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Señor Gomez, how you do that?

Señor Gomez Speaks on Mas'

Mr. and Mrs. Gomez
Mr. and Mrs. Gomez

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Staff Article
Interview Recorded: May 15, 2005
Posted: June 12, 2005

We have to give that fella Minshall credit

There are so many things to say, for instance I use so many nice things. Wire is not the only material you could make into an art form. You could make things from anything. For example, Easter this year I made pan in church, and Allyson the queen told me if I had taken it around I would have gotten a prize. The rabbit was beating the pan and the back of it was the window of the church with the tainted glass.

People keep all the portrayals even at the University. The first taste of wire bending they got from me was because of a time while I was there; they were staying too long to bring wire. I went around to all the different rooms in the dorm and I picked up all the wire hangers and I made a sailor in motion going down the road. John Cupid was with me because he took me up there and he had the keys to go in the people's offices. It was a Sunday and he opened the offices and we put it on the table; it was Fire Man going down.

When the lady opened her room and she saw it, she bawled out like something happened. She said, "My Lord look what this man has done." The people came running to see what was going on. They asked who made it and John said, "Well, he was waiting on the wire and he got the hangers." That was how they started calling me a sculptor. They said I am not a wire bender ... that I am making figures. So they suggested I forget wire bending because that is for buildings, making foundations and columns. They called everybody. This is how I started making all these different tributes. I made a tribute to Jason Griffith, King Sailor and so on. Dr. Millard was introducing me to Peter Minshall and Minshall said, "But I know Gomez, he is one of the only fellas who is keeping the art form going, and you have to make one for me too." They carried a guy to make some of these things before me, but all of them were sleeping. What I mean is, they were in a box lying down because they could not stand up. Thank God I can get a balance with them. If you notice this Fancy Sailor, look at how nice and balanced it is. It has shoes and everything, but when you look at it, it has balance, so when you put it on a table or anywhere, you cannot go wrong and it is in motion. The lady had made a request for me to make some wire figures.

What I am saying is, the fella figures were sleeping in a box, and so when I come and I made these things, it comes like people coming down the road. Every year I go I make a miniature something of Carnival for them, so they have a whole museum of things and she just changes it around. In my room I gave her some towels of Trinidad and they are there, and she says nobody must come there; she said it is Gomez's room. I made all kinds of things for that lady and covered them with rubber. She said "Bush" is a robber. There is a thing with Bush talking about the war, she said, "Doh mind he; he is a robber." If there are any functions around the area, she would display them. And do you know money come in? I would hear, "Gomez go down to Western Union you have three or four hundred US dollars coming down." I told her, "No, no that's yours." In all, I would do things for nothing. I am not saying that for the praises, but I feel good. With this Fancy Sailor for you all ... if you see the amount of fancy things I have to put on it. You need to get something good and I want to say it in the best way I could, rather than buy something I prefer to make something. When it is finished you are going to love it. It is the long time sailor. The Lord gave me this eye, and I am using it for the full length.

Years ago before you join the band you were playing with, you would make rounds to all the different bands before your band leaves. So it means that you are coming out seven o'clock in the morning and your band is leaving eight o'clock or nine o'clock, so you could go by the different bands. That doesn't happen any more. Harold Saldenah was the only band that used to leave seven o'clock, and you on the road.

A reporter is coming tomorrow to interview me, I was also on Channel Four last week and it was nice. I invited a fella at my home once to a Christening, and he asked who was Gomez. I do not go boasting about what I could do, I am not that type of person. I like what I am doing and I am doing it. During my lifetime there were ups and there were downs. I married my schoolmate and we had our little falling out like everybody else, but that made life sweeter; and that is Lynda, the one and only. All my children and them used to play big mas'. What I will like to see is that we who are still around, pass it on the way it is supposed to be passed on; no shortcuts.

A time I was doing a mas' in St. Kitts and they called it a 'Rum Jumbie' in a Peter Minshall style with the movements. The guy said, "Gomez you could work cardboard; you could make king and I want a piece made." I told him I am a Mas' Man and I could make anything. I worked with cardboard but not at that level. I wasn't afraid of that. It was nice cardboard he went and bring. There was another guy who was there and we started cutting. I told him to cut the first one, and then cut the rest. He cut it. He was a cabinetmaker too. The man cut all and he started to mount up. When 'CC' came in the evening he said, "Gomez you did that fast." I told him it was the fella; I did not take any credit.

The sponsors were White Rum from St. Kitts; so we put the bottle in the mouth and we had it balancing and the same approach is like Minshall. It was an explosion; sensation in town when people saw this big thing coming down the road. We have to give that fella Minshall credit; they could say what they want. Most of the people who talk about him do the same thing: the same approaches for the Carnival, the same movements and so on. He came up with the ideas before them. We used to have movements in mas', and although they were primitive, it used to move - we made things move. I also give him credit too because he always talked about behind the bridge. Carnival is bigger than all of us. What I would like to see is Carnival run smoothly. We have two bodies, which are the Big Mike and they and the NCBA. We should merge together for the improvement of Carnival. What are we looking for? Not the things for the improvement of Carnival? Well all right then. If it is two bodies it should be better, because you will come with your ideas and I will come with mine and we go on. But if we have to be pulling and tugging it isn't good.

I am looking forward too; as we go along things will work out nice for Trinidad and Tobago. They learned from us and they are going nice. But now we want to stall here and there; we do not have any hurdles to jump with Carnival; we cleared that already. The people out there are running on smooth grounds and they are doing it good. Let me tell you one thing, the people out there are paying for what they want. I made a thing for a university and when I told the lady how much it costs, she said, "I am not paying that." I thought she was bargaining, but she said, "No, with your profession you have to look for money, give me a true price." What I want to tell you honestly is, anybody who comes, that is how I charge them. I like to say, "Thank you, call again or come again", rather than I sell you something big and when you mention me, you say, "Nah, who that man? He eh do the thing too good." I work for a reasonable something so that I can live, have a little money to buy food or something. It doesn't make sense you make a big thing and they only use you once. No, I am not going that way; I am doing it from my inner feelings out there.


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