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Designer Spotlight: Gabriel “Gobspeed” Medina

Gabriel Medina, better known as Gob, is a graphic designer / filmmaker / photographer who has an affinity and capability to bring work to life. Through these means, Gob’s distinguishable yet ineffable story-telling and imagery, leads the viewer to examine a new perspective between the duality of what is seen and what is felt.

Qornerstone: Where are you from? Where are you located now? How old are you in your mind?

Gob: I’m from the SF Bay Area. More specifically the East Bay, and even more specifically than that, San Lorenzo, a tiny little village like fifteen minutes south of Oakland. After spending a couple years in London for school, I’m back in my hometown in the house I grew up in. Partly due to covid but mostly because I’m trying to save money since the cost of living in the bay is ridiculous. In my mind I’ll always feel seventeen; angsty and restless. Old enough to know but still naive enough to remain curious.

Q: Why “gobspeed’?

G: I started using Gobspeed in 2016 after running through a bunch of different artist names. I was really into playing on words at the time and still am today I guess. The name came from my name ‘Gob’ (even though my real name is Gabriel) and the word Godspeed. The name kind of has a few different meanings. I was eighteen at this point and was really into this fast-paced lifestyle and also driving fast in my car with my friends so I felt connected to the ‘speed’ part. On the other hand, I really liked the meaning of ‘Godspeed’ as a word. I’ve always read the word with a nostalgic tone and it almost seems sweeter than a simple ‘goodbye’. I guess at the time I felt like I was starting a new journey myself.

Q: Do you remember what initially got you interested in design and how that transitioned into your more recent work with film?

G: I got into design through photography. When I was fourteen my oldest brother left home for college and left his camera behind. I began taking it with me everywhere and had a natural affinity for capturing moments that I didn’t want to forget. That visual exploration eventually led to design shortly after that, before I even knew what design was. I remember that same year asking for Photoshop for Christmas and making these really terrible illustrations and edits (lol). Also, since my brother left college there was an empty room in our house so I kind of used it as my own little creative studio; making little sets and experimenting with lights and props. From the very beginning, photo/film and design have always been intertwined. It wasn’t intentional, just purely the result of experimentation.

As I got older, I began to transition more towards design but my passion for photography and film never went away. I was still freelancing as a photographer and videographer and I would even say most people know me more for my photography and film than my design work. My background in design undoubtedly influenced my recent work and film. To me, it acts as another layer of storytelling.

Q: Where did your initial inspiration for your short film, “strawberry emoji” originate from? How did it transition into what it ended up being as a whole?

G: Strawberry Emoji was honestly such a crazy experience. It’s almost hard to put it into words without sounding crazy. The inspiration for the film really came from a deeply personal place. It was the result of coming to terms with the end of my youth and entering the so-called ‘adult world’. I was really trying to explore non-traditional forms of visual narrative and thoughts about truth, reality and self. The film is intentionally vague to allow viewers to come to their own conclusions as opposed to having an autonomous narrative. I shot the film in my hometown with three of my close friends who are also designers/artists: Diangelo Cuevas, Kyle Perey, and Jordan Macapagal.

We shot the whole thing literally in two weeks while I was home for Christmas break. Shooting the film was a journey itself and was the most fun I’ve ever had making anything. It felt so electric, raw and real. The script changed a few times while we were shooting too which is kinda funny to think about now. We had such a small budget so a lot of the film was made possible through favors from friends and family. After we finished shooting we pulled like two all nighters editing and then had a premiere at my house for friends and family. The next day I hopped on a flight back to London!

Q: Your work evokes strong intra-personal connections. Are you spiritual? If yes, what does ‘spirituality’ look like to you personally?

G: I would say I am spiritual. Spirituality to me is a general awareness that we perceive as reality that is not even close to all there is, but merely a single drop in the ocean of what our existence is. It’s also about believing in a high power and having a relationship with it/them. I grew up going to church almost every Sunday, but when I was out of church for a bit my spirituality really grew.

Q: What do you see yourself producing and experimenting with inside / outside the realm of your work in the near future?

G: I see myself exploring different forms of story-telling. More specifically music. I want to create a visual album really badly, so I’m hoping that happens one day. I also want to officially put out a magazine. I self-published two while in school but want to do a larger issue that’s more wide-spread. It’s been a dream of mine for a really long time.

Q: If you had to decide between knowing when you were going to die, but not how, OR knowing how you were going to die, but not when, which would you choose? Why?

G: They’re almost equal to me, they both have good sides and bad sides. I guess I’d choose when I was going to die. That way I could make the most out of my life before I went, also so I could plan my own funeral? I don’t know. But I do know if I were to die in like a week or something I would not be at work right now!

Q: Do you have a specific goal you’re reaching towards at the moment? Or are you trying to just let things be as is?

G: I’m always reaching towards something. To me, progress and getting better at things keep me going. I’m trying to get better as a designer both technically and conceptually. I want to master the programs and tools I use so that what I see in my head can manifest into something tangible more accurately. I’m also trying to get better at guitar and be consistent with healthy routines. Taking care of yourself is a full time job and sometimes I feel like it gets pushed to the side to fulfill obligations we have, for me at least haha.

Q: How have you found the most peace within the last year?

G: Hmmmmmm. Still working on that but I think I’m getting close. This past year is the longest I’ve stayed in one place for a really long time. I feel like one of those spinning top toys that’s slowly coming to the end of its spiral. For whatever reason, everything now seems so serious and seems to matter so much more. It almost seems like it happened over night. But that could just be unnecessary pressure that I put on myself. I think some parts of peace are related to acceptance and there’s still a few things that I’m working to accept and embrace. Once I get there I think I’ll feel more peace.

Check out Gob’s page to stay updated on his latest work. Or merely to see some transcendental pieces. ☄️ Stay tuned!!!

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