My name is Devin Goebel. I am 24. I was born and raised in a tiny little Ohio town and currently work as a fine artist in Nashville, Tennessee. I use various media to make work about pretty mundane experiences that I find humor in.
Do you have a day job? What does that look like?
I work as a designer/printer at Hatch Show Print, a 137 year old letterpress print shop. So I make letterpress posters for anything from concerts (mostly concerts), to NASCAR races, to pharmaceutical conferences. It's fun.
Work and life balance. What does a typical day look like? Routines or Rituals?
Most nights I go to bed with the intention of waking up, making coffee and breakfast, eating it, and then riding my bike into work. Instead, I wake up with barely enough time to shower, get dressed and drive myself to work. Then I work 9-5. Once 5 rolls around I’m usually exhausted. Luckily my studio is one wrong turn on my way home from work so all I have to do is to force myself to make that one turn and I’m at my studio. Once I’m at my studio I can force myself to be there for a while. I’ve learned to make the most of whatever amount of time I can spend in the studio, and to not feel guilty if I only have the energy for a couple of hours. Someday I’ll have a great routine, but for now it's just being present in the studio with whatever time I have.
You work across several different mediums and materials. How did you get to that place?
Lack of contentment really. I’ve never found one medium that completely satisfies me. Paired with that, my education was pretty broad. I technically studied printmaking, but took a lot of classes in painting, sculpture, graphic design, etc. In most projects, materials were left up to me. That kind of accelerated my curiosity for working with different materials. I would find a material or process that interested me, most the time having a very slight idea of what I was doing, and just go for it. Usually they turned out. I’m still in that state of mind. I just have more time to figure materials out.
How has your work developed over the last couple years?
These past two years have been kind of a weird time. A lot of transitions have happened in my work. Pool Party came up really unexpectedly. It wasn’t like anything I had ever made before. All throughout school I thought serious artists had to make serious work. If work was considered “playful” in critiques it usually was a nice way of saying, “it looks like you had a lot of fun making this, but it’s not strong work.” After making Pool Party I had a hard time figuring out what was next. Once I moved to Nashville and set up my studio, I spent the next couple of months processing how this new work fit into everything I had made previously. I tried to merge the two, but everything felt stale and forced. It wasn’t until these past couple of months where I finally just said fuck it, I’m 24, I don’t have to have everything figured out. I just need to make art that I am excited about, regardless if it fits seamlessly into everything I have made before. So that’s where I’m at right now. I love the weird, playful work I’m making. We’ll see where it goes.
All throughout school I thought serious artists had to make serious work. If work was considered “playful” in critiques it usually was a nice way of saying, “it looks like you had a lot of fun making this, but it’s not strong work.”
Speaking of your last solo show Pool Party, how did you decide the direction you would take the garden hose, lawn chairs and inflatable pool in particular?
The whole series started with the pool. I saw an inflatable pool one day and wanted to make a painting with one attached to it. I sketched several iterations of it and then bought the pool. Once I had it blown up in my studio I played around with it and that’s when I found the final form for the inflatable pool and came up with the projection idea instead of a painting. The direction of the garden hose and the lawn chairs was pretty much decided upon first sketch. The idea to add the spigot to the hose came later. I also played around with the idea of adding a sprinkler to the end of the hose, but it didn’t make the cut.
Are you trying to communicate anything in particular with your work?
My work starts with simply wanting to communicate absurdities I find when I overthink events generally accepted as human experience. Once I start making the pieces and thinking deeper about the objects I choose and the way I abstract them, different themes and concepts emerge for me. Really though, I’m just trying to create a gallery experience that on the surface is pretty humorous and feel-good, but after spending some time with the pieces you get those sad, uncomfortable undertones.
What project are you working on now or excited to start?
I’m just starting on a series inspired by yard sales. Last summer I started taking interest in them. I find them kind of odd. People putting all of the shit they don’t want anymore into their yard on tables or blankets and inviting strangers to come buy it. They’re so weird, but also fantastic. I kept that idea in the back of my mind not knowing how it would eventually turn up in my art. This summer I decided to start in on it. I decided that I would go to a few yard sales every weekend and buy items that I connected with. The plan is to take this collection of items and make pieces with them or inspired by them. That’s the start. I’m not quite sure yet where it’s going.
Okay, Sound of Music Julie Andrews/Maria question — what are a few of your favorite things?
Poorly hand-drawn signs, 90’s hip-hop and r&b, woodless graphite pencils. breakfast potatoes, gin cocktails
Favorite living artists?
Robert Gober, Claes Oldenburg, Bruce Nauman, Urs Fischer, Wendy White, Greg Bogin.
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If you around Nashville, Devin and his coworkers at Hatch Print will be showing some personal work at the Haley Gallery. Moonlightin’ opens December 3rd 6-9pm.