Emris Ouroboros, 23, professional solar power-ographer/wizard cap maker originally from Hillsboro, Oregon
What made you want to make wizard caps?
“Um, an acid trip. Honestly. I was in Savannah, Georgia. I was always wearing a cowboy hat and people called me The Wizard even though I didn’t wear a wizard’s cap. I went through an acid trip, came out with a wizard’s cap, didn’t know how that was done and neither did any of my friends. So I kept it, and it felt right. So I just, you know, went with it and it’s kind of become my sanity. You know, I, you know, it’s got its personality.”
Yeah, it’s definitely really distinct. And your pins on your cap, do they have any particular significance to you?
“Everything on my hat is a memory. It’s a good or great time because you cherish the moments, and say farewell when it leaves, and then those bad moments where you’re down on your luck and everything feels like it’s never gonna get better, I’ll take my hat off and I’ll look at all of it and I’ll just remember that there’s just more good things to come.”
That’s awesome. So are you on the road at this time in your life, just traveling?
“I went on a walkabout and traveled through about 17 states and I kind of want to call it done for a little while. Granted, my traveler in me is never finished, but uh, I don’t really know how else to put it. I want to call Asheville home. I want to get my life together, get a job. I can’t get a job right now because I have no ID. I’m working on a birth certificate. So, while I’m stuck with no possibility of getting a job, I figured I’d make a job for myself.”
Yeah. Have you had any success?
“I’ve got people who are already ready to buy. I’ve just gotta get ‘em made.”
Nice. What would you say, in terms of traveling, the craziest experience was for you?
“Man, there are so many. Uh, shit. I don’t even know how to–-OK. Have you ever been to Klamath, California? It’s pretty much the Northern, it’s the redwoods. The redwoods are there. I took a hammock to the top of a redwood tree and spent a week hammocking there every night.”
Oh my God. That must have been surreal.
“It changed my life. First night, I thought of every possibility of how I was going to die that night ‘cause we’re freaking swaying out there back and forth. World’s largest tree.”
Yeah.That’s incredible that you were able to do that. What would you say, in terms of creativity, inspires you?
Emris shouts out to a passerby in a purple suit: “That guy! You inspire me! I like your kicks.”
That guy inspires you?
“That guy, the train kids, dirty kids, hippies, punk rockers— everything really inspires me. It’s just, they, I dunno.”
If you were to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
“I’m an infinite energy that will never be destroyed.”
Oh man. That’s intense.
“I dunno. I dunno how I would describe myself. Lucky to be alive.”
Yeah, especially after the redwood experience. It sounds crazy, man.
“It was only a fraction.”
Ashley “Omi” James, 19, unemployed, originally from Colorado Springs
What are you doing out here (a Bernie Sanders rally) today?
“Oh man, I watched all the old Obama debates with my grandma when I was 14 and it kind of got me interested in politics, and now I’m excited. I’m 19, about to be 20 in June and so this is my first time I can actually get in there and do something about it. I just really like the principles of socialism and just being able to have your government actually help its people.”
Have them care about you.
“Yeah, so, whenever Bernie came out, I was really, really excited and he caught a lot of momentum, especially people that were my age. So I just, I feel like I’ve been wanting to come out to these for a while and, just, life is ridiculous. But I finally had the opportunity to, you know, and it’s really close to when our actual voting is gonna be, so I wanted to make sure I got in at least once before our primaries.”
On which policy do you agree with him the most?
“Oh man. I mean, obviously, just the universal health care system and just being able to take the taxes that we should’ve been putting on the wealthier class and using them to benefit the lower class. I really appreciate the idea. I don’t see why it’s something that we haven’t gotten around to doing sooner. It just doesn’t really make a lot of sense. I like him trying to pull and get us better health care, have that be just a thing, you know, have public school be free through college. I feel like that’s really important, like especially where our job market is right now. It’s hard to get a good job if you aren’t even in college. I’m at that point right now in my life where I’m having to work right now so I can save the money to be able to go to school. I don’t have parents who are going to pay my way through college for me. So I’m having to figure that out on my own where I am, and if he’s able to get programs like that, you know, it might not be before I actually end up in school, but it’ll make it easier for people in my same situation to be able to get out there and do that.”
Yeah, absolutely. You have a very cool way of dressing. What would you say the significance of these buttons is for you?
“Well, this vest as a whole is really goofy. I hang out with a lot of people that are in the local punk scene right now and they kind of influenced my style, but I don’t necessarily like-–I mean, what I’ve got on my back is like a cartoon. I just kind of took that and went in my own direction with it. I can really appreciate that as well, and I’ve got a lot of, you know, these anarchists and people who are just against government entirely to start thinking about getting out and voting for Bernie, just because it would start a shift in our system.”
