps getting louder because I’m annoyed by what I see going on. Especially in New York. My close friends and I all feel the same. 
 
We’ve worked a lot at expanding n diversifying our platforms. Now that we have a few more ears, our message is the same, just hardened, refined with even more purpose. We want to tell our story and unite it’s spirit with those who’ve felt the same pain. It’s time for the art world to feel how we do, to make the effort to understand.

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Was there a particular reason why you exhibited this work now in Tokyo?
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Yea because I think Japan loves New York City culture, and I wanted to rep the east coast properly. In the Western world, Japan is famous for its appropriations of other cultures, and we are fascinated by that. But what I love about the Japanese is when they reference different identities, they put in the time and have the respect to do it right. Given this opportunity, I want to shine light on what’s real and what’s not. 
 
I want to criticize the affluent’s appropriation of the hood and hipsters who think they’re down. But then also speak on the hood itself. I celebrate the romance the hood has with money, murder, sex and mayhem, but I also scrutinize it in the same breath. And I’m speaking about it because we all need to talk about it.
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Does artwork generally speak for itself, or is it a challenge to be an emerging artist in New York?
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It’s hard. It’s uphill as fuck. Very misunderstood, by the streets and by the gatekeepers in the art world. References to Basquiat or Kehinde Wiley are the only ones that always get brought up, but it’s because they’re a few of the only American minorities to really broke through in Contemporary art, and they’re painters. No one born from Ecuadorian immigrants, raised in the American inner-city has penetrated the art world and has been immensely successful. I’m a first generation Latino in America, who watched his parents give their all to give me a better life. I try to take advantage of that every chance I get, I got a scholarship to NYU, never sold drugs, stayed away from shenanigans for the most part. And I know that my work has to have the depth and references to the masters in order to be accepted by the art world. There are rules.
 
But perhaps to our advantage, our upbringing, our stories give us identity, a unique one I think. Especially my brother Shawn Powers. We’re not related but we grew up real similar, our hearts and mission mesh.  So luckily, we have each other and a few other friends, the Beautiful Boys we call ourselves, that’ll keep fighting. We’ll be aight, Lord willing.

 

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You run your own gallery / space in NYC called Magic.
How is it to run your own space and to work with emerging and exhibiting artists?
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It’s perfect, it’s an extension of this mission I want to achieve. Having a physical space and gallery on Canal street to create a community and support authenticity and special people. I learn from everyone I get to work with, I try and be as vulnerable as possible in order to absorb the most and better myself. It’s a lot of work and hard to maintain a balance, but it’s everything that’s worth it.

 

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Tell us more about Magic in New York.
Who has previously exhibited there, and what challenges have you faced whilst running the space?
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We’ve been able to show with Peter Sutherland, Weirdo Dave, Nick Sethi, Maggie Lee, Luke Barber-Smith, Jean Shear and my brother Shawn Powers. Money is always the problem right :)) The work is always strong and the coolest people are there but we need the key holders who can help us get to the next few steps.
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From NEW MONEY, what would you like the viewer or audience to take away from experiencing your exhibition?
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I want to lure you with the same things that seduced me growing up. Cars, girls, money, clothes, jewelry. I want to honor the hustle, that tradition of sartorial display. We should celebrate. But I want those who think they know what the hood is about to really analyze and ask themselves if they really live that life. 

Just because you listen to the music and dress like that, doesn’t make you down. 
I want the exhibition to put you in your place, not just negatively. I also want you to realize the beauty in this struggle, in this hustle, not to mock it. And I can mock it or speak on it because that’s where I’m from and am entitled to. And I want us to grow.
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We hope to see you this evening at the Opening Reception.
If you’re in Tokyo, please come by!
Details here.
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