Feature // JENARO GOODE
Jenaro Goode doesn’t talk much. When he does, you’re likely to hear him drop a few gems about taste, colors and insight on how to stream Dragonball Z in 2014. We found the young artist at his grandmother’s house moseying through the halls in Ksubi pants, Airmax 95’s and a customized hoodie. The 23-year-old south Texan says that he is waiting on a number of things; for his new studio to be completed, for Kanye’s artwork to finally drop, and most importantly for the horrors of “Gone Girl” to be erased from his mind. He is away in the back room with friend and artist Maalik, blaring Simpsons reruns and planning their next day drinking adventure. He spends most of his time right here, sitting up in an office chair in this bright, boxy pseudo-studio, covered in canvases that look even better in person. He tells us he spent Halloween here, painting Trunks and the rest of his imagination.
Have you always gone by Jenaro?
I just started going by my first name. My whole life I was going by my middle name, Raheim. I just didn’t like Jenaro until I got older. I’m not even going to lie, I’m going to come clean. It was probably James Bond. I like how his name sounds, ‘Bond, James Bond.’ Goode, Jenaro Goode. I’m going to run with it.
How would you describe yourself?
I don’t talk. I’m a super introvert. I’m the most comfortable when I’m painting here alone.
Do you feel like you surround yourself with people like that?
No, Tuck turns up, Malik turns up. I don’t have too many introvert friends. Just me.
What is GG?
God is good by Greater Goode.
You went out to L.A. last year to get a taste of the scene, but you chose to come back and stay here. Why?
It made me think that if I went out there it would be easier. But I’m not going to go. Not yet. I also think it would change me and I’m not ready to change. Houston is home. I’m going to cultivate it, I’m going to change it. You guys too, all these magazines. That’s probably why I want to stay. I want to change Houston. The whole ‘syrup sippin and slabs,’ I’m trying to change that. While still wearing cowboy boots. I’ll wear some cowboys boots. My brother has a pair. I actually want to get some.
Growing up, if I was doing what I was doing I’d probably be locked up, gang-banging doing some dumb shit. But, I think staying in the house and just creating took me away from all of that. I played football and sports my whole life, and it kept me out of trouble, but after high school I quit all of that and went and kept creating. I have always done art. I sold hoodies for $30 in school. Trap, trap.
What inspires you to create?
I think it’s natural man, I always created. But now I don’t wait for inspiration, I just do it. Now I literally wake up and just paint and listen to music. Back in the day it was like I would see something like the Graduation cover and would draw from that. But now it’s just natural, I go in everyday. I still get new inspiration, though. I’m still open to stuff. Like James Bond, I just got on that. I wasn’t really on it when I was younger, but now I even watch the old films with Sean Connery. He’s the man. I should have been taking notes back then.
Where do you grab the most inspiration from?
I would say just life. Just living and seeing different stuff. It’s really no particular thing, I can’t pinpoint it. You could say Dragonball Z, nudity, music, my favorite artists like Salvador Dali and Kaws. I’m so glad Kaws doesn’t do nude women he would have me beat.
What attracts you to guys like Dali and Kaws?
Colors. What really got me into KAWS was Kanye West. He got me into a lot of artists, with the Graduation cover and Murakami, KAWS and the 808’s and Heartbreaks cover, and Condo with the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy cover. He just has incredible taste.
What are you trying to get across with your work?
I’ve never thought about that. Speaking to the young kids, you can do it too man.
What kind of vibe do you think these pieces put off?
A sexy vibe. I think I have the highest taste level of all time. Like James Bond. So I know Dali’s work is way better than mine and that he can do realism like crazy, but I feel like my taste level is better than Dali’s, no offense rest in peace. But I feel like the stuff that I choose is what makes my art. Like the apple, the dollar sign, the women and how they are posing an what they are holding. What all is in the painting as a composition is what makes the painting.
Like Trunks. What’s the story behind that?
