We had the pleasure of working with Fran Gomez de Villaboa to photograph our Pride 2022 ‘Daddy Chill’ Collection. This year’s Pride Pack, along with the limited edition Pride T-Shirt, 'Daddy Chill' Bucket Hat and 'Daddy Chill' Dad Hat illustrate an unconventional family photo. As a fashion and art-based photographer and activist based in London, he’s obsessed with humanity and its ups and downs - which is why he’s driven to depict people, cultures, and matters in need of representation.
Gomez de Villaboa was born Queer and is the youngest of a big catholic family from Rota, Andalucia (South of Spain). He believes there’s beauty in every single person and his aim is to connect with his subject and help to bring a real and bold portrait of them, enhancing details and poetry that may not be perceived initially. Which is why he was the perfect person to partner with this year.
We feel pretty lucky that we've gotten to know Fran over the last few weeks, and we'd hate for our fam to miss out on the feels.
What is the meaning of family to you?
Family means many things to me. But I would say family is about connection. But also intimacy, commitment, honesty, vulnerability and empathy. As the youngest and only queer child of a big Andalusian catholic family of six, I experienced a less than traditional family dynamic. When I was born, my parents were 44 and 47 and my siblings were 19,17,11,9 and 5 years older than me. Because of that, I didn’t feel connected to them in a lot of ways because of the age gap. Recently, my siblings and I are becoming closer to each other especially since I’ve begun to be 100% myself with them. I feel lucky, because I know that not that many LGBTQ+ people can say that. I think I was able to connect with my blood family along with my chosen family as I grew into myself and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
How has the idea of "family" shifted through the years?
At one time, family was only considered your blood family and relatives. And that was really the only choice people used to have, even if they may have been toxic. Now, I think people understand that family is made up of people that relate to you no matter where they're from and are there for you, during your high and lows.
Do you remember the first time you smoked a joint?
I don’t actually! But I do remember the first time I got high. I wasn’t really a smoker and my friends were, so I was jealous. I wanted to try the high without actually smoking a joint. So I bought eights joints worth of hashish (Morocco was a close neighbor, so it was quality stuff) and baked the most delicious cake with grated apple. I went to the beach and cut the cake into 13 pieces for 7 people. We started out being really disciplined and committed to only eating one piece… but that didn’t last long. Needless to say, chaos ensued. We loved it! The memories I do have are great ones, although I’m sure I didn’t think that at the time. A few years later, at 23, I finally caved and started smoking joints.
Do you think Queerness and Cannabis have a connection?
I think everything feels a bit against the rules when you grow up queer, so to me, there’s definitely a connection. A lot of times as a queer person, I feel we grow up while being told that what you are and what you feel is a sin, and that there is something wrong and bad about you. But being brave enough to go against everything you have been taught and be yourself is an amazing and empowering thing. To live and to love someone or something that brings you joy, no matter what people or governments think, is a great thing. That might be being queer, or smoking that sweet sweet grass. There is only one life, so look after yourself and do what you want.
Does Queerness influencer your art?
I wouldn’t say being queer just influences my art. I would say it’s my greatest inspiration. My work is about humanity and the connection I have with it. I am passionate about people and especially if they are part of my community. A community that is peaceful and vibrant. I believe there is something to learn from every single human. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Either way, I believe we’re all special and important and I’m excited that my art gets to be a reflection of that.