"The bear is having a great day because it is with water and acorn '22'"
Acrylic on genie canvas | 48" x 36" | 2021
King Nobuyoshi Godwin (b. 1991) lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. Godwin began painting at the age of 22. His paintings often depict elements of the natural world—underwater creatures, birds, trees—juxtaposed with the synthetic vibrance of neon colors. His works range in size from small, single-subject paintings to large paintings that capture entire narratives. Regardless of their physical size, Godwin's work is incredibly detailed. Godwin has autism and a form of synesthesia, a condition in which the perception of one sensory experience triggers another. For Godwin, numerical synesthesia means that numbers are connected to feelings and experiential stories.
Godwin creates his work in three stages, first laying down a bright base coat, and then painting the subject, usually an animal or plant. When he paints, Godwin uses a complex system of colors and numbers (purple and yellow are the happiest colors, while red is the least; 71 is associated with positive feelings and 07 is negative, for example) to express how he is feeling. Finally, Godwin uses Japanese paint markers to fill his canvas until every inch is covered with numbers and he has achieved a kaleidoscopic effect that is both beautiful and highly meaningful. Godwin then names each work, producing wonderfully specific titles like, "The tree is having a wonderful day because friends are together '99'" and "The elephant is having an okay day because it feels a bit stiff '55.'" Godwin's meticulous and awe-inducing work provides a glimpse into the rare and unique perspectives of synesthetes.
Godwin has been named one of one of Raleigh Magazine's "New Influentials" and his work has been exhibited at Charlotte Russell Contemporary and Gregg Museum of Art & Design in Raleigh and 5 Points Gallery in Durham. He had a solo exhibition, The Artist Is Having a Good Day, at SAGE in 2021 and in 2022 SAGE represented his work at the Outsider Art Fair in New York City.