Canvases rest against a wall inside Tyler Goliday’s Madison, Miss., home, a framed painting hanging in a nearby nook. The portrait of a Black woman interrupts the red background. She wears a green, off-the-shoulder blouse and large, round, golden-hooped earrings. Straight, white teeth present a stark contrast against the midnight-black body.
“I wanted to do a black-and-white piece, which I’m kind of known for doing,” Goliday told the Mississippi Free Press while gesturing at the artwork behind him. “During painting, I got inspired and started thinking that I could do much more with the Pan African theme (of) red, black, green and gold. I did the shirt green for the leaves of a rose. I put the actual red in the background for the color of a rose.”
“I (felt) the best thing to do was to show a Black woman going into herself, basically being built up just as rose from concrete,” he explained.
The Municipal Art Gallery recently featured the painting, titled “Rosaria,” in an art show it hosted in February named (Re)mediation. Held in honor of Black History Month, the exhibition highlighted works that students and alumni of Jackson State University, an historically Black university, created.
“We were thinking really carefully about how to curate a show that celebrated all the multifaceted aspects of Black history,” Dr. Brittany Myburgh, assistant professor of art history at JSU, said. “It was just about celebrating Black artistic excellence in general and having an opportunity to have our students feature their work in a professional setting and get that experience.”
Goliday welcomed the opportunity. The Starkville, Miss., native is new to art exhibitions. He gave up photography in 2020 when he decided his introverted personality did not particularly suit that medium as much as he would have liked. He instead tried painting as a form of artistic expression after a push from his grandmother.
“My grandmother asked me to paint a picture because I had always drawn as a kid,” Goliday said over Zoom. “I got the canvas, and what I did on it was something terrible compared to what I do now. From that day forward, it has been something that I just constantly just got better at—something I just fell in love with.”
The graphic-design major works to evoke emotion and personal connection through his work, he said. JSU’s Journal of Art and Theatre features Goliday’s piece, “Rolling Stone,” on the cover of its spring issue. The painting depicts a man standing in front of a reddish-pink background. The figure is Black, wearing an all-black suit, a gold chain and a cowboy hat.
“I wanted people to look at these images and feel what would go on in the household … what men stepping out would do to a woman,” Goliday said. “The story (is that) my grandfather was a rolling stone. (He was) basically what my grandmother would say is a serial cheater. Basically, he just had a bunch of women and a bunch of kids outside the family. I could see how it was messing with her mental and physical health as well, knowing that she’s not enough for this man. It’s painting a story of trauma.”
Stories such as the one that inspired “Rolling Stone” prompted Alexis Noble to select Goliday’s work for The Mashup’s February show. The Mashup is a reoccurring art exhibition that provides young, Black creatives across the state a platform to showcase their talents.
“It was not only his art, but the story behind his artwork,” Noble said. “The storytelling behind his work is matched up with what we are trying to showcase here in Mississippi. His explanation of the painting that he displayed really made me know that he was very engaged in art. He was very persistent and very passionate about his work.”
After Goliday’s first exhibition with The Mashup, Noble invited the student to join a select group of artists presenting their works in an exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson on April 11, 2023. Goliday has also sold several of his paintings.
“He’s always had that very kind of go-getter attitude,” Myburgh said. “He really knows how to find those opportunities to exhibit his art. He’s making sure that he’s getting his work out there. Not only that, but he’s very friendly and approachable. I think that he’s going to go places as a result.”
Keep up with Tyler Goliday’s progression as an artist by following him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok at @fooly.444. Visit linktr.ee/fooly444 for links to his social-media pages and more. To inquire about exhibition availability or commissions, call 662-251-9131 or email [email protected].
Know a Mississippian you believe deserves some recognition? Nominate them for a possible Person of the Day article at mfp.ms/pod.