Bullet: To start, can you tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into UE?
Nomeus: Since I was a kid I always drew and painted. In the late 90s I painted professionally on a large scale. I did murals and faux finishes for some of Central Florida’s major theme parks. I was also in California around that time and did some custom painting in Rob Zombies house with a small crew of artists. While I was in CA, my mom had upgraded her camera and she mailed me her old one. After that I pretty much forgot all about painting and just started shooting anything and everything that caught my eye. This was around 1999. I shot film until around 2005 when I bought my first digital camera, the Canon 20D, and gave up film due to cost reasons. Around that same time I was on my way somewhere and saw this big pink hotel in Ocoee, FL so I stopped to check it out. I was very intrigued and only saw a small percent of it. After that I started to realize there must be more places like that in the area so I set out to see what I could find.
Bullet: Currently 6 years running, what inspired you to start FLURBEX and future do you see for it?
Nomeus: As weird as it will sound, if it wasn’t for the sport of jai alai, I either wouldn’t have ever made FLURBEX or, it would have come much later. I used to play amateur jai alai and through that, I met someone who told me about some abandoned frontons (the building where jai alai is played) in Connecticut. I asked him how he knew of such a thing and he said “oh, abandoned buildings are all over the internet. It’s an organized thing, people get together and go in these old buildings”. If you could have seen my face when he said that…priceless. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. People actually organizing events to go poke around in abandoned buildings, how absurd!! I used to do it as a kid and I instantly felt it was really silly and cheap to have it all over the internet and have it organized and discussed. My friend then went on to tell me about a website called www.infiltration.org. He said I could find the abandoned frontons there. I went home, spent about 10 seconds on the site, had no idea what I was looking at and forgot about it.
About 2 weeks later I went back to the site and gave it another chance. I realized that www.infiltration.org is the same site as www.uer.ca so I joined them and started posting. I made the same rookie mistake that so many people make and that is, asking for locations to explore. I was chastised and basically told to get lost. By now I had found some really cool spots in Central Florida and I explored them alone. Returning with tales of adventure just isn’t the same as having someone there with you to share the experience so I tried to find people in my area that was into urban exploring. I met some people by organizing a meet up at the old Miller plant near Big Chief hill. About 12 people showed up and we had a good time.
It was around October 2006 that I was kicking around the idea of having my own website. I came up with the name FLURBEX because it was simple and just made sense… Florida Urban Exploration. I had grown tired of the people on UER who liked to talk about exploring but never actually did anything and the others who only wanted to brag about the North East abandonments and make fun of Florida. I was inspired to prove them wrong and wanted to be around people who had the same addiction to seeing the insides of these buildings as I did and do. www.FLURBEX.com went live on the net in the fall of 2006. Since then tens of thousands of members have come and gone. Most people join out of curiosity and never post again. Some people want to try it out but for whatever reason, never do. There has always been too many people talking about doing it rather than actually doing it.
The future of FLURBEX? Hard to say! I’m sure it will be around for a long time. It is the first and only online community for Florida urbex.
Bullet: In your own words, how is the current urbex scene like in Florida?
Nomeus: Right now I would have to sadly say that the current urbex scene in Florida is pretty dead. There are pockets of people exploring here and there and even a few more that never broadcast the fact that they are exploring. When I started out, all the abandonments were just sitting waiting for us to explore them. We got all caught up with them so now we just wait for buildings to shut down. They trickle in here and there.
Bullet: What’s your favorite location that you’ve explored and why?
Nomeus: Oh man that’s a really tough question! Having been in other states exploring, there is just too much stuff to choose from. I might have to say that I cant pick one. Each location is a unique experience all onto itself. They all stand on their own and there are all kinds of priceless memories from each.
Bullet: Not mentioning the hundreds of shells and bombed out locations, what would you say was your worst experience exploring?
Nomeus: Worst exploring experience is still being down inside that rocket silo. Nightmare!!
Bullet: You’re soon coming out with a book. Care to talk a bit about it?
Nomeus: I teamed up with the guys at www.metrojacksonville.com to shoot some Jacksonville abandonments and Ennis Davis from Metro Jacksonville wanted to collaborate on a book. The book features some really neat Jax buildings and Ennis has spent a lot of time researching not only the buildings but some really great stories about the people involved. The book features building interiors shot by me and some exteriors by Daniel Herbin.
Bullet: Any future plans for your photography, ie. projects, books, videos, documentaries, etc.?
Nomeus: Not at liberty to say at this time but I will say if you’re in Jax on May 2nd 2012, stop by the main library lobby between 5pm and 8pm! Ennis and I will be there doing a book signing and I will have prints, shirts etc. for sale.
Bullet: Any final words you’d like to share?
Nomeus: Thanks for the interview and thanks to all the members, fans and those who have supported me and FLURBEX over the years.