“I’m glad that I can surround myself with like-minded people that are actually interested in a topic like that.
Yeah. What bands in the local punk scene do you hang out with?
“Do you know Jake Albritton? He’s played in Prick Bigot. He’s got a band that he’s in, it’s called Spliff, Lacrymosa, yeah, and Appalachian Mud. He’s just done so much music. Another one of my friends, we’re trying to get together now to form either a surfy-girl punk band or it’d be queer-core. I’m thinking. I’m just kind of rusty right now. I might do rhythm guitar. I’m so out of it. That would be kind of interesting, too. Because of the way that kind of music is, it makes it kind of easy to kind of put across issues. I was talking about Prick Bigot. They’ve got songs about, you know, being pro-choice and things like GMOs and all kinds of stuff like that. The whole scene is really equal rights and anti-fascism, stuff like that, and that’s kind of exactly what we’re seeing seeing out of some of the other people who are in the race right now, like, I feel that a lot of people are getting into that mindset. Like, if we fail completely and Trump ends up in office, we’re just gonna like ditch the country, just, like, abort.”
Yeah, yeah. Would you ditch the country if Trump won?
“I don’t think I’d be able to.”
Yeah. It’s expensive to move.
“And, I mean, you know, it would kind of give me an excuse to do something that I’ve already wanted to do but I don’t want to have to do it that way. It’s just gonna be really ridiculous.”
So, if you were to describe your creative influences, like what inspires you in terms of art and music, what would you cite?
“Oh man. Well, I want to get into animation. That’s my end goal. So, what I would like to say is that I watch a lot of Adventure Time and I’m getting into Rick and Morty and I like the way cartoons are kind of progressing to where they’re breaking that border, of like, ‘Oh, this is children’s television. I can’t.’ Parents can get into this. Teenagers can get into this. They’re kind of opening up so they have more of an outlet to tell bigger stories and, you know, I don’t mean to get off on a tangent with this, but the way the animation industry is in Europe and Japan, you have these beautiful stories and these personal films that come out of people in these other countries that are appreciated by a really wide audience. But, then you come to America, and we’ve got like Pixar and Disney and that’s pretty much all we’ve got.”
Yeah, it’s overrated.
“It’s kind of abysmal, sometimes, to me but we’re kind of moving in the right direction, I feel like. as far as that goes. It can be appreciated more for its craft.”
Absolutely, and so, what are you doing in Asheville? Do you live here?
“Yeah, I was born in Colorado, but I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life. I’ve still got a lot of family out there.”
It seems like it’s nice.
“It’s so pretty, but it just kind of cracks me up always that I went from one set of mountains to another set of mountains.”
Yeah, yeah. You can’t escape them.
“I wouldn’t want to. I think of, like, Florida and it’s so flat.”
Florida’s awful. What do consider your profession to be?
“I actually, unfortunately, am unemployed at the moment because I just had to make a move from Mars Hill, because I had moved out there for a little bit. I had to make a move back out to Candler. That’s where I’m staying now. The job where I was at wouldn’t allow me to transfer, which was kind of awful. I’m trying to look at local jobs now because I worked at a Wal-Mart for a year and that was a lot. A LOT. But I’m not in school either, again, for the same kind of reason, being unemployed. I’m gonna try, because I am so broke. I should be able to get a Pell Grant to be able to at least start at AB-Tech in the fall and then be able to transfer to UNCA or somewhere else. When I was still in high school, I took a couple of trips there, mostly with my art classes too, and I got to see that side of their campus and what they were doing as far as that goes and I really, really dug it. So that’s kind of what I’ve got my heart set on now.”
Author’s Note: Jake Albritton uses ‘they/them’ pronouns, not ‘he/him.’
Gry Trosborg Andersen, 24, assistant at URGE IO media company, originally from Aarhus, Denmark
How would you describe your style?
My style. I would describe my style as feminine, bohemian, elegant, like that. Is that good?”
That’s perfect. What are your favorite colors to wear?
“Rainbow colors. Gold, grey, green. Those colors.”
If anything inspires you creatively, what would it be?
“Nature, I think, especially water. I like the sounds of water.”
That’s good, yeah. It’s very soothing. It refreshes you.
What would you say of, in terms of your visit to America, how would you describe it so far?
“Very intense. There’s more different than I expected.”
“I guess there’s more space between the people. I don’t know, frustration.”
Yeah, than in Germany and Denmark?
“Yeah, because we’re so closely together. They’re not so extreme.”
Yeah. What do you think of Asheville so far?
“It’s very relaxed. People are very happy here.”
In terms of what you see yourself doing in the future, what would you describe?
“Ruling the world.” ( laughs) “I like working with children.”
In terms of describing yourself in a sentence, ‘Gry Trosborg Andersen is ___, how would you finish that?