AOH Brochure cover artist Gary Goodman tells us about his painting, poetry and what ‘being an artist’ means to him


Hi Gary
We are delighted that you are this year’s AOH brochure cover artist. Where can we see your work?
I’m showing for the 2nd time at Art@21, 21 Montpelier Crescent, Brighton in Nick Gardner’s beautiful house with 6 other artists.
Also, I have a one-person exhibition at The Old Market in Hove

How long does each exhibition go no for?
Art@21 finishes this Sunday 29th May.
The Old Market goes on till 13th June

You work as both a painter and poet – can you tell us how one artform influences the other?
I’m asked this a lot, but have never really come up with an answer that is satisfactory to me. I see them as being quite separate. My poems are everyday real observations and experiences; I’m not good at fiction. However, although my paintings are concerned with similar subject matter, there is more a sense of fantasy and a kind of allowable exaggeration.

Are there ways in which your approaches to each are very different?
During lockdown, I was able to paint, almost at will; but I was unable to write for many months, or I didn’t have the urge to write. I still wonder if that’s because I wasn’t having ‘experiences’ as such, or I was simply uninspired, having to shield with my daughter. When I painted all I needed to do was look out the window, or listen to the birds, insects etc on my daily walk – lack of traffic enabled this.

How do you see the role of an artist and what does being an artist mean to you?
This is the most difficult question to answer, but maybe the most simple too. I think the role of an artist is to just to make art. I’m not sure they should feel the need to do anything else, or for anyone to expect more from then. This might seem a bit naive, but it’s a heart thing, not a head thing in my case anyway. Obviously some artists are keen to have a relatable subject matter, a concept, an angle, or edge, to feel they are doing something more than giving people joy; they say things like ‘My art deals with…’ etc, but I don’t think we are counsellors or politicians or teachers or such-like. It’s not my impetus, but possibly is for other artists – or for art writers to still have a role, or a job.

My work isn’t ‘about’ anything. I’m simple, ant-intellectual. I once wrote a poem with the line “A gallery is a place to feel, not think”.  Maybe I was trying to be clever, but personally I make my art to please only myself, and if other people feel something, then that is fabulous.


See Gary’s work this weekend at:
Art at 21
21 Montpelier Crescent, Brighton, BN1 3JJ
On the Seven Dials Trail 

and also at:
The Old Market, Hove until 13th June