Q&A with Barry Goodman

Posted in In the Studio by Rise Art on 14th July 2020

Although he trained at the London College of Printing, Barry Goodman originally dreamed of becoming an architect. These aspirations are clear to see in his prints, showcasing the beauty and grandeur of large buildings and machinery. He addresses these subjects from a design and advertising perspective and draws upon influences from both sides of the pond to create these transatlantic works.

Anyone familiar with life in the big city will recognise some of the shapes and structures that pop up in Barry Goodman’s art. The piece Bank via Canary Wharf is a perfect example of his vision of the city. In this print a train line looms over the viewer’s perspective, creating a sense of awe at the large and sometimes overwhelming structures that surround us in cities. It’s easy to feel dwarfed by the scale of these buildings, and Barry manages to accurately convey the mixture of wonder and apprehension that we can feel in urban landscapes.

Bank via Canary Wharf by Barry Goodman


Another theme that underpins much of Barry Goodman’s prints is that of advertising culture. Making use of popular imagery, bright colours and punchy slogans, Barry creates bold and interesting prints that remind us of the golden age of advertising. This is encapsulated by The Sunshine Express, where he explores a love of American culture and the beauty of machinery. In this highly stylised print, the cut-out images of palm trees and a bright yellow sun create a feeling of optimism that is so typical of advertising imagery. 

The Sunshine Express by Barry Goodman


While many of his prints make generous use of colour, Barry is not afraid of creating art in black and white. The result is striking and effective, with pieces like Ghetto Blaster creating a sense of nostalgia with their grayscale palette. It can take courage to work with bright colours effectively, yet sometimes it’s even more of a challenge to make a black and white piece that stands out from the rest.

Ghetto Blaster by Barry Goodman


We were curious to find out a little more about this work from the artist himself, so we caught up with Barry to ask him some questions about his background as an artist and where he finds inspiration.

The house by Barry Goodman


Have you always been interested in art? What were some of your earliest artworks like?

Yes, from a very young age. I originally intended to become an architect and have always had a fascination for buildings and structures. I used to spend hours upon hours drawing buildings, cities, bridges, roads – you name it. These were sometimes real and at other times pulled from my imagination. Huge, Brutalist structures have always appealed to me in particular. I can remember my first visit to the South Bank complex aged six - I was in awe.

Southbank by Barry Goodman


Which artist do you admire the most? Why?

I admire many artists. I have been influenced by a number of American 20th century artists, including Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and Richard Diebenkorn to name a few. But for the top spot I will nominate Charles Demuth, one of the pioneers of the Precisionist movement.

The Precisionists were inspired by the new machine age of 1920’s and 1930’s America. Demuth, along with the rest of the group, captured the true spirit and scientific modernity of monumental structures such as power stations and skyscrapers. From a fairly young age I was interested in their subject matter and uncompromising graphic style.

I-10 New Orleans by Barry Goodman


What themes do you explore in your artwork? Why are these important to you?

If I had to encapsulate this in two words then I would say: travel and ephemera. My background in design and advertising means that the disposable and built-in obsolescence of our world are always at the front of my mind. I am intrigued by used, well-worn and discarded objects, whether that be an A-to-Z Map, piece of packaging, car or building, and by the idea that its replacement will befall the same fate.

New 70 by Barry Goodman


Which piece is your proudest creation and why?

I think I have yet to create my masterpiece.

Explore the beauty of machinery and architecture through the lens of Barry Goodman. Making use of bold colours, sleek lines and his unique advertising perspective, Barry creates interesting prints that aren’t easily forgotten. These prints make a great addition to any collection, whether you’re just starting out or have been collecting for years. Take a look for yourself and browse Barry Goodman prints, or discover our wider range of prints.