Photos c/o: Kat Harris
During my first winter in Brooklyn my friend and I were holed up in my apartment one night and she asked if I had read Forty Days of Dating.Thinking she was trying to tell me to read a book on how to date in 2013 I about punched her. But thankfully I withheld, and she told me about this dating experiment that NYC based artists Timothy Goodman + Jessica Walsh did. We grabbed some red wine, and by the time the night was over I was halfway done with the whole series. (If you haven’t read Forty Days of Dating…lucky for you it’s a book now. Get it).
What I loved though was their honest approach to creativity + commitment to using their craft as a means to engage in a meaningful dialogue with our culture. ( Not to mention they’re both crazy talented artists). I’ve followed Timothy’s work online since, and homeboy is legit. I all but showed up at his office with a boombox over my head as a grand gesture to see if he’d be interested in being apart of The Refined Man. (Thankfully for his sake I didn’t do that). He agreed. And y’all I’m so excited to introduce this guy to you.
Timothy is incredibly talented, he’s a doer, a hustler + passionate about using his voice to inspire others, and he likes Beyonce. Need I say anything else?
Who is Timothy Goodman?
Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, my family didn’t have a lot of money, and my biological dad wasn’t around. As a kid, my heroes were characters like Ferris Bueller and Zack Morris, and I reveled in the idea of pulling a fast one on somebody in authority. That’s kind of how my graphic design career started: in high school. I stole hall passes, replicated them in Microsoft Word, and printed out whole packs of them. Later, I forged teacher’s signatures. Now, I’m still that kid in many ways. I feel like I snuck in through the back door, and now it’s too late to kick me out.
Why do you do what you do?
I want my work to continue to have a bigger dialogue with people beyond the design community. I love my clients, and I want to continue working for more great clients—but I also want to continue to make robust personal projects that challenge the boundaries between my work and my life.
I’m interested in being vulnerable as a human and my work and sharing that with an audience.
How do you define success? Would you say you’re successful?
Success is about having options. I come from a working class background in Cleveland, Ohio. A lot of folks I know aren’t particularly passionate about what they do, and many outright hate their jobs. I’m trying every thing in my will to not have a “job.” Like Common said once, “I’m rapping for my life because I’m scared of a day job.” I want to bend and twist and shake and squeeze the most out of life and my work without getting too caught up in the end game or the failures along the way. It’s about approaching this whole thing as a practice, not as a profession.
What aspect of your work do you connect with most?
James Joyce says, “In the particular is contained the universal.” I’ve always believed that. For instance, with 40 Days of Dating, we learned that our issues are the same as millions of other people’s issues. Because we created something that was personal to us, it touched millions of people on a universal level. Jessica and I want to continue to use our personal lives as a vehicle to tell stories and connect, and we are currently wrapping up another very robust experiment. It’s documented in a similar way to 40 Days via writing, illustration, photography and video, and we’ll release it in segments. Look for it in August.
As artists we’ve all had seasons where we feel uninspired, but as professionals need to perform for our clients. How do you push past that + stay inspired?
When I was at SVA, a teacher of mine would say that there was no such thing as an ‘artist block.’ If you’re hitting a dead end, then just turn around and go a different way.
Did you ever imagine that you’d be living in NYC as a professional artist? If no…what + where did you think you’d be at this point in life?
After barely graduating high school, I started working for a guy named Dave, who ran a painting and home improvement company. For three years I worked full-time and took night classes at a local community college. I moved here 11 years ago to go to design school at SVA. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted, and in many ways I still don’t, but I do know that I love it here.
I found out about you through 40 Days of Dating + confess I read all 40 Days in 2 days. What is a personal + professional take away you have from that experience? Has this being out there helped or hurt your dating life (just personally curious)
I heard a great quote by Lena Dunham recently where she says “by sharing your own stories, you’re essentially performing a kind of activism that’s very important… by sharing things that are close to you, you will connect to other people who feel alone in the world.” 40 Days has torn down a wall I’m no longer interested in having up as a designer. We found that so many of our own experiences and fears are the same as a lot of people’s, and I want to continue to connect to people and start a dialogue through my work. I’ve also been writing a lot about my personal life through a series I call “Memories of a Girl I Never Knew” and posting it to my Instagram. It’s been amazing to see how much it’s resonated with people. I don’t think I would be sharing this stuff with such an ease if it wasn’t for 40 Days. Furthermore, 40 Days, and its residual affects, has enabled me to be honest with myself about finding a relationship with someone who’s worth it, and it’s given me a capacity for vulnerability. And with all vulnerability comes the risk of failure.
When all is said and done what do you want to say through your art?
We’re all scared, and none of us know what we’re doing. I don’t even want to know! You get the good stuff from the unknown, from being lost, from having your back against the wall. If I can walk that tight-rope, then maybe I can feel more alive and find more meaning in my work. If we have an idea of how to inspire or to be inspired, then we can begin to connect to people, and I think connecting to someone through my work is one of the true joys. That’s what I’m in it for.
Who and/or what inspires you?
Movies, fine art, music, falling love, getting your heart broken, traveling, making mistakes, biographies, and mythology. Also, I’m slightly obsessed with pop culture.
Lastly…and most importantly…what’s your favorite Beyonce song? (don’t blow this).
Flawless! Bow down, bitches.