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Meet Todd Goodman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd Goodman.

Todd, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Schenectady, New York, in a very musical family and community, so my primary artistic influence has always been music. I started on the piano when I was five and then tried out the violin and saxophone before I finally landed on the drums at 12.

Other than playing and listening to a ton of music growing up, I have had no formal arts education outside the basic classes in public school. I excelled at mathematics and sports in school and never would have guessed that I would one day call myself an artist. I had a mild case of attention deficit disorder in school, but was not medicated, and spent much of class time doodling in my notebook.

I quickly developed a distinct drawing style, where I would draw an image without lifting the pen or pencil off the page, essentially drawing a figure, form or word with one line.

By the end of high school, I had graduated from doodling in my notebook to adorning my bedroom walls and those of my friends. But for me, it was always just a way to kill time, not create art. Following high school, I went on to earn a BS in environmental science, and a master’s degree in international development primarily focused on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and peace process.

I moved to Santa Monica in 2007 for a non-profit job, developing educational websites addressing controversial social and political topics. During the height of the financial collapse in 2008, I lost my job and found myself on the wrong side of the labor market, being overeducated and overqualified. After applying to jobs for nearly six months with no luck, I found myself working with a friend on Venice Beach, making and selling jewelry and art.

It was thanks to the Venice Boardwalk that I survived the Great Recession and was able to stay in Los Angeles. It was that year during which I found my artistic inspiration. By 2012, drawing inspiration from an eclectic life of music, sports, and travel, and tossed up into a healthy salad of global politics and religion, I was able to develop my own unique style. It’s a colorful painting style that’s funky but clean, straight but twisted. It’s my life in vibrant colors, spaces, and forms, which I’ve called Psychedelic Realism.

I approach my art as a personal reflection, facing the world with my senses open, taking life as it comes, available to a world of random chances and opportunities. Every stroke I make is an opportunity to take a risk, a chance to overcome the doubts and fears of what’s next and to be joyfully surprised. In life and in art, I like to take it one day at a time, smiling, trying to simply create.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If life were a smooth road, it probably wouldn’t be worth living. So, of course, I’ve had my ups and downs. Life in LA has never been easy. It’s the least affordable place I’ve ever lived. It’s tough to go from a place of high academic and career achievement (and saddled with substantial student debt), only to find myself struggling to find a simple job to pay my minimal life expenses.

I had to throw away my entire life’s education and work experience to teach myself how to make jewelry and paintings to sell to tourists on the beach. I went from working within the halls of Harvard and for former President Jimmy Carter, to spending my days alongside struggling artists, drunks, addicts, the homeless and tourists, lucky to make it home with a few bucks in my pocket.

It was humbling, to say the least, and profoundly educational. But every day ended with a gloriously colorful and radiant Venice Beach sunset, adding to the inspiration that has gotten me to where I am today.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I generally try not to put myself in a categorical box, so it’s hard to say what exactly my artistic focus is. I consciously try to diversify my body of work, never painting the same thing twice, and cover a very broad array of subject matters.

I like to paint different subjects within a series of work as well, like Super Hero Surfers, local iconic landscapes like the Venice and Santa Monica Piers, the Venice Canals and the Venice Sign, landscapes from my personal travels abroad, portraits of my musical heroes, portraits of endangered species, etc. I dabble in politics, tackling themes like the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, Child Soldiers, Climate Change, Political Corruption, and Human Rights.

I also enjoy playing around in the world of abstract expressionism. As much as I love to paint, photography has also been an important part of my life, and I try to use my photographs as much as possible as painting subjects. Much of my work focuses on street photography, sports, like surfing and skateboarding, as well as travel and landscape photography.

I currently sell my original and print work out of my studio gallery in Santa Monica, and also have a permanent display of canvas prints for sale at the Rose Collective on 4th and Rose Avenue in Venice, as well as on my website, I regularly participate in the Venice Art Crawl, as well as other group shows around the Los Angeles area.

I am constantly looking for opportunities to show, and am currently looking for outdoor and indoor mural opportunities and would like to venture into the clothing and apparel industry, possibly starting my own brand.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Self-confidence, in that I do not care at all if people like or dislike my work. It’s very personal to me, like music. I know what I like, and it’s just fine with me if you don’t like it.

As far as I’m concerned, everyone is an artist; it’s just a matter of recognizing that fact, owning it, and then sharing it with the world. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they aren’t artists, that they can’t draw or paint. I always ask them if they have ever tried, and the answer is inevitably no.

Well, you don’t know until you try. So, having the confidence to try something new, to do something different, regardless of what others think, is the key to my success. I paint for my own happiness, and I guess I’m just lucky that other people enjoy it too, and even luckier when they buy it!


  • Matted photo prints – 11″x14″ $50
  • Giclee Prints on Canvas (various sizes) – 8″x12″ to 40″x60″ – $75-$375
  • Original Paintings – $500-$8,000

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