Mississippi artist William Goodman’s portfolio is striking in its diversity. From stark abstract paintings to sexy black-and-white photography to the occasionally grueling commission piece (more on that later), the 29-year-old works hard to earn a living as a full-time artist. And when he’s worn out at the end of a long day, he breaks out the scissors and starts snipping.
Working in his live-in studio in the artsy Jackson neighborhood of Fondren, Goodman digs through hundreds of vintage magazines that he’s collected over the years — McCall’s, Life, Playboy — with nothing later that the 1970s making an appearance. He flips through the musty pages until inspiration strikes.
“I’m very meticulous about cutting everything out,” Goodman says. “I’ll spend four or five hours cutting out lots of different shit, then I think, this girl would look good coming out of this guy’s body, or this animal head would look good … It’s mindless. It just kind of makes sense at the time, but looking back I’m just like, wow, that was really weird.”
Goodman brings his weird creations to Charleston with Smut and Paste at SCOOP Studios this week. Co-owner Saramel Evans, a Mississippi native as well, recruited her hometown friend for the show, which will feature a number of smaller, affordable pieces for young collectors and holiday buyers.
“It’s a good break for me,” Goodman says. “This is me having fun with my art and taking a break from the strenuous commission work that I do. I love doing all different types of stuff, but this is a relief.”
While Goodman’s creation process is admittedly mindless at times, his collages reflect a fascination with the past that’s demonstrated in much of his work. Like his photography and mixed-media pieces, the collages have a sexy, cheeky, and sometimes glamorous air. They’re layered, colorful, and complex, with snippets of words reflecting a deeper meaning as well as Goodman’s love for typography. As with his other mediums, beautiful women often make appearances in the collages — mostly prim and pretty housewives, with the occasional disrobed alter ego making an appearance.
“This work definitely has a sexual twist to it in a lot of different ways, lots of hints of words like fantasy and seduction,” Goodman says.
In one piece, a blonde in a structured white bra reclines, cut off at the waist. A knotted snake-like tube makes up the bottom half of her body, and the words “begins with love” stretch across the bottom. In another, a woman in black panties and high heels kneels, blindfolded by a long scarf. Words like “lust,” “offer,” and “Motor Inn” are scattered across the canvas.
Though some of the pieces are slightly titillating, Goodman says the show is family-friendly. “It’s not a pornography show by any means,” he says. “There might be a little nudity in it, but I think for the most part it’s just kind of dirty, but fun at the same time.”
He adds, “That part in all of us that wants to be living on the edge a little bit, hopefully this will bring that out a little bit.”
In one of the more innocuous collages, a man in a sharp suit and sunglasses smokes a cigarette. Images of a classic car and a woman’s face are visible to the side, surrounded by various patterns and colors and words like “reveal,” “how to,” and “vanish.”
“There is a meaning for me,” Goodman says. “It’s just taking something old that maybe people have forgotten about, that’s been sitting in an attic or a flea market for years collecting dust, it’s taking something old and trying to bring it back to life through color or composition.
“These are referencing sex, broken home life, just kind of that distorted Americana feel,” he adds.
While Smut and Paste is mainly focused on Goodman’s collage work, he’ll bring along some larger mixed-media pieces as well. But there are a few creations — namely commissions — he’ll be leaving behind.
“Believe me, I’ve painted a lot of things over the years I haven’t enjoyed painting,” he says. “People’s sail boats or little poodles — but that’s the sacrifice. I’m still getting to do what I love.
“I work my ass off, this is all I do,” he adds. “I create every single day, and I love it. I’m about to be 30, and if you would have told me that I could make a living doing my art 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.”