Street Artist Goons Is Winning Hearts with His World Famous Lips
Taking drawing classes in school, Goons never believed he had an impressive amount of artistic talent—he insists that he "wasn't born with skill."
Still, he always had the spirit for it. He moved frequently growing up, and as a result he was homeschooled. His parents gave him free reign to explore any interest he had during his free time, so Goons pursued the only thing he wanted to do: drawing.
He went onto college in Chicago, but the rigid structure of the education system drove a wedge between himself and his passion. Inspired by the thrill and “no rules” nature of street art, Goons left school and started hitting the streets; he’d noticed that there wasn’t a prominent poster-ing scene in the city, so he felt compelled to fill the void.
His whimsical characters came to life during this time, when Goons decided he’d need a recognizable constant. Thus his characters take on eccentric, almost grotesque characteristics, like stumpy necks, lopsided features, but most notoriously, luscious lips. Called "Goons," the name comes from a family quirk.
“My grandma would call people ‘goons’ if they were a little weird," says Goons, "like if they had a bunch of tattoos or something.” But the young artist-in-the-making saw them differently. “Those people still deserve a chance. With my name, I wanted to illustrate that even though she saw those people as weird. In her heart, she’d love them if she got to know them.”
Over the years, his canvas of choice has shifted from the facades of buildings to more conventional materials, as past troubles with the law have pushed him to play it safe and paint indoors. Through this, he’s been able to experiment with out-of-the-box art projects, even creating an entire line of printed clothing and designing album covers for musicians.
Though he was once a rather private person, Goons has been seeing the benefits to opening up, since it’s allowed him to create a viral marketing campaign with Orbit and become buddies with Kreayshawn (she owns several of his portraits in her home).
As of late, he’s been actively collaborating with other outlets, like the TV series Twin Peaks and rapper Jason Tyler; he also has plans to work with leading corporations in the near future. He's realized the growth potential that comes with entering commercial markets, with plans to "focus on giving people what they want in a way that’s easy to consume," since that will allow him to "establish a big cultural impact.”