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From One Rivertowner to Another: A Conversation With Collage Artist Johanna Goodman

From One Rivertowner to Another: A Conversation With Collage Artist Johanna Goodman

Johanna Goodman, artist and Nyack resident, made tea and then sat down to talk with me on a sunny Sunday afternoon. From her light-filled studio, one can see the rolling hills of Westchester County. Her lively art adorns the walls, and a colorful collage on a nearby easel stole my attention. Goodman is a maker in the purest sense — she repurposes found items, papers, and fabrics, and turns them into something new. Her cut-and-paste collage style uses familiar tools — scissors and glue. She sews, thrifts, goes to garage sales, and partakes in clothing swaps, which all helped her to create the captivating collages she calls The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings. Goodman also works digitally, cutting and pasting images, many of them her own photographs, with minimal editing. She is an award-winning internationally exhibited artist with collaborations and clients from around the world. Our conversation has been condensed for space.


The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings, Plate No. 185

Why Nyack? 

“That’s a good question. We passed through once — I think we stopped for lunch. We walked around and we saw people walking, which is really important, and we saw diversity. It didn’t feel so far [from Brooklyn where she formerly lived] and it didn’t feel so stereotypically suburban. It felt like a neighborhood.” 

Has living in Nyack impacted your work? 

“I was experimenting with fabric scraps that I had, and I just sort of thought I wanted to build something huge out of them. I think that the very first ones I did was for a project in Nyack. The old mayor, Jen White, started this Christmas windows project, which was to take the vacant stores and assign an artist to each one. I decided to use this enormous space — this corner bakery that had these giant windows – and I sewed all these curtains for them, these kind of patchwork things I put up. I made my first beings out of the fabric and I hung them up as part of the installation in the windows. It had sort of a decorative, Times Square early element to it.  

That was the first time I made them for a purpose and they were out in the world. And I just started posting and then they kind of took off in a way I didn’t expect.  I was really surprised because it was completely a personal thing. I didn’t think it had any market, and I was surprised that it resonated with people, and I kept doing it. Maria Luisa in Nyack had a bunch of my stuff and I think she still has a few pieces there, so it has been nice.” 

What are some local areas you like to frequent? 

“I walk down to the Hook and back. There’s so many beautiful places — Hook Mountain and I love Nyack State Beach Park, Rockland Lake, and the river here is such a draw.” 

The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings, Plate No. 340

Can we find local imagery in any of your collages? 

“I use the town like crazy. [Plate #320 in the Nature category showcases Hook Mountain State Park]. I do a lot of my own photography so there are a lot of flowers and rocks and walls from Nyack.  I have a Hudson River series, which incorporates elements from the Hudson River School, and an Edward Hopper-inspired series.” 

Favorite places to dine?  

“Art Café, Karenderya, El Cunao, and Didier Dumas Patisserie.” 

What are you working on now? 

“Current collaboration: album cover artwork for the Japanese band Helsinki Lambda Club’s upcoming release. I’m also starting to make things that are bigger and take up more space. And have been thinking about a separate studio space, and if there is studio space in the Rivertowns. I have a show up at the Delaware Contemporary Museum in Wilmington, DE, through May 28.” 

  1. Marcus focuses on writing for children. Her debut picture book, Frankenstein’s Matzah, comes to life spring 2024. Find her at >

View Johanna Goodman’s work in the wild at: 

  • Hotel Nyack, Nyack 
  • The Hilton, Pearl River
  • Buleria Taberna Spanish, Tuckahoe
  • Tarrytown Train Station, Tarrytown 


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