2013 Recipient: Damian Goidich

Artist Statement

The focus of my work is based on my memories. These memories are an integral part of my inner-monologue and the mental argument I carry on with myself every day. They are primarily based on emotion - experiences and situations that have become distorted over time. The good experiences have been overshadowed by a hyper-concentration on the bad ones, throwing me off balance. A portion of the work presented in this thesis is my reaction to this state of mind, of visually representing this situation and reconciling with myself.

No specific memory informs each individual piece, but rather past events taken as a whole provide the source for the drawings and their content. The recollection of inappropriate and hurtful words, of situations and relationships that ended in discord has become interchangeable with one another. When I try to remember the specifics of any given memory, my inability to do so creates a conundrum. Introspection ends in a hind-sighted reaction to the retrieval of those sensations and memories. This causes a distortion: by reacting emotionally to the impressions of feelings and situations contained by memory, I can never really remember the truth of the occurrence or the sensation.

The mind, in all its imperfections, will splinter past events and piece together only bits of the truth, for good or ill. What is left is a recollection based in part on fragmented reality and an amplification of emotional distortions.

 

Damian Goidich

“The Things I Do”

Biography

Damian Goidich’s love of imagery began early in life while observing his father draw. “My father was an accomplished artist, straddling two worlds as an advertising artist and an iconographer in the Byzantine style. He would draw cartoons of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to amuse me, and I was fascinated by the magic that seemingly flowed from his deft hand through his pencil. Art became an obsession for me, and I sketched and scribbled every waking moment.”

While his passion for drawing continued into early adulthood, Damian didn’t consider it as a way of life until a fortunate turn of events changed his outlook. “ After high school I attended the University of Michigan believing I was going to be an economist, a lawyer, or a political science major. While there I took a basic drawing course as an elective. I was essentially a self-taught artist, but being exposed to advanced art instruction opened my eyes to the possibility of actually getting better at it. It never occurred to me that the pursuit of Art could actually be a way of life.”

After studying at U of M for a year, Damian chose to transfer to Kendall for a more in-depth education in Art. “I knew Kendall had a reputation of being one of the premiere art colleges in the Midwest, and once I visited the school and saw the incredible level of skill on display, I knew I this was the place for me.” Absorbing all the teaching and guidance Kendall had to offer, Damian earned his BFA in Illustration and received an honorable mention from the Society of Illustrators Annual Student Competition. “That honorable mention proved to be a real blessing – it opened up many opportunities that launched my career.”

Damian went on to become a freelance Illustrator, working primarily for the education industry creating black and white spot illustrations for science-orientated manuals, brochures and textbooks. After many years in the industry, the lure of commercial art had run its course. “I eventually burned out. My father once told me that Illustration was a young person’s game. At first I didn’t understand what he meant, but towards the end of my commercial tenure I began to see the wisdom of his words. I found it harder to find satisfaction in solving my client’s art problems. I wanted to solve my own art problems, to find my own voice and unique expression in Art.” Following a period of time pursuing private commissions and gallery work, a chance encounter with a former professor presented him with an unexpected opportunity. “I stopped by Kendall to say hello to Jon McDonald, the current Chair of the Illustration Program and one of my mentors. He promptly offered me a teaching position!”

For the past seven years Damian has been serving as an adjunct Instructor in the Illustration department, concentrating primarily in life drawing and oil painting. “I really do enjoy teaching, especially the use of methods and materials. I guess it’s a logical progression from my youth and the fascination with Art’s magic. One of the ideas I try to convey to my students is the wonder that can be experienced by putting pencil to paper or brush to canvas – it’s humbling to think about how the mind creates an idea, then compulsively expresses that idea visually onto a surface with a hunk of burnt wood or ground up pigment. It’s what keeps me going.”

His love of teaching finally directed Damian to pursue his advanced degree in Art. “I realized that teaching was now my new focus, and that to do it full time would require me to get an MFA. I researched and applied to various colleges around the country, but the Graduate Drawing Program at Kendall proved to be the strongest program out there.”

Under the tutelage of Deborah Rockman, Chair of the Drawing Program at Kendall and the other skilled instructors within the graduate drawing program, Damian found a new expressive voice for his creative outlet. “Deb was instrumental in teaching me how to draw as an undergraduate at Kendall. She is incredibly dedicated to the Fine Arts and expects a serious level of commitment on the part of her students. She really pushed me to step outside my limited understanding of what Art is and explore the myriad dimensions that Art has to offer. I doubt I would be creating the type of work I have over the course of my graduate education if it weren’t for the exceptional level of guidance I have received at Kendall. I believe in the work I make as a sincere practicing artist, and I hope to impart that same level of honest commitment to my students as an instructor.”

Juror's Comments

Damian Goidich’s piece is eloquent and moving, the draftsmanship so compelling that it draws you in and keeps you there. The physical relationship of the two figures seated one behind the other and the words written above skillfully suggest an inner monologue between the past and present of the same person. The poses are so true to life that the gestural strokes within and around the figures are free to jab or flow, heightening the emotional impact. Art is often driven by intensely personal experience, but it takes a special talent to capture and convey it so successfully.

-Cindy Buckner, Juror