Today we’d like to introduce you to Le Vanguard Arts Collective, Goldie Lamoar, and BESAME.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Le Vanguard is an arts + music collective that started in the Bay Area in 2015 and first branched into San Diego naturally that same year. The group now stretches across five cities throughout the US– Bay Area, San Diego, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, with over 35+ members who are visual artists, musicians, writers, and curators/producers.
One of the founders, BESAME (Vanessa Nguyen), is an artist born and raised in San Diego and has been producing events (art shows + live concerts) in San Diego since 2015. Le Vanguard’s first-ever micro-festival was actually set in San Diego (August 2015). “The Soundlot” was organized in conjunction with now well-established events group, The Traveler’s Club (SD). We(Le Vanguard) booked artists back then who have blown up in the last five years since the Soundlot (i.e., Saba (Pivot), Duckwrth, Noodles (DJ), etc.). Back then we didn’t really know that we would come together to form a music + art collective– we were just trying to get our art + music out in the world. BESAME, Loady (Have Cooth), and Fooly (Albert Watts) came down to join Lily Nguyen & Jeronie Alcantara (first San Diego LVG members, SD natives + lifelong residents) to organize the SoundLot music festival. We also put on musicians from the Bay Area along with San Diego. It was cool because we were only 24 years old at the most organizing the event, which saw about 800 people in attendance. It was a beautiful cross-regional meeting– BESAME, Lily, & Jeronie’s San Diego friends + the Traveler’s Club SD community celebrating San Diego x Bay Area x Chicago art + sounds.
Since 2015 we have done art shows and live concerts in North Park, Barrio Logan, East San Diego, and Downtown SD at local galleries and bars. Our most notable show, besides the Soundlot, was last year 2018 at Bread and Salt Gallery. It was a fundraiser art show called “Los Suenos Vivos// Our Dreams Live,” for DACA students to organize around Trump’s repeal of the DACA program/Dream Act. We raised 8000$ for DACA related organizing efforts (mostly via art sales!). The mayor of Chula Vista came to support, as well as major members of various city council members (Ammar Campa Najjar= 50th district runner; Christian Ramirez – City Council, Georgette Gomez, Barbara Bree staffer, Mark Campo – 50th district, David Alvarez). (*Not sure if that list is up to date in terms of folks in the office, but those folks definitely either ran at the time or were already in office, and pulled up).
We currently are sharing with the world our 2nd volume of our collective compilation book/zine – “the Spoils.” We recently released the 78 pg perfect bound book this past March (2019) at Good Friday Gallery (Sherman Heights). Our first release for the Spoils Vol. 1 was at Teros Gallery (North Park/East SD). The Spoils Vol 2 features artwork, writing, or spotlights musicians from our collective of 35+ members.
Please tell us about your art.
Because we are a collective, our members have various styles– ranging from illustration, painting, photography, graphic design, collage, music, writing, videography, etc. Currently, our main San Diego based artist is Goldie Lamoar (G.Lamoar). He joined the collective in 2017 while working with BESAME on a collaborative print project in NYC for a streetwear brand called The Janes.
Lamoar mostly creates analog collage. He manually clips images that he comes across in various magazines, ads, VHS or cd sleeves, printed images, etc. Lamoar started doing collage in 2012 when he was in a dark place and used collage as an outlet to cope w depression. I gravitated toward the blade and saw self-healing in it. Lamoar would cut apart images and reconstruct different dreams and ideas from his mind. One of my first collages consisted of images pulled from an Spr/Sum ’07 BAPE magazine w Omarion on the cover, mashed with a Fantastic four comic book with an image of Dr. Doom backhanding Susan (Invisible Woman). When flipping through pages, my brain is skimming through ideas really quickly like “Skrtder der der der!” My mind races, “this image is cool, this one is tight,” I like to pick and choose what images I want and like, and that collection opens up doors in my head with new visions or images to create with the stuff I’m already into.
Lamoar creates art based on the concept of “borrowed time,” which essentially means that all time is borrowed, and is never promised. We can part from the earth at any time, Time is not guaranteed to us. So to create art on borrowed time, I aim to have no expectations with my art, I am simply just making it and putting it out there. Expectations limits self-expression because if you’re making stuff to please people, then it doesn’t come from a genuine place. Everyone is not the same, so what does it matter how people react? Creation without expectation is key. Borrowed time is more valuable than money, so I would rather spend my time creating artwork without expectations with my borrowed time because I’m limited in time here on Earth.
BESAME is an illustrator, painter, and designer. She mostly creates detailed paintings and loves working with water. Her favorite medium is watercolor paint but has most recently been dabbling with Sai Japanese brush markers with additional brushes to create a greater watercolor feel. For bigger paintings, she likes to use acrylic paint because she can add water to the paint for similar watery effects. If she’s drawing, she only likes to illustrate in ink. I love the permanency in it all– ink, paint. My love for water probably comes from a natural draw towards water– growing up in SD near plenty of beaches, growing up in a fisherman’s family (my uncles would always go fishing and bring home fresh fish), and being a Pisces! I love the effect that water makes on my artwork because water is so delicately unpredictable, like myself. It’s also easy to work with and portable. I’m always traveling, and on the go, so it’s nice to bring my work with me and paint anywhere I want to– whether at the park, the beach, or the club!
The name BESAME is a homograph, in English reading “Be Same” and in Spanish reading “Bésame,” and is a homage to the Taoist concept of duality– understanding that life has two sides to it, and that this duality is inescapable. She often incorporates mixed messages or puns in her artwork to embody this concept.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
We are still struggling ourselves, but so far it helps to reach out to folks and support one another, especially when trying to organize art shows together, sell artwork, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions often. Having a side hustle is a real thing, and it’s quite normal for us to have multiple jobs to sustain our craft. Sometimes when starting, it takes pouring in more money to create artwork, than it is to reap from it. But as we continue to create, more people have taken note of our work, and have been supporting it more and more- whether going to shows, buying art or merchandise, or just reposting/sharing with friends online or via word of mouth.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
We currently have some work in the Le Vanguard books (The Spoils Vol 1 & Vol 2) on sale at Good Friday Gallery in Sherman Heights. 566 19th St, San Diego, CA 92102. (330) 612-8504.
We also have work for view and on sale on our website: www.levanguard.org.
We are all open to creating new pieces and commissions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/txt 510-363-5955.
We are planning another group art show in South San Diego this Fall 2019.
- Website: www.levanguard.org
- Phone: 510-363-5955
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/levanguard
- Facebook: facebook.com/levanguardarts
- Twitter: twitter.com/levanguard
Kevin Jones, Youthful Kinfolk, Kristian Contreras, Valentin Saqueton, Quynh Tran, Ramon Lopez, Tony Becker, Eda Yu.