Timothy Goodman’s art and words can be found on walls, buildings, packaging, people, book jackets, magazine covers, and more — all over the world. His clients include Google, MoMa, and the New York Times; he has received awards from many major design and illustration publications; and he’s a co-creator of several personal projects including the blog and book 40 Days of Dating and 12 Kinds of Kindness. He teaches at New York City’s School of Visual Arts and talks about his feelings on Instagram.

 

Goodman recently agreed to create a work of art with our new Adobe x Keith Haring digital brush set (now available to all). We spoke to Goodman about Keith Haring, about art making, and about the new brushes.  

Adobe Create: You’ve done a few things with Adobe over the years, and a lot of our readers are probably quite familiar with your work — but it’s been about three years since I last talked to you. What’s new?


Timothy Goodman:
I’m still getting a lot of commissions to do murals for brands and corporations — both interior and exterior walls. I just finished a huge basketball court at a school in Brooklyn for the Kevin Durant Foundation. I’ve been doing a lot more outdoor public art the past two years. It’s funny — and in the spirit of Keith, definitely — but I’m doing a lot of graffiti work on the streets of NYC with my drawings and writings. I also collaborated with Uniqlo to launch a global collection of clothing with them in 2018, which consisted of 35 pieces sold worldwide. And I had products with West Elm and Tiffany, and a Guess watch was released. I’m still doing personal projects in the spirit of what I’ve done in the past. Similar to 40 Days of Dating, I co-created a text therapy project in 2018 called Friends with Secrets. I’m constantly trying to talk about things that are important to me through my work. Whether it’s mental health or politics or just my personal ups and downs.

Create: We love the piece you made for the Adobe x Keith Haring campaign. Can you talk a little bit about your personal connection to, or relationship with, Haring’s work? 

 

Goodman: I think my relationship to Keith’s work started in art school, like most of the artists that I connected to — same with Basquiat. I was attracted to the sensibilities of some of that era’s artists. And of course I’ve always been inspired by his line drawings — and that has inspired me to do my own line drawing work. As has Shantell Martin, a contemporary friend of mine who also does line drawing, through the years. 

But more than the style, the thing that has resonated so much with me about Keith was his ability to speak out about issues that were important to him, both through his work and just as a human. That has always inspired me to do the same in my own personal work. And then there’s the public-art piece, just his being a person like myself who loved to be out in the streets creating art in New York City. His willingness to do that, and to go an unconventional route as an artist, has also really inspired me.

Create with brushes inspired by Keith Haring.

Draw a line for positive change with chalk, markers, spray paint and more.

Create: There is definitely some overlap with you, too, in that Haring was passionate about democratizing art and making art accessible. How has that notion affected your work, as someone who also makes a lot of public art?

Goodman: I’m not someone who thinks about art in an elitist way. I think it should always be accessible. And that’s why, for instance, when I had that collection with Uniqlo, it was so amazing to have one million units of my writing and my drawings on t-shirts and sweatshirts all over the world, available for $13. For those pieces to be so accessible, to be able to connect to so many people, is such a joy for me. And that’s why I share a lot of personal stories on Instagram — it’s in the same vein. I want to make that work because it’s so therapeutic for me to do it — it’s something I have to do. It’s part of who I am, this willingness and desire to express myself. And then, with that, comes the joy of connecting to other people through art, and being able to have conversations about these topics. 

Someone like Keith is, I think, the epitome of all that. He broke down all those barriers. And when I’m out on the streets putting art on a side of a building, there is a real joy about making something…. I’ve done murals all over the place, and I get messages and emails from people who live in those communities all the time saying, “Thank you for doing this; I love seeing it every time I’m walking down that street.” It’s a small thing, but it means a lot to me. In New York, especially, I see people tagging me on Instagram, taking pictures with their loved ones in front of my work…it takes on a different meaning. The work is no longer just mine. There is something really beautiful and meaningful to me about that. As long as you’re doing something that’s meaningful to you or other people, that’s really what it’s about for me.

 

Create: What inspired the piece you created for us with the Haring brushes?

 

Goodman: Well, I wrote a phrase, one of my phrases: “Whatever you do, do it with life.” I wanted to do something that captured as many of the styles of brushes that I could, so I kind of did every letter with a different brush — and that’s really my jumbled-up text style, kind of a signature thing. It was a lot of fun to see them all kind of come together.

Goodman used the Keith Haring brushes to illustrate one of his phrases. 

Create: What was it like to use the tools?

 

Goodman: I think they looked beautiful — I was impressed. I mean, some of them would lend themselves to my personal taste more than others, but it was cool to see the breadth, and I had a lot of fun with them. I’m not someone who always uses brushes on the computer either — I mean, I do sometimes, of course, but it’s not something that I always resort to. These were cool; I’ll definitely be using these in the future.

Enter our contest and draw for change.

Draw attention to an issue that’s close to your heart and your art could be showcased in front of a worldwide audience at Adobe MAX. Grand Prize winners will also receive $5,000 and a one-year Creative Cloud membership.

© Keith Haring Foundation