Headshot of Rob Goodman

The Faculty Five is a new series where we’ll learn more about Moore’s talented faculty and what they’re up to in and out of the classroom—through five quick questions. First up is Rob Goodman, Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Foundation, whose new interactive mural project, Future Valley, launched in December with an accompanying augmented reality app. Be sure to visit the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia soon to check out the project!

Future Valley project at dusk

What’s your earliest memory of being creative or knowing that you wanted to do something creative with your life?

Like most kids, I had a rich, imaginative world filled with games and alternate realities and potential futures. I think people that pursue creative careers don’t abandon that sense of wonder and possibility. I never actively decided to pursue a creative life because there really wasn’t another option. Creativity is an orientation to the world that is deeply connected to who I am and how I process information. I feel very lucky to work in a creative community surrounded by people who similarly see art and design as space to explore possibility.

Who is the artist or designer who has influenced you most and why?

I’m influenced by both popular culture and painting. I can’t identify one person or thing, so I’ll offer a constellation of influences that roughly outline my artistic point of view. I’m very seduced by the possibilities of paint. It is an evocative medium that measures touch, pressure and movement, and aligns those bodily senses with sight. Artists like Manet explore that intersection and tension, and I’m very inspired by his paintings. Similarly, Baroque paintings in general are dense and dramatic and overwhelming in a way that renders sight as a physical sensation. I’m also very drawn to big and ostentatious spectacles, especially when the theatricality is haptic and disorienting.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently, professionally or otherwise?

I recently collaborated with a friend and colleague, David Guinn, to create Future Valley, a large public space that includes two murals, a plaza with sculptural seating, and embedded flexi neon lighting in both murals and the ground plane of the plaza itself. It was exciting to make such an immersive space that expands the space of a painting into three dimensions, with distinct viewing possibilities at night and during the day. Recently, we added an augmented reality component to the project that animates the murals, adds some historical context for the work, and builds speculative architecture within the plaza itself. It is a totally immersive space that combines the real and virtual, which is a first for me!

What is it like in your classroom at Moore?

I like to think of my classroom as both fun and focused. I strive to cultivate an atmosphere in which students feel at ease talking about their work openly and honestly. Class time is usually spent discussing readings, looking at artworks, demonstrating possible strategies for developing artworks and collaboratively problem solving issues that arise in students’ work. It is important to me that my classroom is a space for students to self-actualize. I provide them the skills and resources they need to develop self-sustaining and meaningful lives as artists.  

If Moore had a mascot, what would it be?

Philadelphia is the city of Gritty and the Phanatic. I don’t see why Moore shouldn’t have a similarly interesting or unusual mascot. Maybe Moore’s mascot comes to Moore from some faraway place. They arrive at Moore, immediately find community and embrace their interesting and unusual self!

Headshot by Dave Rizzio. Image of Future Valley Plaza, an interactive public art project by Robert Goodman and David Guinn, courtesy of the artists.