Name: Gabriel Gomez
Currently lives: On the top floor of a brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, with his girlfriend.
Claim to fame: Mr. Gomez is a commercial video director for fashion brands such as Nike, North Face, Dr. Martens and H&M, known for his encyclopedic knowledge of New York’s subcultures. Through his production company Crooked Letter, he connects international brands with local talent, whether they be unsung dancers from the Bronx or electronic musicians in Brooklyn. “For H&M, I used Zach Crumrine, a local musician I love,” he said. “He was a classically trained violinist specializing in digital music production, blending the two aesthetics together in dynamic ways.”
Breakthrough: After graduating from LaGuardia High School in Manhattan in 2009 (along with classmates Azealia Banks and Zazie Beetz), he spent a year at SUNY Purchase before seeing a job posting on Craigslist at DD172, a short-lived media collective founded by the entrepreneur and record producer. Damon Dash in TriBeCa. “I got a ten and left,” he said. “This was the rise of the Canon 5D and digital SLR cameras. I learned all the new elements of modern video and film technology.” At age 20, he directed digital ads for Best Buy.
Latest project: In February, he premiered his first full-length documentary, “Rosehardt: Live at National Sawdust,” which examines the work of Caleb Eberhardt, an emerging Brooklyn R&B musician and actor who performs under the name Rosehardt. Like many artists, Rosehardt’s burgeoning music career was derailed by the pandemic. “It’s Covid through the lens of an artist, which I haven’t seen yet,” said Mr Gomez, who co-directed the film with Alice Plati. “I’ve seen medical films and social films, but we wanted to tell the story of our community’s emotional struggles.” He is currently shopping the film at festivals.
Next thing: Mr. Gomez opened his own production studio and took over the 1,600-square-foot loft adjacent to his Williamsburg office, where he now has eight employees. He is also making a book of photographs taken by Ms. Plati that capture youth culture in New York City right after the 9/11 attacks. “Many of these kids went on to become photographers, designers, and hip-hop artists,” he said. “It’s this short period, pre-iPhone, when kids weren’t glued to their phones. It smokes blunts in the park. It runs through subway tunnels. It’s all the things we did as NYC kids that I don’t think are done anymore.”
Call me: mr. Gomez is an advisor for everyone, an audio app that allows users to connect with experts for a five-minute one-on-one counseling session. “Aspiring entrepreneurs and artists can come to me for advice,” says Gomez. “There is a need for mentorship and camaraderie to support the ever-expanding freelance community.”