Jun 24

NoseGo Knows, the full interview

by: Steve Weinik

Yis Goodwin, aka NoseGo, is a rising art star in galleries and streets from LA to the UK. He’s also a longtime instructor with the Mural Arts Education Program, currently teaching the Artrepreneurs class at the Charter High School for Art and Design (CHAD) in Center City, Philadelphia. We caught up with him to talk about his past, present, and future. An abridged version of this interview appeared in our latest newsletter, but here is the full conversation:

Did you grow up in Philadelphia?

I grew up on 21st and Bainbridge. I loved growing up in that neighborhood. It’s a little bit different now. Not that it was ever a bad neighborhood, but now it’s more upper class. I lived there until I was 16, then my family and I moved to the cusp of Germantown and Mt. Airy. When I was 19, I moved back to Center City.

When and how did you decide to pursue a career as an artist?

I’ve always wanted to be an artist of some sort. Creative in any way. My BFA is in film and digital video [at University of the Arts] but I think ultimately I’ve always wanted to be more of a visual, illustrative type artist, and throughout college even through film classes I was still doing the type of work that I’m doing now, it’s just grown a little bit from then. I went to CAPA [Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts] and CAPA was wonderful. I had a brilliant teacher named Miss Kunin and at the time I wasn’t the biggest fan because she was really hard on us, but I appreciate it because she instilled a lot of the foundation that I use today; like only painting with primary colors and you know, can’t use black – even though I use black sometimes now (laughs)… But I still hold a lot of her principles to this day and I appreciate her for that, definitely.

What’s your teaching style?

There’s structure, but I make sure to leave enough [room] that the kids have a voice, because I think one of the most frustrating things was when I wanted to do something a certain way, and I wanted to learn what they were teaching. But it was so strict that I either got bored with it or I was just not really into it because the whole point of being an artist is that you have a voice, and if they don’t have one, then what’s the point?

Can you tell us a little about your class with Mural Arts?

Yeah! It’s called Artrepreneurs and it helps kids that want to pursue careers as artists or creatives. Even though there’s no right or wrong way – I think that’s the most interesting thing about being an entrepreneur – there are definitely steps that you make like business plans, proper document work and stuff of that nature, but it’s all about being unique enough that you stand out so that you can catch that audience and catch that niche and then ride that wave to grow whatever business that you’re doing. One of the key things that we try to teach is that they need to be different. Don’t try to be what they admire. It’s okay to take inspiration but you have to make it your own.

So you’re not sitting down going over legal documents and writing business plans? Is the direction of the class is centered around creativity?

There’s a little bit of that. We have a gentleman, Scott, who comes in and he helps a lot with the public speaking aspects, and with the pitch giving aspects that take place, and that’s been amazing. Definitely something that I wish that I had at their age.

Are you working on any Mural Arts projects outside of our Art Education department?

I’m working on one right now for Paine’s Park with (Nathaniel Lee) and that should be a fun one. It’s gonna be an active one because it’s due in a month and I found that out last Thursday!

What are you working on outside of Mural Arts?

There’s a few things that I’m really excited about. There’s a gallery I’ve always wanted to work with out in LA – I have a good bit of shows with them – they’re called Thinkspace. I’m showing with them this May, and also they’re doing a show here in Philly at Gallery 309. They’re having me back out in December for one group show and then a duo show with an artist I really like from Mexico City, called Curiot. And I’ll also have my first UK solo show out in Newcastle with the gallery Unit-44 and I’m really looking forward to that. They put on amazing shows and their artist lineup is incredible. I’ll be doing a mural out there as well and a mural out in LA in December as well for that exhibition. Locally, I have a solo show coming up in March at the James Oliver Gallery. I haven’t done anything too substantial in the past few months in Philadelphia, so hopefully we get a nice little turnout for that.

Is there a difference or a tension between the work you do with Mural Arts and your personal work outside of the organization?

It’s very much connected. I look at everything as a whole, and for me being an artist, the work I do with the kids is my way of contributing. I wish I had this opportunity when I was their age; and some of those kids now intern with me during the weekend and I look at everything that I’m doing as just one voice. It’s not as if I’m changing who I am with them. They very much know what I do outside of class and I’m just there to hopefully motivate them and uplift them.

With all your success, are you planning on staying in Philadelphia?

(Laughs) A lot of people ask me that! Seriously, Philadelphia is a home to me. I like working in New York and I do work [there] from time to time… I just worked with Nickelodeon. New York’s so close and I feel like I can still do work there and not live there. I love being an artist from Philadelphia.

Photos by NoseGo

Last updated: Feb 3, 2016

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