What He Does: In 2008 Robert Gouner, the photographer who would become known as Goon73, was heavily into riding and building/customizing motorcycles. He wrote a monthly column for a motorcycle website and when the format changed to print he suddenly needed pictures to go with his articles. Since he didn't know any photographers, he started taking pictures himself. Once he's finished shooting all his bikes, he'd discovered a new passion in the process of picture taking. It allowed him a brand new creative outlet and with help of some patient mentors he began his career.
Gouner is heavily influenced by a love for abandoned buildings, horror movies, and pop culture. About a year after picking up the camera he was exploring an abandoned hospital as a possible photo shoot location when he discovered that the bottom floor of the hospital had approximately four feet of mold on the walls of the lower floor. Figuring that if he brought a model to shoot in the location he would need something to keep them all from getting sick, he scrounged up some surplus gas masks. The resulting masked shots became a major component of his future.
"There is something about the anonymity afforded by the masks," says Gouner. "When you combine the apocalyptic undertones and brutality of their original role, it is hard to explain, but it is fascinating to me."
Why He Likes It: "I love the creative freedom that photography offers. My day job is management in a high stress corporate environment. I am an introverted personality and deal with social anxiety on a daily basis. Photography offers me an escape from that stress and anxiety."
What Inspires Him: Decay and ruin, as mentioned before, are big parts of what gets Gouner going. He also has an appreciate of other artists' works, and likes to recreate them with his own touch as he did with Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. His personal hero in photography is our own Mark Bradley, who took Gouner under his wing and taught him the process.
If Not Here, Then Where: "I have been in the Houston area all of my life, I honestly can't imagine living anywhere else. I travel, and enjoy visiting many other places, but Texas and specifically Houston is home."
If Not This, Then What: Gouner also dabbles in abstract painting from time to time, joking that he can't draw a straight line to save his life. He doesn't enjoy it as much as photography, but it's definitely another outlet.
What's Next: "The next big project that I am working on is a collection of images I am calling Coulrophobia. I am hoping to publish a book to go along with a solo exhibition."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.