He is my favorite Dragon Ball Z character of all time. The most stylish character! With the short jean jacket that no one can pull off in real life. I changed the sword, I use a lightsaber. So it’s Jedi Trunks. A lot of people don’t notice that.
Speaking of what you chose to put in your work, that rug is crisp.
That’s my favorite part! I really want that rug in real life. It’s Tibetan. I really want [it] and thats why I painted it. Nigo has it! There’s a photo where he is laying on a table and has 2 of these rugs. That dome lamp too, I think James Bond had that. This is going back to taste level.
Are these real people or characters?
Yeah, well I just followed her [points to painting] on Instagram! I was on Purple Diary and there’s a tab called ‘Sex’ and it’s got nude photoshoots. I like photography. She was there and I never knew who she was. I was painting this for like 3 to 4 weeks and finally went and said I’m actually going to find her. I found her on Instagram. I’m going to tag her when it’s done.
What’s the goal?
To be the fucking best. I want people to be mad at how good I am.
Where do you want to see your work one day?
Colette. High end places that have this style and taste. I want to connect with them. This interview is definitely about taste level.
How do you balance productivity and free time?
I paint more than I’m on the internet these days. [The internet] takes up a lot of time and you don’t even notice it. You’ll be on Instagram for 3 hours. I’m pretty disciplined. I paint probably 3 to 4 hours a day. It’s when I’m the happiest. It’s weird seeing something come from nothing, or making something happen from sitting in a room. Creating your own world right from here.
You said your dad was big on sports when you were younger, does he support your art?
He’s coming around. He’s down with it but there’s still the whole, “Is this what you want to do? Is this going to making you money?” thing. It’s all about money at the end of the day. [Painting] is what makes me happy. My grandma supports it, I’m surprised. For the longest I didn’t want her to see it like, “Grandma you can’t come back here.” She just looked at the art and smiled.
What do you listen to when you’re working?
I link my phone up to the tv and listen to full albums. Lately it’s been Theophilus London’s “Vibes.” Yesterday I was listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Didn’t you do the soundcloud artwork for a Theophilus track?
Yeah I did the “Do Girls” snippet art.
How did that happen?
So there’s a guy name Jordan Watson, real cool dude. I sold a painting to him and he ended up becoming my manager. He called me one day and was like, “I want to use that for the Theophilus’ cover, send me a picture.” It was awesome because I actually like Theo.
Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield. Oldies.
Why did you start listening to that stuff?
Parents and family reunions. You go back to that and they’ll have it all playing. Al Green and Betty Wright. Old school stuff. Stuff that you didn’t know what they were talking about when you were younger. You get older and it’s all sexual and it is some good music. Like “Sexual Healing.” One of the livest songs ever and he is really talking about sexual healing.
What about hip hop?
I can’t knock it. But I don’t listen to it much these days. I can’t knock it though because thats what got me what I’m on today. I think it was a phase. There’s a lot of trap and its cool, but i can’t download it. I can’t paint to it. I have a rock and roll playlist. I’m getting into rock, I should mention that. Classic rock. I always liked Guns and Roses. But I can’t even pronounce the name of them. The Behanas? I don’t know. I actually like to think I’m painting records. Because I’m listening to it. This could be Devil In New Dress. The remix. By Jenaro Goode.
What songs are these?
“I’ve never thought about that. These on the left could be Etta James tracks, this is Cigrarettes and Coffee by Otis Redding.”
So if you could compare your art to another art form what would it be?
Music. Some old school music with a little hip-hop.
Talk about Cudi.
Cudi is the coolest! In high school is when it all happened for me. He inspires me as a person.
What song put you on?
“That Girl!” Have y’all ever heard that? Tuck put me on and I came home and listened to it for hours.
Painting, clothing. I don’t know we’ll see. I could be wack in 2 weeks.
WORDS: QUINTON BOUDWIN / PHOTOS: CAROLINE WAXSE