Rachel Goodwin

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Where are you from?

I grew up in New Orleans.


Does that influence your art at all?

Absolutely. I grew up with Mardi Gras, which is the most important holiday in my family. Growing up around vibrant, bold colors and graphics influenced everything I do.


How would you describe your artistic style?

I mainly work abstract, and I’m really drawn to concentric circles and spheres. Most of the time I work with recycled materials, and I like to resuscitate old objects. One of the reasons I was so excited about this project is because I get to repurpose an old object. That’s one of my favorite things to do.


This medium is right up your alley!

Yeah, I saw ‘recycled’ and ‘circular’ and just freaked out.


What inspired this specific design?

This piece is called Sungazing and it’s inspired by a painting that I created a while ago. I’ll tell you the pieces and parts of this mural. Basically, the red is a silhouette of the sphere of an onion flower. When I painted it, I realized that I wanted it to be red because it was starting to look like a blood drop to me. Overlaid on the red is this pattern that I borrowed from the surrealist painter Max Urst, who once painted a landscape with concentric suns in the sky. I wanted to make a piece with a huge drop of blood to represent how we’re all interconnected, which is how I view the universe. There are a bunch of these little suns and they all relate to each other, but often we can’t see the pattern because we’re so small. That’s my vision of the sky, of what’s out there. All of our blood looks the same when it drops to the ground.


Are you working with stencils for the circles or is this all freehand?

I drew the circles using a stencil and then went in and painted each one. The size only graduates in the center. I used a projector to paint the red, because I wanted it to be like the original painting. Toward the top I had to start improvising because the arm for the lift got in the way of the projector.


Do you have any current projects?

I have a piece at the Broadhead Center called ‘Balls and Beads,’ which is a hanging sculpture made out of recycled materials. I’ve been commissioned to make several ‘Balls and Beads’ pieces, one of which is for a woman who lives in Chapel Hill.


Do you have any favorite places in Durham?

My favorite places in Durham are with my friends and my family. That’s where I like to be.


Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m so grateful to Mural Durham for putting this community event together. It’s exciting when Duke can reach out to the community and do good in Durham. That’s when Duke shines.