New Brunswick

Iconic Saint John landscapes a social media win for local artist

A Saint John artist has found a successful method to get his art before an audience — a paying audience. Kevin Goggan creates paintings and sketches and auctions them off on Facebook — all in the same weekend.

Kevin Goggan's Fresh Art Facebook page brings in buyers

Saint John artist Kevin Goggan uses the power of social media to sell his paintings. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

A Saint John artist has found a successful method to get his art before an audience — a paying audience.

Kevin Goggan creates paintings and sketches and auctions them off on Facebook — all in the same weekend.
Kevin Goggan's vision of Saint John's Princess Street. (Facebook)

A graphic artist for 30 years, Goggan says he never lost his love of painting despite the move to computers in his day job. While he had a desire to hone his skills with a brush and pencil, one thing he didn't want was clutter.

In August of 2014, Goggan says he came home after drawing in the uptown area of the city and thought, "You know, I could throw it on the pile on top of everything else."
If the sun is shining, Goggan guarantees that he'll be painting outdoors. (Facebook)

Instead, he put it up for auction on a Facebook page.

Two years after launching Fresh Art, Goggan has a weekend routine: paint on Saturday, sell it off on Sunday.

Sometimes the paint hasn't even dried before the piece goes up for sale. "I just want them out and gone" he said.

As for the price, Goggan says that is decided by whoever is interested.
Goggan estimates he's sold about 150 sketches, pastels and acrylic paintings using his weekend Facebook approach. (Facebook)

"The price ranges have gone all the way from $25 up to $320 for the sketches, and up to $600 for paintings." 

Those bidding just have to go to his Facebook page and enter the bid into the comment section. 
A sketch of Prince William Street, looking north. (Facebook)

"As long as you're the last bid in, with the highest number before the time deadline," he said, "then it's all yours."

In the two years he's been selling his art this way, Goggan estimates he's sold around 150 sketches, pastels and acrylic paintings and he's often surprised by the dollar value of his work.  

While this may be a lucrative approach to a hobby, Goggan says he has one rule: no cookie-cutter paintings.

The desire to try paint in different styles and choose different subjects has taken him from the streets of Saint John's uptown to the shores of the Kennebecasis River.  
Goggan at work in his studio. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

"The sizes change, the materials change, everything's changing because basically I'm getting practice and getting paid to practise," said Goggan.  

The sketches take between two and four hours to create, while it can take up to 12 hours for a painting. If the sun is shining, he guarantees he'll be painting outdoors.

But the most important part of this endeavour is that whatever he's created on a Saturday is sold by noon on Sunday.

"They're like fish" said Goggan, "I don't want them around."

About the Author

Matthew Bingley is a CBC reporter based in Saint John.