While the Daviess County Detention Center currently houses around 730 inmates, it’s safe to say Chris Goodman stands out. Goodman has made his mark at DCDC, both literally and figuratively speaking, as an artist. His innate talent has allowed him to spread messages of hopefulness and positivity in various ways, even while being incarcerated.
Goodman, a native of Hardinsburg, has had a troubled past that isn’t so different from a lot of other inmates. A storied history with substance abuse led Goodman down a tumultuous road that’s included six incarcerations at DCDC. Currently, Goodman is serving a 6-year sentence and has spent a straight 476 days in jail — his longest incarceration to date.
Art serves as both an outlet and a means of keeping busy for Goodman. He says he’s been creating different art his whole life, and that his abilities just come naturally.
“My art–my style itself–just varies,” Goodman said. “It’s mood-to-mood pretty much. This place–you know, it’s hard to get inspired sometimes.”
Goodman credits Jailer Art Maglinger and Major Jones for giving him inspiration by describing to him what they’d like painted on the walls of the jail. Goodman has painted several murals as per their requests, including an American flag mural in one office, a bald eagle in another and a Toy Story mural on the wall of the front lobby.
“They wanted something for the kids, to make them feel better about being here,” Goodman said. “I like brighter things. Something that’s going to bring a little color to the eye. Inspirational stuff is pretty much what I’m feeling.”
The Toy Story mural took Goodman a couple of weeks to complete, he said. The vibrant colors and attention to detail required using a variety of mediums including paint, pencil, charcoal and airbrush. While his favorite medium to use is pencil, he likes to use acrylic paint for the murals. The jailer approves all art supplies used by Goodman beforehand.
The hand-painted pumpkin took Goodman only 30 minutes. Most of the artwork one sees on the walls at DCDC has been created by Goodman, who also designs his own tattoos.
“More recently he’s done stuff, and I was aware that he was probably the most talented painter that they’ve used here,” Maglinger said. He also described Goodman as a “model inmate” and has bestowed upon him responsibilities such as guiding jail tours.
When asked if it felt good to be recognized for his talent, Goodman paused before answering.
“In a way it does, but in a way it — it kind of makes me a little sad because I should be doing this outside and not in here,” Goodman said. “If it makes somebody happy and it makes them smile, that definitely makes me feel better.”
While Goodman is currently waiting to hear from the state on the exact date of his release, he knows it could happen at some point between the next 30 days and the next three years. He doesn’t want to get his hopes up for an earlier release but, above everything else, Goodman can’t wait to see his child.
“I’ve got a son out there,” Goodman said. “I’ve never really done time where I’ve had something I miss like I do now.”