It is not everyday that you turn on your television and gasp at the painting on the wall in the background of a show because you recognize it as a piece of work from someone you personally know. That is what happened when Pleasanton Express Editor Sue Brown was watching NBC’s hit TV show “This Is Us” and saw a piece of art that reminded her of a Pleasanton alumni. Michelle Carmen Gomez, a now resident of Los Angeles, California, has a quirky appreciation of life and all it has to offer an individual. The 48 year old artist is back in her hometown roots of Pleasanton during the Christmas holidays and stopped by the Express to talk with me about her life, her work and her accomplishments, including her paintings in “This Is Us”.
“I realized very early in my life that I was born to create art,” said Gomez, “I live my art. My subject matter derives from what I love and admire in my world.” Her aim is to create work that can be revisited and rediscovered, work that fuses itself to the viewer. In her artist statement, she says, “art should serve the psyche in the same way that music serves the listener”. Gomez is currently working on producing a documentary called “The Flow State”, which is about accessing the divinity within. “When I say that it’s more like finding your best self,” she said, “I feel like we really need to reconnect with what we really know through meditation and dream interpretation.” For her film, Gomez is focusing on what it means to “be in the flow”, commonly known as “being in the zone”, and how everyone connects to it differently. She believes people in every day life can access it too, not just artists, athletes and musicians. The documentary will focus on a narrative side to humanize it and make it more fun for viewers through her own personal learning experience of the flow state. While she is in town, Gomez plans to interview locals for the film as well to keep away from the “east coast/west coast” theme. “I really want it to sound like it comes from America. The middle is very important; I grew up here. I understand how [it] works and what’s important to them,” she said. There is no set date for when the documentary will be released, but Gomez is confident that it will be sometime next year.
When it comes to the flow of life for herself, Gomez says she just goes with it, “I have no idea where the next thing is going to come from or what the next thing is going to be, but it sort of just finds me.” It has proven to be true as when she first graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism, Gomez started out working for a news network in Austin and eventually moved to L.A. She had a few bumps in the road as she turned down what she thought would kick off her career back then with Entertainment TV. “It would have created a platform for me, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Later I realized I would have been such a different person had I gone that route. I would have been so focused on the external and how I am perceived to the world through looks.” Gomez took a different route in her career in L.A. and began substitute teaching to allow her room to focus on her art. After that, she began private tutoring for Hollywood celebrities’ kids such as Denzel Washington. “It was the best job because it paid well and I was able to buy the equipment I needed to experiment,” said Gomez. Once she bought a camera, she went out to New York and took a couple of photos, then came back and showed them to Denzel. “He told me that I was all set and that I should do something with them. When someone famous says you need to do something, you have to do it.” Gomez took her photos to a gallery and they immediately bought some of her photos. From there her career kicked off and her art expanded over L.A. leading to some of her artwork being displayed on TV shows.
“I’m with this gallery and what they basically do is sell my work and they rent it out to television and film,” Gomez said, “The ‘This Is Us’ people were really interested in my work and bought my pieces.” Viewers can find her work all over Kate and Toby’s apartment as well as Toby’s office on the show. While she has not met any of the actors or actresses, Gomez is friends with the director, Ken Olin, who starred in the TV show “thirtysomething”. Many of her works can be found in many TV shows such as Glee, New Girl, Two Broke Girls and NCIS.
Gomez has an appreciation of the younger generation as they are more open to expressing their feelings and trying out new things in life. “[They] just have a different way of viewing life,” she said. She encourages everyone young and old to continue doing what they love and have a more open view on life. “I love that I’m discovering as I go. There is so much to get out of life if we just sit back and appreciate everything it has done for [us], good and bad.”
Gomez will be in town until the end of the month. If anyone is interested in a photo session or purchasing any of her work, you can check out her website at www.aboutmichelle.com or check out her Facebook page “Michelle Carmen Gomez”.