The Heroine’s Journey of Connie Goldman

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Its uniqueness. I love that it’s purely my own creation. It accurately reflects my selfhood. I have discovered my influences mostly in hindsight. When I’ve come across someone whose work has similar concerns my faith in the common experience of humankind is stirred. I also love my color. It’s the most delicious part of painting.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Being the queen of and the last word in my own studio. Following my instincts and having it pay off successfully. Trusting my own abilities and vision is the most gratifying part of a creative life. Being healthy. My family being healthy. My dogs being healthy.

What is my greatest fear? I fear being unable for any reason to make art. I also fear being the last of my family and friends to die. I fear that all my art will go into a trash bin after I die. I may circumvent this by making a project of throwing out my own work in a few years.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? My tendency toward anxiety and my social awkwardness. My stupid need to have the last word.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Patsy Krebs. She’s a friend and a great artist and intellect. She has lived an uncompromisingly pure artist’s life, is unfailingly generous and funny, and she continues to inspire me. She has not gotten the renown that she deserves for her work.

What is my greatest extravagance? Art materials (I won’t go cheap) and Apple products.

On what occasion would I lie? To prevent someone from being hurt.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Tightness. Preconceptions. I work to let go of preconceptions and it always pays off.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Now. In my studio.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’d love to stop trying to fill the silences between myself and other people. Especially since I’m someone who highly appreciates open spaces both in the world and in art. I’d like to relax and let people see how quiet I really am. I think it comes across in my work, but I don’t know that it comes across in my one to one interactions. I wish I was a more positive person, too. I’ve been told that I have a Cassandra complex. I console myself by saying that at least Cassandra was right.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Finding my way to abstraction. Working at it until it finally made sense. It was a long process for me. I could not work this way if I didn’t discover that it was the best way to convey what I wanted to convey. My life changed when I finally arrived at and fully understood it.

Where would I most like to live? Sometimes I think I’d like to live in New York City so I could go to the museums all the time. But I can neither afford to nor could I stand the noise and crowding.

What is my most treasured possession? My daughter, although she’s by no means a possession. I cherish items I inherited from my parents. They remind me of and let me feel close to them now that they are deceased. Also notes and correspondence from my art school teachers.

What is my most marked characteristic? My sense of humor. What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The green rolling hills during the rainy season. The wild oak trees in the local landscape. They remind me of human figures. As I live in a farming area, there are lots of animals around which I love very much.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Being a native of the border of Texas and Mexico, it’s any place where I can find really good Mexican food. Otherwise it would be somewhere where I can get steamed clams.

What books influenced my life and how? A collection of Basho Haikus was instrumental in my understanding of the importance of space between words in a poem or a book, images in a painting, and musical notes. It also led me to look at Japanese literati painters such as Sesshu and Sesson who emphasized the void in images. In fiction, The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy. Reading it I discovered my love of succinct yet full language. I came to his writing at the time that I was stripping my work down to its essential parts. Also, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. The book is magical. It poetically depicts a transformation from despair to redemption.

Who are my favorite writers? McCarthy is one of them. Haruki Murakami, Thomas Hardy… I have a lot of favorites. I think Paul Simon, although a musician, is a great writer. I can comfortably say that now that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel for literature.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Paul Simon, Neil Finn, Mark Knopfler. All are great writers with great melodic gifts.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I don’t really think in those terms so I’ll give an off the wall answer. Nancy Drew. I know it’s a silly sounding answer. I used to love those books so much as a kid. I’d get a new one and read the entire thing in a day. That experience contributed to a lifelong love of reading. From an adult’s perspective, Nancy was a great role model. I can’t think of a contemporary heroine or hero, especially since I love dark, dark fiction.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My mentors are the most significant heroes in my own life. They were people other than my family who believed in me when I needed believers. Mrs. Lewis, my physical education teacher who recognized my athletic talents and encouraged my athletic activities. Mr. Depew, my history teacher who recognized that I was a good kid and sent home a progress report saying that I was special in 10th grade. Mr. Withholder, my junior high school art teacher who looked at my macramé creation and who at first didn’t believe that I had made it. When I said that I had he said, “Well, you are a true macramé artist”. My college professor of Introduction to English Composition, Dr. Lesser, who commented on one of my papers that my analysis of “Flowering Judas” was brilliant. Then my art teachers who encouraged me – Bruce McGaw, Francis McCormack, Julius Hatofsky, and of course, Patsy Krebs. I don’t regard them as heroes because they said I was good. They’re heroic because they believed in me and took me seriously. Encouragement from teachers can make a huge impact on a student’s life. My father was a hero because he survived the Holocaust with his compassion and dignity intact. My mother for her selflessness and her desire to help people when she could have settled on being a society maven. If you want me to mention people whom I don’t know, then I’d say that Elie Wiesel was a great hero.

Which movie would I recommend that people see once in a lifetime? Immortal Beloved, The Sea Inside.

What role plays art in my life and work? Aside from my family, art occupies a central role in my life. I wouldn’t be myself without art.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband, Ben Goldman.

With whom would I like to work in 2017? I’d like to continue working with my wonderful dealer, Chandra Cerrito. She’s an open-minded, kind, and respectful person. I’m lucky to work with her.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017? It would be nice to meet some of the bigwigs of the art world both in the Bay Area and in the larger art world. I’d like to be a known entity to them. Being a known entity facilitates professional relationships and exhibition opportunities. I’m not comfortable with the commercial side of being an artist, and establishing connections is something I need to work on.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? I’m looking forward to completing a body of work in which I’ve been immersed for two years. The series is titled, “Genea”. Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I will have a solo exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary in Oakland, CA in October, 2017.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I don’t think serious artists ever really retire. Even if for whatever reason they cannot make art as they always have, there’s almost always a way to make art. One of the most alluring things about art is that one can never really master it. Yes, an artist can become very proficient in certain mediums, but there’s always something to learn. There are also endless ways to express or convey an idea. The learning curve is huge in art. Given the time and opportunity I would love to learn more about sculpture, digital art, literally many art forms that would lend themselves to giving form to my ideas – ones I haven’t yet tried.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Susan Scott, Suzan Shutan, Kay Telfer Cousineau, Chiyomi Longo, M Forester Hagan.

How can you contact me?


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