A second mural is nearing completion in downtown Edmonds. This one can be found along the back side of the building that houses Cole Gallery, Cline Jewelers, Starbucks and Mar•ket in downtown Edmonds, just east of 5th on Main Street.
I often wonder how many great muralists out there began their careers in the dark of night, spray-painting subversive images on walls and boxcars. I ask every muralist I meet — so far none of them have copped to it.
Nick Goettling didn’t get his start as a guerrilla street artist. He had a strong interest in drawing from an early age. You can actually see this influence in his work.
“Although drawing and painting have very different approaches, the things I do with a brush are all based on line work,” Goettling said.
The path that has led to “Goettling, the full-time professional muralist” is an interesting one. Trained in the traditional way, Goettling attended the Art Institute of Chicago for a couple of years. “I came back to Washington so that I wouldn’t have to be paying off student loans for the rest of my life,” he quipped.
He completed his bachelor of fine arts (with emphasis on narrative drawing and painting) at Evergreen State College. He was very focused on a specific discipline and knew exactly what he wanted to study, so his Evergreen experience was a great one.
In the summer months, Goettling worked at various construction jobs to help offset the enormous costs of higher education. In the process, he became familiar with building materials and comfortable on scaffolds and ladders. He began to understand what would work and what wouldn’t, when it came to creating art on a building surface. “That experience took the intimidation out of the process for me,” said Goettling.
He continues to maintain strong connections in Chicago, where until recently, he’s kept a studio. “I still bounce back and forth quite a bit,” he said.
Goettling has a very impressive portfolio of past murals and other work.
Produced under the supervision of Art Walk Edmond’s Mural Project Edmonds, this particular mural was funded almost entirely by FeedMe Hospitality, owners of Mar•ket. The new deck they’re constructing for their diners will be directly across from the mural. The Mural Project Edmonds committee loved Nick’s vintage, comic book-inspired work. They had some specific ideas for what they wanted from a muralist.
That was fine with Goettling. “They were looking for something with a nautical theme,” he said. It’s actually much harder when they write you a blank check and say ‘do whatever you want.’ I prefer getting direction and guidance for a commission, and from the community. I also want my mural to compliment Jake Wagoner’s mural across the street.”
Goettling is a bit of a night owl. He’ll mix his paints in daylight and head up to Edmonds and paint for several hours when the weather is holding.
I asked him how he felt about the frequent interruptions from curious onlookers. “It’s fun to have the interaction. I’d be a little worried if everyone just walked by and didn’t say anything,” Goettling said.
Overseeing the project are Denise Cole (Cole Gallery and ARTspot) and Mark VonGunten (Ten Gun Design) of the Edmonds Mural Project. Goettling was grateful for their feedback — the color palate suggestions and having other artists’ eyes on the project has been helpful.
Cole is also pleased with the project.
“We are delighted with the design and are excited to see Nick’s progression each day. As it develops you will see some fun surprises emerging from the design,” she said.
Goettling currently has a couple of big jobs lining up in Spokane and Dallas, Texas. With upcoming projects, he plans on adding sculptural and installation projects that may include projection. And at age 34, he’s got a lot of projects to look forward to. I’m sure we’ll see a great deal more from this talented fine artist.
When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.