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 including Nike, North Face, Dr. Martens and H&M, known for his encyclopedic knowledge of New York subcultures. Through his production company Crooked Letter, he puts international brands in touch with local talents, whether they are unsung dancers from the Bronx or electronic musicians in Brooklyn. “For H&M, I used Zach Crumrine, a local musician who I love,” he said. “He was a classically-trained violin player who specializes in digital music production, merging the two aesthetics in dynamic ways.”
Big Break: After graduating fromManhattan’s LaGuardia High School in 2009 (along with classmates Azealia Banks and Zazie Beetz), he spent a year at SUNY Purchase before he saw a job listing on Craigslist at DD172, a short-lived media collective started by the entrepreneur and record producer Damon Dash in TriBeCa. “I got straight A’s and I 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 filmmaking.” By age 20, he was directing 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 R&B musician and actor in Brooklyn who performs under the name Rosehardt. Like so 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,” said Mr. Gomez, who directed the film with Alice Plati. “I’ve seen medical films and societal films, but we wanted to tell the story of the emotional struggles of our community.” He is currently shopping the film to festivals.
Next Thing: Mr. Gomez opened his own production studio, taking over the 1,600-square-foot loft next to his office in Williamsburg, where he now has a staff of eight. He is also producing a book of photos taken by Ms. Plati that capture youth culture in New York City right after the 9/11 attacks. “A lot of these kids went on to be photographers, designers and hip-hop artists,” he said. “It’s this brief window, pre-iPhone, when kids weren’t glued to their phones. It’s smoking blunts in the park. It’s running through subway tunnels. It’s all the things we did as N.Y.C. kids that I don’t think are done anymore.”
Call me: Mr. Gomez is an adviser for Anyone, an audio app that lets users connect to experts for a five-minute, one-on-one advice session. “Aspiring entrepreneurs and artists can call in to me and ask for advice,” Mr. Gomez said. “There is a need for mentorship and camaraderie to support the ever-growing freelance community.”