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article imageOp-Ed: Animator believes dream of a studio on 'The Plaza' will come true Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Feb 22, 2016 in Lifestyle
Sonoma - Walt Disney once said, "We are not making cartoons here, we are making art." And a comment like that is not lost on someone like artist and animator Carlos Gomez.
"My dream goal is to have an animation studio right on the plaza," Gomez told this reporter. It would be something were tourists and locals would be able to see animators at work in the window.
When I said to Gomez isn't that a bit far fetched? He just smiled and said, well, I am working toward that goal right now."
At present he shares a work-space with Nancy Dome, a Curriculum Development Specialist with Epoch Education. Like Gomez, she too has a vision. She founded Epoch to offer online courses, workshops, coaching, and webinars that provide individuals and institutions with the training and resources to create an inclusive culture that enables every person to reach his or her full potential.
Dome considers their meeting a "happy accident." She explained, "over a year ago I was working from home and office space at the plaza was too expensive." Yet as unexpected fortune would have it, thru a friend of a friend, Dome was able to find a work space two blocks from the plaza.
"Even though the space is affordable and I got much more space for the money. I realized I needed a tenant to help pay rent. But I also, Dome said, needed help from someone who could design original art for my website and put something together that would make Epoch distinctive."
Carlos Gomez and Julie Arntz at the plaza (or some refer to it   The Square ) in Sonoma. Gomez is ai...
Carlos Gomez and Julie Arntz at the plaza (or some refer to it, 'The Square') in Sonoma. Gomez is aiming to establish an animation studio on the plaza, something like Disney has.
Courtesy of Julie Arntz
And as it turned out Carlos just happened to be there, literally a situation of being in the right place at the right time. "In just two to three days after we met, I get an email from him. Carlos made outstanding original designs for me. Seriously, he just nailed it," she said.
Dome was so impressed with his work that she took one of the designs and made it into a poster. Not just any poster but 'the poster, signature art piece that Dome will use for Epoch for a while. She enlisted his services and now Dome is among the very first of Gomez' clients in town. "I believe he will absolutely accomplish his goal of an animation studio on the plaza," said Done. "And, why not! He's talented, smart, energetic and he is kind. Dome added.
While as client/landlady, Dome is more than impressed. Gomez's girlfriend Julie Arntz is a more realistic. "An animation studio is broad, leading into many things." With degrees in graphic design & interior design, she mentioned that with today's technology animation opens doors to many things. "Animation can be a graphic that's moving, like for a web site. It can be for commercials, film," she said. The applications of animation is wide.
A native to Sonoma, Arntz is the anchoring force that beckoned Gomez from the Los Angles area to the Valley of The Moon. A skiing accident brought her back to her parents home in Sonoma to recuperate.
"Carlos and I dated when I was working and living in the City. Well, let me back track a bit, she said. We met in LA 10 years ago. But we did not date and become close until three years ago, when a mutual friend re-introduced us. I left LA in 2008 to take a job in San Francisco. Carlos would commute back and forth from LA to the City frequently. But the skiing accident was an unexpected set back. He came up here to Sonoma to help me and stayed," she said.
Gomez considers himself to be very lucky and uniquely blessed. His ruddy good looks and easy-going charm puts everyone at ease as if he could have grown up surfing along Laguna Beach or La Jolla.
My first impression was that he was part of the millennials generation who grew up in Southern Cal. But he confessed "I hit past the 40." And as he talked about his journey there was something more formidable to him than that easy-going 'just flew in from LA' impression.
Commercial retail space on the plaza (or  the square  as some refer to it) is at a premium. This blo...
Commercial retail space on the plaza (or 'the square' as some refer to it) is at a premium. This block as of this month Feb. 2016, is home to two wine bars, a restaurant and an upscale boutique woman's clothier, and of course, as seen here an upscale shoe store.
The second story commercial space available has a view of the plaza almost bullseye center where old...
The second story commercial space available has a view of the plaza almost bullseye center where old City Hall is, now a visitor's center for Sonoma.
"I am originally from Chicago, he said and everyone in the family I come from, it is all about work and professions. You either work for yourself owning your own business or you are a professional, like a doctor, lawyer or a professor."
"Both my parents felt that having artistic talent was okay, as a hobby said Gomez. But having more conventional and professional career goals were much better." He confided that initially he took career paths that pleased his parents, like pursuing a degree in psychology and pre-med, so they would not worry. "But the computer arts bug bit me early on so I received an AA in Advertising Art and Computer Design as well as a BFA in Media Arts and Animation." Yet, he did spend more than a year as a psych-technician at a Chicago hospital, trying to fit in his parent's wishes. Still, Gomez knew in his heart, the creative path was the way to go.
Because of his computer skills, he landed a job at a Chicago advertising company and while there he excelled working with a new designing software program from Adobe called Flash. "As a program it's much more than what people might expect. It's where animation and programming come together to create truly immersive web experiences. It lead me to design web sites and online software for some really big companies."
This was a door that lead Gomez to help make his artistic dreams a reality. Gomez was then able to do more freelance and independent contract work.
As college friend and former dorm mate Jack Kasprzak, explained, "He's had his hands in all sorts of creative projects over the years from Disney's Tron:Legacy website and Tom Cruise's website to his current web comic 'Robot-n-Aliens' and now 'The Process Projects.' (Since dating Julie Artnz) Carlos has always joked about the idea of having an animation and creative media studio on the Sonoma square/plaza but it seems like it may becoming a reality," said Kasprzak.
Arntz hopes that she can help keep Gomez on focus with his vision. "I think Carlos enjoys working on projects for education, teaching and kids." That is why she senses that his leaving LA and then meeting Nancy Dome and working for Epoch is one of those things that is "just meant to be."
"I believe he can do it, achieve this goal of his, she said. Having an animation studio on the plaza; if anyone can, he can. I say this because he is always working. Just recently he won a contest with Adobe. And, now that he is working with Nancy I know more clients will sign on with him. Carlos is talented and relentless," Arntz said.
She mentioned that Carlos has a field network of friends and associates like Kasprzak who is CG Animation Director at Dreamworks Animation Television.
Kasprzak said, "I think the location of the Sonoma square is such a picturesque and iconic part of town that it would be a perfect location for a start-up studio. I know one of Carlos' ideas was to have a window where tourists and locals could watch animators or artists at work, much like they used to do at Disney in Florida. Sonoma already has such a rich involvement in the arts, said Kasprzak. I could easily see commercial creative content studio finding a home on the square."
And like Disney, Gomez also believes that if you envision it and work toward it, a dream will come true. "If you can understand, here I am in Sonoma in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Me, a kid from Chicago. I am so blessed. just being here affirms in me that my dream is becoming a reality one step at time." To learn more about Carlos Gomez and his animation work visit his web site.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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