Frame of Mind: Leticia Gomez - The Bend Magazine

Frame of Mind: Leticia Gomez

Inside the mind and visual world of multimedia artist, Leticia Gomez.

photo of K Space artist, Leticia Gomez

Leticia Gomez photographed in her K Space studio | Photography by Matthew Meza

Underneath the surface, Leticia “Letty” Gomez is a researcher, hyper-focused “uncreator” and dreamer. As the youngest of seven kids, Gomez’s childhood was marked by sitting around the kitchen table, doodling with pen and paper while her siblings did homework. Later, she would get in trouble for drawing on the wall with a red pen. “I just remember thinking that ‘This isn’t fair.’ So then later, when I was 16, I did a mural in my closet,” they recalled. 

Though met with resistance in childhood, Gomez’s adolescence revealed a necessity to comprehend their mind’s inner workings through art. This led to obtaining an associate’s degree in studio art from Del Mar College, a bachelor in fine arts in drawing and painting from the University of North Texas and a master of arts in consciousness and transformative studies with a concentration in dream studies from John F. Kennedy University. Through years of human subject proposal research focused on dream states, Gomez came to understand that creating from a fringe awareness is actually her process for deconstructing or “uncreating,” as they call it, the obscure subconscious. 

Those moments around the kitchen table, they found, acted as the catalysts for her to lean into surrealism as an artistic calling. “Since the beginning, it has been surrealism, that whole movement, where there is now nonexistent realism that is also portrayed — like half in, half out semi-dream worlds,” Gomez said about the through-line in their body of work. Her pieces consistently deal with shadow play in an outer world and depict figures pulled from indigenous creation stories, myths and reflections from dream work readings she studies.

In high school, one of Gomez’s instructors took a hands-off approach to teaching, encouraging students to create in the flow of things without a push toward any specific medium or goal.

That approach of having intrinsic motivation is the paradigm of creating, which is that there is no real control. There isn’t conscious control either,” they said. “I’m very much creating from this blind state of un-creating, being hyper-present in the moment.”

Tapping into a flow state is one of Gomez’s biggest strengths. It is marked by blaring music, lots of dancing and even practices like packing a lunch to ensure the following day will be free of interruptions. These routines, often synonymous with the naivete of childhood, tether her to a colorful, robust world and prevent her from being tainted by the unavoidable negative experiences of adulthood. “There’s always going to be a positive from a negative. And I’m going to use that to create work from it,” they emphatically stated. 

 Tuning out the world to create from an autonomic state is critical to the process. “It is a total surrender … I don’t have to think about anything,” Gomez said. The colors and images that form on the canvas are the result of being in that fringe awareness, hyper-focused on deconstructing any and all mental musings. One could even argue that in those flow states, Gomez isn’t thinking about “nothing,” but rather they are thinking about everything, all at once. 

The images in her work, reflective of dream states and questions about belonging, will never be clearly defined. Gomez is drawn to the obscure and the unknown. When asked what success looks like, Gomez said with a glimmer in her eye, “It’s happening right now.” 

Though they cannot express the necessity for artistic autonomy enough, collaboration with other artists, exhibition bookings throughout the year and most importantly, the ability to share resources and encourage budding artists have been highlights of the artist’s career thus far. Gomez is also one of 40 artists selected in Texas to collaborate with Meow Wolf on its upcoming Houston location.

“It’s strange to think that the thing I got in trouble for the most as a kid is the thing I get paid to do as an adult,” they said. With that in mind, it’s fair to say Gomez has always been attuned to tapping into that flow state, creating simultaneously with reckless abandon and discipline. With each new work, she’s making things make sense, while always leaving room for the obscure and the curious.

Next up in the “Frame of Mind” feature is June Ainsworth.