We love making friends, and friends of friends are our favorite… and that’s exactly how we came to chat with Timothy Goodman, New York City heart breaker and graphic designer. After interviewing his friend and fellow designer, Dan Cassaro, we got a little love letter, or rather a love marathon, from Mr. Goodman and decided that anyone with this much Sharpie love deserved to be more than just our valentine.
Lock up your hearts ladies, he already stole ours and we cant be held responsible for your newest raging crush.
Let’s get to the good stuff…
Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?
I jokingly like to call myself the “Kid from Cleveland.” In the 1930s, there was a group of teenage actors who were called the “Dead End Kids.” They were wisearse street kids who always wore newsboy hats, and usually had some dirt on their face. I was sort of a 1980s version of that. Growing up in Cleveland from a family a modest means, I learned how to be scrappy as a youngster. My friends and I were always up to no good: smoking cigs, playing street ball, stealing baseball cards, running from dogs, jumping neighbor’s fences, throwing eggs at cars. My sweet mother had her hands full! When I was a kid, I was proud to have bruises and scars on my body after playing outside. Having bruises and scars meant I was having fun.
What inspires you and your work?
I’ve watched Winnie-the-Pooh about 10 times in the last year. Christopher Robin says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” What an idea! I’m currently trying to be more naive with my work. Graphic design books and blogs will only get me so far. We should be inspired by other mediums, but more importantly, we should be in touch with an openness in life that has nothing to do with information, language, “success,” or dollars.
How would you describe your style?
I work hard to get my voice and my humor in my work. As my old boss Brian Collins says, we’re not in the ‘kind of nice business.’ Meaning, we’re here to be provocative, to be memorable, and to tell great stories. Even though I’ve adopted a drawing style, if you look at my body of work you’ll see that I generally work in many mediums across branding, identity, and editorial. I have no interest in making work for solely aesthetic reasons. If we ask questions, and think like storytellers, then we can have a larger dialogue with our clients and ourselves.
You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, art director, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?
I used to paint homes, hang wallpaper and drywall for 4 1/2 years before going to design school in NYC. I was a horrible high school student and I needed time to figure out what I wanted. In the beginning, I was a laborer, hauling buckets of wallpaper glue up ladders for 12-15 hours a day. That taught me an unruly work ethic. Later, it showed me how fortunate I am to be doing what I love, and how lucky I am to do it in New York. I try not to take any of it for granted. The way I see it right now, being a designer is a duty, not a career choice.
How did you get started?
Having mentors and constantly making things. My old creative director, John Fulbrook, hired me right out of school as a book jacket designer for Simon & Schuster. Soon after that, he left the publishing world to become a creative director in branding, and he took me with him. I will forever be indebted to him for helping my career blossom. I think it’s paramount to find someone that will help guide you, beyond design, in a way that teaches you more about life. I remind my students about this often. As for the illustration stuff, it came as a result of wanting to explore different things, and to get my name in the Times so I could impress girls. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
How did you come up with your Valentine’s Tweet-a-thon?
After leaving Apple (yes, THAT Apple) in October, I promised myself that I would make more time for personal projects. I started thinking about how much time I spend on Twitter, and how I don’t know most of the people I chat with. So I wondered how I could honor these virtual relationships? However, as many of us do, I beat myself up with doubt and fear: How could I possibly draw a valentine for every single one of my Twitter followers? Why would it matter? Who would care? Einstein famously said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” I tried convincing myself NOT to do it. Luckily, my good buddy Erik Marinovich encouraged me to follow through with it. In the end, it was extremely rewarding on many levels, and I was very touched to see how much it resonated with people.
You have been a part of some pretty incredible stuff; your work at Apple, the Ace Hotel, features in the New York Times, Wired and Time magazine, JUST to name a few, what accomplishment do you wish you could have unlimited bragging rights on about?
I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, and I feel fortunate to have so many inspiring and encouraging friends, mentors, and colleagues around me. Nothing is done without them. While I leave the bragging on the resume, I do pull out the Apple card a lot. They’re the most successful and innovative company in the world, everything they touch is a smash, the whole world watches them, and every client wants to be them. And besides the fact that my mother questions me at least once a week with that Are you sure you didn’t make the biggest mistake of your life by quitting? tone in her voice, I’m happy with my decision to quit and move back to NYC.
How did you come to contribute to the Art Director’s Club (ADC) bathroom ?
The wonderful people at the ADC asked four of us (Mikey Burton, Chris Rubino, Rich Tu, and myself) to create a mural in their ladies room. With only one Saturday to do it, we had to think fast and act quick—and luckily we came to an easy agreement on concept and execution. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like four dudes sweating in a bathroom all day! After some initial emails during the weeks before, we decided to shower the walls with compliments and an array of ‘lady etiquette.’ After all, shouldn’t all respectable ladies know that a beautiful dress can be ruined by wearing lumpy, baggy underwear?
(Funny story.. this is the same place that hosted the TED award ceremony for the Ads Worth Spreading, so you may have seen a tweet or two from @Sharpie about this beauty–and that was BEFORE we knew Tim was the man behind the
mirror err… bathroom! Some things are just meant to be)
Any cool new projects you can tell us about?
I have a weird superstition when it comes to talking publicly about work that hasn’t happened yet. I will say that I have a great new rep/studio manager, and I’m very excited about the future.
Your designs have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?
Ideas are totally disposable and constantly in flux for me. I learned that while being in branding. Anything can spark an idea, and you better have at least 100 of them. However, some of my favorite ideas have come while I’m flying. Which is ironic, because I used to be horribly afraid to fly and I couldn’t step foot on an airplane for 3 years during college. I learned to overcome that fear, and I have flown over 25 times in the last year and a half. Now I absolutely love flying! I can’t wait to get in the air, put my headphones on, and get my sketchbook out.
Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?
My friend William Morrisey always says, “If you want to change your look, change your tool.” About 2 years ago I made a conscience effort to get my hand involved in my work more. I had the perfect opportunity to make that effort sing when I was asked to do a mural for the Ace Hotel. That project opened up an entirely different creative avenue for myself. A healthy amount of work I’m currently doing is hand-drawn, and it all stems from that project.
How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?
With immediacy and with mistakes! I’m a big NBA basketball fan. I love the New York Knicks, and I hate to miss a game. I like to drink a
beer soda.. (right, Tim?) (note: mistakes), watch the Knicks, and draw draw draw.
Favorite Sharpie? Why?
The Sharpie paint markers! I love the way they spread, the way they adhere, the way they smell, the way you have to shake them to get the ink flowing. It’s a very sensual process, which is probably why I dig it so much.
Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
It’s been six months since I left Apple, and I’m very excited about my newfound self-employment. My favorite part is the flexibility. I can take a 3 hour lunch; I can skip town whenever I want; I can choose my clients, or work on personal stuff anytime. Right now I’m on the path of the unknown, doing everything I should be doing.
If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I hate poverty, and I hate that so many kids have to grow up in poverty. There are over 16 million children living in poverty in the United States alone. I wish I could make poor kids live like rich kids and rich kids live like poor kids for one week.
What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?
One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Mission Chinese, is coming to NYC!
Want to pick up some Chinese with Tim? Well, we can’t promise that (heck, we are still working on our own date), BUT you can follow him on Twitter- you may even get your own Valentine out of the deal! Check out more of his amazing accomplishments by visiting his website, and trust us, there is A LOT more where this came from.
And as always, share the love and leave a comment– we want to know what you think!