Get Familiar: Flourboy
Every once in a while you can find an artist who is genuine in their expression. Combing their environment and their craft, seamlessly. Saman Khoshgbari aka Flourboy is one of those artists. Born in the concrete jungle of Tehran, Iran and living in Maastricht, The Netherlands, he loves to create something out of nothing. Constantly chasing whatever is haunting his mind. For now it’s taking pizza to the next level. If you were to put him in a box, he is an artist, creative entrepreneur and a skateboarder. One the eve of his solo exhibition at OBA Oosterdok, Amsterdam, we sat down with Flourboy to get familiar with who he is and where he is going.
When did you start making Epoxy art works?
The last quarter of 2019.
What’s the production process like?
It’s quite hard to make sculptures out of pizza. The problem is that pizza has oil and water. These are 2 components that are an enemy to epoxy resin. The material that I use to pour my pizzas in with. The complete process from baking a pizza to pouring epoxy resin and sanding it, takes about 3 weeks. Check daily on my Instagram to see some parts of this process.
How did you get into skateboarding?
When I was 14, I used to look around on Napster with my dial up internet, after asking my mom for permission of course. This was the time when download speed was about 5kb per second. I saw a very short clip of someone skateboarding at a boulevard next to the beach. Later I figured out that the spot was Venice Beach in Los Angeles. I remember the moment when I saw this, my mind exploded! I was obsessed with what that man was doing on his skateboard and I asked my parents to go and buy a skateboard ASAP for me. After that, I never got off my board.
Who did you look up to when you were growing up?
Jürgen Klinsmann and Ruud Gullit. I always wanted to become a professional soccer player and these 2 guys were my heroes back when I was 7 years old.
What is the creative scene like in Maastricht?
We have lots of creatives with different expertise areas in our lovely city. There is a lot happening, but unfortunately at some point people start to move to bigger cities because of the opportunities they have. Nevertheless we have a solid group of creatives holding ground and creating new opportunities here for future generations.
Which local creatives would you like to recommend?
There are so many, but to mention a few; Ruben Hilkens, Valentin Loellmann, $KEER&BOO$, Floris Postmes, Ohhplinio and Naud Verboeket
Style is key in skateboarding and here at Patta we also believe style is essential.
Why is style so important?
To me the meaning of style is to be only thinking about what YOU want, think and really like. This then becomes unique in the way you express yourself through your behavior, clothing, skating etc.. Eventually I think that we call this “style”. Style is very important because it is who you are as a person or in some cases who you aspire to be.
You have a family pizzeria - how did you get into the business?
Very random to be honest. My brother and I work in the hospitality business for more than 2 decades. So this one day someone walks into the pizzeria, where my brother and I used to work at, and asked the owner if he knew someone to take over his small neighborhood pizzeria. My brother heard the conversation and we bought the place! The funny thing is that we didn’t even know how to make dough. In fact, we didn’t even have a dough mixing machine! So for the first weeks we asked our former employer if it was okay to mix our dough at his restaurant to later transport it to our pizzeria. I wish I had filmed those days, because that would have been some quite interesting documentation. Unfortunately this dates back to when there were no smartphones. As long as I can remember, my brother and I always liked Italian mobster movies; Goodfellas, a Bronx Tale, Donnie Brasco to name a few. There was something funny, cool and sad about them. The way they talked, dressed and it was always about family. This combination was very appealing to us. We wanted to create something and make our own “Italian mobster movie”. Today, almost 10 years later, my mom takes care of finance, my dad makes dough daily and my brother and I run the pizzeria together with a crew of 30 guys. Like a big family from the movies. “La Famiglia”.
I also saw at one point you had a mini ramp in the basement - how was that project?
I’m a very impulsive and straightforward person. When I feel something and think about it constantly, I have to do it! So around 5 years ago, I was very attracted to learning about how the apparel industry worked. So I started a brand and a couple years later I rented a space in the city center of Maastricht to showcase a physical experience. I did this in order to express what the brand stood for. I wanted to create a “new family”. There was a basement in that space and I kept thinking about making a mini ramp in there. So I made one. It was very small, steep and the ceiling was very low. But we had fun skating it.
We saw your movie where you skated from the bottom of the Netherlands all the way to the top - how was this journey for you?
