feature / alumni / graphic-design
October 25, 2014
Writer: Christine Spines

Wizard of Awe

Dan Goods (BFA 02)

What are you doing with your special moment in time today? This pointed challenge culminates an inspiring TEDx Talk by Graphic Design alumnus Dan Goods, who works as a visual strategist (aka resident artist) at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. Here’s how Goods answers his own question: “I’m creating experiences for people that give them a moment of awe and wonder about the universe we live in.”

Goods has spent the past 11 years translating complex scientific concepts into large-scale art installations. Beneath the Surface (2011) illustrates Juno’s mission to Jupiter in a cloud-filled darkened room. The Pulse, currently on view in the director’s lobby of JPL’s Building 180, uses cascading LED lights to demonstrate the flow of data from spacecraft orbiting galaxies far, far away.

Goods laid the groundwork for his otherworldly career in an independent study class at ArtCenter. “I was trying to make a logo for a grocery store that sells 500 kinds of soda, all in glass bottles,” recalls Goods. “I figured out how to make a pipe organ out of the bottles and even how to attach them to a taco truck stand so that, as it drove along, the bottles would make music. Believe it or not, that project helped me get my job at JPL.”