Rich Guzman, a.k.a. Goose “The Goose” Gooseman

Typically, interesting things don’t happen to people like me, but that’s fine. You want to know why? Because when you’re the kind of person who, typically, doesn’t have interesting things happen to them, you’re forced to develop a keen appreciation for people who are interesting — and not just interesting, but good and kind and funny and compassionate and innovative — and you hold onto them for dear life. It’s good to have people around you who inspire you, at the very least, are good for a laugh.

For me, Rich Guzman is both. We met when Rich took a job at my former place of employment and became the first and only person to shadow me during my stint there. At first, he was an awkward, quiet kid in a knit hat, but after a solid hour of discussing Brad Neely comics, music and bikes, I could tell he was a good egg.

And as it turns out, Rich, a Pratt Institute grad, happens to know his way around a sketchpad. When our common dream of finding an internship at a letterpress company didn’t pan out, we decided to content ourselves by joining an in-the-works ‘zine, a brainchild of fellow co-worker and co-conspirator, Dan Jacobson. Many a night has been spent at Dan’s apartment drinking Wally’s Hut, listening and dancing to records, brainstorming, telling stories and occasionally venturing to the finest proprietor of Asian cuisine in the Lower East Side, The Golden Forest.

On the night of Thursday, January 21 – Friday, January 22, Dan, Rich, me and our good pal Schuyler celebrated Rich’s 24th birthday in such a fashion. Shortly after midnight, I sat down with my friend and aspiring young illustrator Rich Guzman, affectionately known around these parts as The Goose, to find out what he had to say about life, art and roller coasters.

Rich, Rich. Is it okay if I call you Rich?

That’s fine.

Today’s your birthday. You’ve been 24 for 14 minutes. How do you feel so far?

I feel exuberant, hopeful, filled with good feelings and surrounded by good people, which is ideal.

In less than 60 seconds, sum up the first 23 years of your life.

I was born, I was a kid, I had a lot of interesting experiences, I was awkward around girls, I moved back to New York [from New Jersey] and I never looked back. And what’s that, 40 seconds?

It’s been like, 15.

Yeah, I had a dog. I liked that dog. Buddy. He was very close to me.

What was the best experience of your last 24 years?

I mean, every day is better than the last, recently. Today was a good day. Yesterday was a good day.

Why was today a good day?

I’m here.

Where?

Oh, yeah, I forgot… I’m here in Dan Jacobson’s apartment. Dan is an awesome person. I’m seeing [the brains behind The Acorn Archive] again, who I haven’t seen in weeks, probably a month, and I’m filled with so much joy, my head’s going to explode.

Let’s turn the tables for a second to your artistry. Tell me when you started drawing and why.

The earliest that I can remember… having drawn something was on a Light Bright box, and I drew little these little characters. Basically, their entire head and torso were combined into a large circle. They had only two sticks for arms and two sticks for legs, and they also had helicopter, like, propellers on their heads, and I just had them kind of flying around the box. I believe that’s the earliest drawing that [I did].  Aside from that, I used to draw in my… What were those books called? The golden books?

Yes, with the golden spines.

I used to just draw in the [margins]… I would just draw, like, a Ninja Turtle into it. I was really into Ninja Turtles.

Of course you were. Now, as a 24-year-old, where do you get your artistic inspiration?

Actually, it comes from anything. I spend a lot of time daydreaming. It’s really been a problem throughout my life, but I feel like it helps in terms of, I really have no shortage of ideas. As far as acting upon them, I mean, that’s a whole different story. But I’ll see something, or hear about a story, and have an idea about it… and also work something that’s happened to me [into it]. I like a lot of stories to be told like they’re very familiar, something that’s easily relatable in the sense that I know it personally. I feel like those are the best kinds of stories.

Can you give me a recent example of that?

I did a drawing about three months ago. The one of the people walking through the woods, which was actually based on a dream that I had. It was a little strange. I was walking through a forest, and it was actually the same forest that I had been [to earlier in the day]. I had been in Boston [New York], and we went to a park — me, and my girlfriend and her family; I had been visiting her family. I had a dream the night after we walked through that woods, and we had spent the entire day doing it, so you know, you have a dream after a day of activity involving something you’ve never seen, kind of like when you spend a day at the amusement park, you still feel like you’re on a roller coaster after. [pause] Are you a fan of roller coasters?

Absolutely.

You feel like you’re still on one. You close your eyes, and the first thing you see is the tracks going down. So I had a dream about that. In the hike, we were running into a lot of people coming back from the path that we were on… And for some reason in the dream, they were all completely blanked. They were like voids, they were like these little black hole-ish things walking through a space. I feel like if there’s something very real that happens to you, you’re the best person to describe it. It’s nice, because I feel like everyone has their little story to tell, because they can only tell it in that way, from their perspective.

Why do you think people can relate to a drawing like that, even if they haven’t had that dream?

I mean, I just kind of like to have everything have its own personal perspective on it. Even if I were to take a story that was truly someone else’s and do it, I would do it in the way that I heard it and interpreted it in my mind.

Final question: You said you were hopeful earlier. What are your greatest hopes for the coming year, both peronsally and professionally?

Professionally, I feel that I would like to manifest more of my ideas into something physical. It doesn’t really have to be a drawing. Like, I could scribble on a street sign. I don’t really want [an idea] to linger in my mind more than it already does. [music starts playing in the other room] Is that a phone?

No, that was Bittersweet Symphony, and that’s an amazing song. I don’t care what anybody says.

That was somebody’s ring tone. Schuyler’s ring tone.

Oh.

Just professionally, I would like to complete writing a lot of ideas and stories that I have floating around and really be able to tell them effortlessly. I feel like I kind of have a lot of hesitations about [my art] based on what I feel people will think about it, or what they’ll think about me as an artist, or if they’ll try to pigeonhole me or something.

What do you want to do personally?

Personally, personally… Um, I mean, personally, a lot of the things that I would kind of set as goals for another year have already really happened. Like meeting a lot of very awesome people. And getting work a little more steadily. I kind of feel like I’m ready to really to put my foot down on the gas pedal, so to speak.

If you were to go to my site and read an interview comparable to the one I’m about to write up for you, whose interview would you want to read?

Anybody?

Anybody.

[thinks for a moment] Dan. Why not?

Good answer.

All drawings by Rich Guzman.

For more information on Rich and his work, go here.


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One Response to “Rich Guzman, a.k.a. Goose “The Goose” Gooseman”

  1. theyellowdesk Says:

    Great interview. Just so you know, I’m always available for a long-distance interview if necessary.

    Please know this: The Confederate Love Letters blew my brains out. Totally awesome.

    Please also tell Rich his artwork is lovely.

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