We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Goodman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Generally speaking, I loathe the use of superlatives, and I find it quite difficult to rank most things in life, be it music, art, sports, food, people, or even ideas such as values and principles. I find that being open to and embracing the rich diversity of life and variables within one’s life, the multitude of options and opportunities, varieties of experiences and ways of being, as more valuable than limiting oneself or one’s mind to a singular idea of one thing being better than all others. Life is an evolutionary, and often revolutionary process, so choosing one idea to live by, in my mind, is rather shortsighted, as everything changes over time. That being said, one principle that I would happily discuss as important in my life is authenticity. Particularly in the world of art (all forms), authenticity is crucial. I’m not yet a financially successful and independent artist, in that I do not rely solely on my art to pay for all the financial costs of my life. And, as I progress with my art and my art business, I’ve been presented with opportunities to work on commissions, and despite my desire to earn a living as an artist, and despite people offering me opportunities to get paid to create, I have always been open and honest with potential clients regarding the authenticity and soul of my work. I have said no to more opportunities than yes, because the opportunities would not have been authentic expressions of my voice, my art and soul. I don’t want to compromise my authentic voice to make a few dollars, and anyone who wants to spend money on real and authentic art should demand such from any artist with which they chose to support or work with. As a 43 year old man, born and raised primarily in the analogue world, and hanging on by a thread in the digital world, I’ve sadly watched much of life move from an authentic real world of personal experiences and interpersonal relationships, to the fake, over produced and isolating world of digital and social media. And all of this is so obvious to anyone who is awake and paying attention. When I turn on the TV, open Facebook, Instagram or YouTube and try to find any expression of authentic life, it’s basically impossible to find. It’s all bullshit. Everything is over-hyped, over-glossed and a caricatured version of reality. And too many people have been sold on this bullshit, that actual authentic art and life has been devalued or sometimes completely forgotten. So, I try as best as I can to stick to the real, tangible and authentic. I may not have as many friends and followers as the next person, I may not be polished and glossy, but I try to make all my interactions and relationships and creations authentic to me, my values and my vision for how to best live a healthy and peace-filled life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As I said in response to the first question, I’m not a big fan of using superlatives, and even in some cases comparatives. There is too much judgement in life as it is, I’m not an artist nor am I in the game of art to compare or compete with others. It is simply who I am, what I am passionate about, and how I prefer to express myself. You do you, I’ll do me, and hopefully we can appreciate and respect one another’s efforts. If there were one thing that might distinguish me, or rather how others might distinguish my work from other artists, it may be in the fact that I am a self taught, exploratory artist. I think having little exposure to art theory and rules, little if any knowledge of art history, never being told what to do or not do, instead learning strictly by trial and error, taking risks, not worrying about what others may think, I’ve been able to develop a distinct and unique style that others, I hope, appreciate. Also, I take on a lot of different subjects, themes, styles, mediums and objectives with my art. I never want to be looked at as existing within a defined box, and am always looking for something new and different to do. I want my work to make people ask questions, I want them to look at several different pieces and ask, “Wait, you did all of these?” “What is this in reference to?” “Does this mean this, or that?” What I want the world to know about my art is that I want it to be approachable, relatable, but also provocative. I want a viewer to be able to relate to something in what they see, so in a sense have a personal understanding of the image, but to also be provoked into questioning how they relate to it, how they do not relate to it, and what are the deeper, sometimes cynical, sometimes hopeful messages in it, be they overt or covert symbols or ideas. Even when you think you know and understand a piece, I want you to question whether or not that is actually it, or is there more to the story. I promise, there is always more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, what I can tell you is that it would be a low budget experience, LOL!!! Although I’ve lived in LA for going on 15 years this year, I’ve never had the financial means to do, see, taste and feel all the amazing things that LA has to offer. I can only imagine what kind of amazing things there are to try and do in LA if money wasn’t an issue, this city has the best of the best for just about anything. But, what I can say, is that even with a limited budget, LA has so much to offer, in everything and anything that one could possibly want to experience. First up, a walk through Venice Beach, tour all the great local street art, hang at the skate park, walk through the canals, a stop by the Rose Collective on 4th and Rose to check out one of my murals and other artwork in shop as well as stock up on LA’s kindest legal marijuana and then catch a glorious psychedelic sunset from the Irwin Hotel rooftop (with a cocktail and snack if you can afford it). Another budget must do, Lincoln Blvd Street tacos, particularly the one out in front of Wholefoods at Rose and Lincoln. Bomb! Go for a surf, wherever the waves are breaking that day, but my preferred spots are Sunset, 3rd Point, and a few other secret spots up in Malibu. Take a hike. Pick a trail, any trail will do. One thing I was most surprised by and impressed with when I first moved to LA was the accessibility of incredible hiking trails. See anything and everything you can at the Hollywood Bowl. Probably my favorite pleasure based expenditure of the year is buying tickets to shows at the Bowl. One of the greatest venues in the world, and gotta love the BYO food and beverage policy. (As a musician who has performed live, as a non native Angelino who’s seen hundreds of live shows around the world, despite the city attracting the world’s greatest talent and acts to perform here, it has by far the worst crowd energy of any city on the planet that I’ve experienced, and this often has had a negative impact on the performance. When the crowd is “too cool for school” to sing, dance and get wild, when everyone is on their phone or there only to take selfies, what performer wants to give all they got?) But still, you gotta go to the Bowl, just ignore the lame crowd and dance your face off! Last but not least, visit Todd Goodman Arts’ Studio on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Shoutout goes to Sunny Bak and the Venice Art Crawl crew. Sunny was one of my very first supporters and customers, and without her support and the support of the Venice Art Crawl, I would likely not be where I am in my artistic life. As a self-taught artist with no connections to the art world and community, she in a sense has adopted me and helped provide many opportunities to showcase and highlight my work to the Venice and even greater Los Angeles community, (and even brought a few of my paintings on the road with her for some shows across the country). I’m super stoked to be currently working on a collaborative mixed media piece with her, blending my painting style with one of my favorite iconic Beastie Boys photos that she took back in New York City in the 1980’s.