In the first of an ongoing interview series with the winners and top ranked artists in the 2018 Sparmax International Airbrush Competition, we asked the First Place winner of the Fine Art (Realism) category, Keith Goodson, about his journey and artwork, in what is a very enlightening discussion!
We also met with Keith at the Orlando Airbrush Getaway event, organised by Airbrush Action Magazine, in May 2018. (Photo from the event below)
Sparmax (S): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your background? When did you start airbrushing and what was the learning process was like for you?
Keith Goodson (KG): My name is Keith Goodson and I live in central Florida, United States. I have been working as a professional artist for over 25 years. Over these years I have worked in probably all the various mediums and techniques from airbrushing to traditional painting styles.
I started out in my late teens working with an airbrush and it found it to be a really amazing tool to use for my art. It seemed to come easy for me to be able to understand the fundamentals of how an airbrush works and how to make it work for me in creating works of art. I have always loved Fine Art especially realism. I remember as a passionate young artist I would buy books on modern artist that painted realism; I was so inspired by their talents and techniques.
S: Can you tell us a bit more about your winning entry piece? How / why did you choose it? How long did it take, and what inspired you?
KG: I have always loved painting realistic subject matter. I realized that a big part of creating your own body of work is to select a good subject matter. I started painting modern day Items that had related to things people would drink socially, mainly coffee, tea, and wine. So, I remember seeing a beautiful had crafted silver tea set at a friends house. I know that I just had to paint the subject. It was after that that I loved painting highly reflective items. The process for painting “Silver Tray” was very much a learning experience. All together the painting took 2 weeks to paint probably 8-10 hours a day.
S: What does airbrushing mean to you and what drives your passion for airbrushing and creating art? Also, how do you find the ideas for your other works?
KG: When I started airbrushing at a young age…I realized that it was not quite accepted as a technique for fine art. It didn’t really bother me I just realized that airbrushing is just another way to apply paint and to express yourself the way that makes you happy. I have always felt like a renaissance man when it comes to my art and I loved trying new things.
Being a self-employed full-time artist you have to steer clear of the preverbal “starving artist” mentality. So, sometimes you have paint what the client wants you to paint.
As far as my personal work and how I get me ideas I have learned to just be patient and wait for the ideas to come. I would do things that “pampered” my soul. Things like… go to a museum, see a movie, or anything that would inspire me.
S: What are your goals / targets for airbrushing? What do you want to achieve?
KG: At this stage in my life I would love to be able to teach what I have learned over the years to other young artist. I feel it’s my responsibility as an accomplished artist to pass down ideas and techniques to others.
I continue to work with the airbrush to not only do fine art, but murals and illustrations as well. I love to be able to use different kinds of paints as well such as gouache and watercolor. I am working on creating a new body of work to be able to show in museums and galleries.
S: Do you specialize or prefer to work on a specific surface?
KG: The type of surface I work on depends on the type of subject and what the project needs. Most of the time I prefer to paint on stretched canvas. I find that if you prime (gesso) your canvas several times and then wet-sand to get a smooth surface. In the past I have painted on hot-press illustration board, mostly for doing illustration work. Doing mural painting can be a challenge for airbrushing because of all the different surfaces. My preference is of course a smooth surface.
S: How would you describe your style(s) in airbrushing?
KG: I have learned to develop a style that I feel comfortable with and can just focus on creating instead of technique. I usually start with a detailed drawing of what I am going to paint. I then start to use my reference or still-life reference to begin mixing my colors of what I am going to spray. I then begin spraying those colors very freely on the canvas as if it were a blurry image. I then begin to tighten up my image as much as I can with the airbrush. I then begin a process of painting with a brush into the spray. I will fade back and forth this way with the airbrush as well.
S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?
KG: Airbrushing is a tool to create; it is a way to express yourself. This is not to say that learning about how to use the airbrush techniques is easy. It takes time to develop as an airbrush artist. My advice is to just be patient and just develop the skill and enjoy the process.
S: Do you have a website or blog? How can people reach you on social media?
KG: My website : http://www.keithgoodson.com