Returning to school can be a challenge for anyone, but for someone who has already spent years working and thriving in their field, it is an entirely unique experience.
Such is the case for 48-year-old Nikolas Goodich, a local visual artist who’s decided to go back to school at the VCU School of the Arts to earn his BFA. For two decades, Goodich has made a living selling his drawings, and plexiglass assemblage paintings, and for him, going back to take classes, has been an enlightening artistic journey.
“Having been a focused dedicated artist my whole life I have evolved a very specific set of artistic practices, so going back to art school at 48 was a very conscious choice. It definitely is weird coming back to school considering I have been making art professionally for 20 years already,” he said. “It requires a different relationship with my professors than many of the other students because most of my professors are my age, so I feel as if I have to hold myself to a higher standard.”
Goodich found his love for art at the age of seven when his mother signed him up for his first painting class. Since then, he has honed his craft which eventually landed him acceptance to some of the most prestigious art schools in the nation such as Rhode Island School of Design, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at Tufts University. His work has been showcased all over the world including Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, and Scotland which helped fuel his career.
“I caught the travel bug early in my career, and living in Los Angeles gave me a lot of connections and friends in the art industry,” he said. “In 2003, I made a bunch of big commissions in downtown LA, one being a 10”x12” visual insulation on the side of a wall in downtown LA. That and utilizing Facebook really made my transition overseas worthwhile.”
Using plexiglass, glass, clear tape, plastics, and other transparent materials which are then painted or drawn upon, Goodich is able to experiment and create different layers and textures with his mixed-media artwork.
“My work revolves around the different levels of perception that certain individuals interact with. Using plexiglass is a way to pull the painting apart, it also allows you to do double-sided art and shine light through it to add yet another level of perception,” he said. “There is no formula for my art form, I have ideas of how I wish to combine different mediums, but there isn’t a structured predetermined thought process.”
When speaking to him about how others view his work, Goodich said, “everyone can see something completely different, it evokes different feelings for different people, the piece speaks to everyone in a slightly different way.” This process has been his therapy for over two decades. “I’ve always seen art as this incredible cornucopia of emotional and spiritual energy, this place where you can find the fruit of labor. It allows you to see things you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”
With all of the advances in the art world since he’s been in school, you can imagine it would be an adjustment. But compared to other major art schools across the country, Goodich said VCU is doing much more experimental works. It’s also played a major role in his work now.
“VCUarts being the number one public art school in the US, and knowing its reputation among artists, I knew that I would be getting the most up to date advanced type of formal and critical education possible,” he said. “So far, being in my second semester here, I am finding that my work is already gaining, maturing, and my entire approach is being refined; more cohesive use of materials, more refined conceptual understanding, and I am finding that my sense of where my work is going is clearer.”
When Goodich studied at RISD, BSMFA, and SAIC he focused on studio classes, but now at VCU, he’s putting his energy into academics, taking up English lit, economics, and art history classes.
This renaissance man is also a guitarist who’s recorded albums and toured the nation, and is also an avid writer. He specializes in fiction and is currently working on a novel that he hopes to get published in the near future in addition to some screenplays.
Goodich hopes to shock the Richmond art community as he paves his way into yet another chapter of his life. If you want to view some his work, check him out you can take a look at his gallery in Los Angeles here, and you can catch him on VCU campus working on pieces for his next art show coming up next fall.