This journey was interesting in various ways. I got tested mentally and physically. To be very honest I wasn’t prepared for this “battle”. But it taught me that our bodies are capable of way more than we think. Years ago when I was doing a road trip through the west of the U.S. I came across a local skate shop and skateboard museum. The owner of this museum did something in his past that really caught my attention. At some point in his life he skateboarded from east to west of the U.S. That was just too legendary for me. Immediately he inspired me to do the same in my own country; The Netherlands. I mean from south to north was only going to be around 400 Kilometers in comparison to his 5000 Kilometer journey. So I shared my “crazy” idea with a couple of friends and 4 of them joined me. Sven and Hicham on their bicycles and Umut and Dimi on a Vespa in order to film our journey. We planned to do this in 7 days, but we finished it in 5. This journey was so simple yet so extraordinary for us. The thing is, we all work and get caught in the “rat race”. Now and then you really have to escape it for a minute. This journey was all about 5 friends escaping the “rat race”. You have to see our small documentary for yourself. It’s quite hard to put it into letters on your screen.
You obviously didn’t roll alone so who did you take with you and meet on the way?
No, I did it with 4 other friends. Honestly I don’t think that I would have completed this journey in 5 days if I were by myself. My 4 friends and our group’s energy really pushed me to go further every day. On the way we met the legendary Didi Taihuttu who set free his wife, 3 daughters and himself from the “rat race”. We met him on our first day after skating a 100 kilometers. That day we started around 08:00 and arrived at Didi’s chalet on a camping around 19:00. We were totally broken. Mentally as well as physically. However we partied until 03:00 and woke up at 08:00 to continue our journey. For me personally, this was one of the most epic days of my life.
As skateboarders age the body starts to hurt more and more each day, how do you keep pushing and stay motivated?
First of all I was blessed with energy and optimism because of my upbring and my DNA. But it takes way more than that. We all have 1 life. Some scientists have calculated our chance to be born and say that it’s somewhere around 400.000.000.000.000 to 1. This keeps fucking with my head! We won the lottery! Having this in the back of my mind, I can only push my limits everyday in order to have more experiences in life. Almost everything is possible, as long as you understand and accept that you have to put in the work. This psychological motivation plays a very big part in how I move. Furthermore it comes down, to eating healthy, working out, taking cold showers and stretching.
Where is your family from and what was it like growing up where you grew up?
My family is from Iran. I was born in the concrete jungle of Tehran and lived there until I was 8 years old. As far as I can remember I had a good and comfortable life even though we lived in a very harsh and fast pace city. My new home is The Netherlands, but I can’t and won’t forget where I’m from. Having lived on both sides of “the fence” gives beautiful and interesting insights. You appreciate life more and feel even more blessed.
I think what you do provides a goal to aspire to for younger POCs who perhaps haven't seen that they can live off creative work. What do you wish you heard when you were younger that would have made the journey less daunting?
Thank you! What I really believe in to my bones is that you can do anything. Everything is possible if you really want it and put in the work. Day in, day out! Do this and be patience for years to decades. Mute all the “outside noise” and just fight with the voice inside your head. You’re your greatest competition and enemy. Fail A LOT until you become numb for failing. You really have to stop caring about what others think of what you do. We live for others, and if you forget to live for yourself and what YOU really stand for, it will be very hard to find happiness and eventually greatness. Basically this and that nobody has figured out life yet and you’re not alone on this journey of yours. Sorry there’s just so much to pass on haha.
What does a regular day look like for you?
07:00 Alarm. 07:00-08:00 Push-ups, stretching and cold shower. 08:00-08:30 food & travel to work. 08:30-21:30 work. 21:30-22:00 travelling back home. 22:00-00:00 rest. 00:00-07:00 sleep.
What music are you bumping to on a regular day?
I listen to a lot of different genres. But my main go is jazz, blues, rap and hiphop.
What does your future look like?
I hope that I still have some years on this earthly experience, because I have too many ideas in my head to put into the physical world. But you’ll see me bringing people together, creating things and smiling.
Visit Flourboy's exhibition at OBA Oosterdok, Amsterdam
Words by Passion Dzenga
Photos by Ruben Hilkens & Ivory van Appeven
Video by Umut Uslu
Video by Umut Uslu