I started GOOD ART in 1990 in Los Angeles after thinking I could do a better job at making the stuff I wanted. My first pieces were for holes in my body and my first showroom was me sitting shirtless at a card table on Venice Beach. My first big sale was $550 to NaNa on the 3rd Street Promenade (look 'em up if you don’t know). I was young and brought up on those good old American virtues of honesty, integrity and a hard days work… so I took that first check to my boss and gave notice. Making art was always going to be better than making someone's lunch.
Since then my purpose has been to put aesthetics into the world, make things better, cooler, funner (yep, not a word but it works here). To create good effects via the best of handcrafted luxury goods, fit for everyday use; That was something I could get behind for a lifetime. I’ve discarded the pretense of fancy things in exchange for the free-spirited functionality of tough & clever ones. For nearly 30 years my drive in this direction has remained steadfast.
Photographer: Brian Doben
The more I do it, the better I get. I’ve got some polarizing views on life, I know that. They keep what I do simple and in my purpose in plain sight. I’m in it to create an effect, to make the things that make others happy (or at least to get some rise out of them). The necessity of a thousand dollar lighter is an absurd question, but the pure joy of its luxury is an experience to relish. The degree to which an object can communicate or evoke a state of mind is a mark of its magnitude. Art is communication, and art has the ability to affect how you feel. Just as a work of art can uplift the spirit, so too can an everyday object bring joy well beyond its function. And if it does, it may well be art even if it looks like a key chain. I think it’s a noble purpose creating goods wrought for beauty, pleasure and the purpose of uplifting the spirit.
I’ve always been of the mind that only the best will do. I tend to look at most things in terms of how I could make them better, and if I can then maybe I've got my next project. “Better" is the disconcerting knife edge every artist worth their salt skates across in the Eureka moments. I also think the good stuff gets better still with the scars and hallmarks of adventure. What we’ve done at GOOD ART is distilled the arrogance and exclusivity of the clubhouse down to the truth and grit of a good old-fashioned fistfight. Our ethos is to make the best of everything we do and create good effects. We are here to show you an aesthetic realm, and to help you find the beauty in everyday objects. The minutia of weight, shape and function are often the difference between right & wrong, good & garbage. I believe the good God is in the details and that’s what will move you or not.
Cost-no-object hearty construction, clever mechanisms and the tenacity to do things well are the hallmarks of everything to leave this foundry and workshop. I'm so glad you’ve found GOOD ART, now be sure to tell only your most favorite friends, and then again only those who are pirates. Only the true pirate has the insouciance and moxie to trade a fortune for a trinket, and they’re the sort who squeeze pleasure from the finest details of life. I’ve had a nearly 30-year education turned lifestyle of making things, traveling, riding motorbikes, spending time with good people, eating & drinking the world over. It’s been a long strange trip for sure and I’m blessed to be on this ride. And happy to have you along.
Photographer: Brian Doben