If you haven’t heard of Timothy Goodman, you’ve probably seen his work. The graphic designer’s murals can be spotted just about everywhere—from the walls of your local Target to the entry of a neighborhood coffee shop—more often than not, spanning in size and always intricate with thoughtful detail. If you consider yourself a true fan of Goodman’s work, you probably recall 40 Days of Dating, a love and dating experiment he conducted and beautifully documented with close friend Jessica Walsh (none other than the Domino Spring ’17 cover girl). It’s safe to say that the duo shot into the limelight following the success of the blog-turned-book-turned-future motion picture, but then again, Goodman’s unique style and affinity for design may also have had something to do with it.
On a quaint street over on the east side of Washington Square Park, you’ll find the light-filled studio that Goodman calls home. Built in 1891, the building’s initial purpose served as a hat factory, a characteristic Goodman attributes to the home’s “odd Manhattan charm.” At just 700-square-feet, it’s the apartment’s 14-foot ceilings that give it its edge. Well, that and the ideally placed windows, which flood the entire space with an abundance of natural light.
The studio’s design is exactly as one would imagine it to be: minimalist, though not too bare, and thoughtfully curated with no shortage of color or vibrant pattern. Immediately upon stepping inside, you’re greeted by a graphic mural, done by Goodman himself, which transforms the relatively compact entry into a walk-in work of art. “The mural I created in my entrance foyer is something most people really dig,” says Goodman. “I wanted to do something in the space that truly made my place feel unique and ‘me,’ outside of just decorating it.”
Extending from the floor to the ceiling and even all the way to the kitchen, situated directly nearby, the black-and-white design cleverly sets the mood for what’s to come, albeit careful to not give away too much, decoratively speaking, of course.
It’s difficult to pinpoint Goodman’s decorative aesthetic to a T. Naturally, the artist’s style is not one that can be confined to a specific category. “My aesthetic is basically a hybrid of Tom Hanks’ loft apartment in the movie BIG and a MoMA bookstore,” says Goodman. “So basically, it’s ‘30-something neat-freak art boy’ meets ‘12-year-old little kid.’ And if you know me, that’s pretty much me.”
That said, Goodman still sees himself as sort of a minimalist, a feature you’ll instantly notice the moment you get a peek of his immaculate home. Every piece, be it a framed work of art, a vase, bookshelf, or even the sofa, is thoughtfully placed—every item serving a unique purpose, be it functional or aesthetic. A trait Goodman resolves is a byproduct of having lived in small NYC apartments for the majority of his adult life.
“I literally throw anything I don’t need away,” he notes, adding that his artistic endeavors can relate to that practice as well. “When it comes to my artwork, I like to say a lot of things, sometimes complicated things, in very simple ways with my writing and line drawings. My home is definitely a mirror of my work in a lot of ways—utilizing the most with the least.”
It should go without saying that one of the more iconic moments in Goodman’s home would have to be his massive art display, which extends along the entirety of a single wall. The whitewashed space serves as a natural backdrop for Goodman’s growing art collection, one which he has been consistently working on for the past four years. “When I moved in here two years ago, I knew that the 14-foot-high wall had to be a gallery wall for all the framed art,” recalls Goodman. “It’s adjacent to my brick wall, which doesn’t have much on it, and I love the contrast.”
“My home is definitely a mirror of my work in a lot of ways—utilizing the most with the least.”
Comprising an eclectic assortment of works, every one of the pieces in the gallery bears an element of significance. “It’s been important for me to hang my friends’ artwork up—people who influence and inspire me all the time— like my good friends Jessica Walsh, Gemma O’Brien, and Shantell Martin,” he adds.
The gallery wall, of course, also comes decked with his personal works, including what Goodman refers to as his “milestone” piece (a TIME mag cover) as well as artwork from his show in Paris’s Colette. “I’m a very sentimental person, so those pieces remind me of what I’ve done and how much more I still want to do.”
And sure enough, the vivid element of differentiation between the textures and hues are nothing short of inspired. Such qualities are a clear hallmark of Goodman’s creative direction and how he approaches his craft. An unapologetic use of color cleverly peppered throughout his home highlight the unique aesthetic the artist has garnered. “I basically freestyled the entire wall on one long Sunday,” he recalls, “It’s funny, my friends come over and ask if I had a decorator do that wall.”
When it came to settling on the design of his home, Goodman sought to create a space that could double as a refuge, a place where he could unwind and feel proud to return to after an extensive travel schedule. “When I am home, I really love being home. It took me two years to finally get my place together. It’s my first real adult apartment, something I waited a long time for,” he states. And given the stunning space that Goodman has created, it should come as no surprise that he’s looking to spend a little more time there and a little less time abroad. “I’ve been having people over a lot, and this summer has been a lot of roof action with friends and dinners. I’ve been purposefully not doing as much traveling for work recently and I’m thinking of getting a dog for the home.”
Take one look around Goodman’s studio and you will notice the abundant array of books: stacked, piled, and neatly arranged, they’re scattered throughout, just as much a part of the decor as the color and his art combined, functioning as decorative accents that embody both form and function. “Having a lot of books reminds me of my grandparents, who are avid readers. They have one room in their home that they call ‘the library,’” says Goodman. “Most of my ‘real’ books are in compartments under my bed, but I have so many big art and design books that I’ve collected since art school.”
“My aesthetic is basically a hybrid of Tom Hanks’ loft apartment in the movie BIG and a MoMA bookstore.”
As for his favorite spot in the apartment? Goodman is all about those beautifully curated shelves. “My first job after graduating was a book jacket designer at Simon & Schuster; it was my ultimate dream. I left that job after a year and I brought with me (aka borrowed, aka stole) some of my favorite covers,” he muses. Said covers are ultimately what inspired Goodman to be a designer, ones he still hangs on to this very day. “I love collecting books from friends and people I know and displaying them on my shelves. Their creativity inspires me constantly.”
Being a massive fan of jazz (as well as a fan of the history of jazz), Goodman rendered a custom neon light to hang above his bed. “‘West End Blues’ is my favorite jazz song, which was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1928. I did the lettering and design, and my friends at Lite Brite Neon created the sign.”
Ahead, Goodman dishes on life in New York and the “pinch me” moment he still has yet to get over.
What’s the hardest thing about living in New York?
The hardest thing about living in NY is also one of the greatest things. On one hand, I am constantly inspired and fulfilled by the energy and all the people. On the other hand, when I’m feeling down, the energy and all people can have me feeling worse.
The best part of living in New York?
The people. I don’t believe that I’d personally be doing what I’m doing, career-wise, if it wasn’t for this place and the friends and mentors I’ve had along the way. I was raised in Cleveland, but I grew up and became the person I aspired to be in NYC (and I’m still working on that person). In a lot of ways, you can become anyone you want here, but in a town like New York, it’s the unique people you meet along the way who bring meaning to it all.
Can you pinpoint a specific moment in your life that felt like your “I made it” moment?
I don’t know if there was one thing particularly; it’s been an ongoing variety mix of projects and creations specifically over the past five years: murals, personal art, commercial art, brand collabs, authoring books, and social experiments. For me, it’s always about the latest thing I’ve done, and dropping my own global Uniqlo collection in December was very special. I recently learned that the collection, which contained 1 million units, is almost sold out worldwide now in 7 months. I’m definitely pinching myself.
This story originally published August 2018; it has been updated.