“I came to CBU knowing I wanted to be different. I wanted to be my own person. I just didn't know how to do it. Leaving CBU, I left without the answers, but I had the framework to build that person. I felt like I had the confidence to take on the real world even though I knew it was going to be really difficult.”

Quick Facts

Program: Fine Art, B.A.
Graduation Year: 2013
Past Clients: LA Football Club, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Adidas, FIFA 2020, Apple, Facebook, Starbucks and Coca-Cola

Geoff Gouveia (‘13) loves soccer. It shows in his work as an artist and what he does with his free time. 

In 2014, Gouveia attended the World Cup in Brazil, which led him to start building his art portfolio around the sport. He has painted murals for the Los Angeles Football Club and the U.S. Soccer Foundation and painted soccer shoes as part of a project for Adidas during the 2018 World Cup. He has organized an indoor soccer league at his church, The Grove Community Church in Riverside. Gouveia and a friend hope to build two small soccer fields in Riverside and rent them. He is also doing marketing for a company that sells soccer fields.

“I love the sport and I love the community around it,” Gouveia said.

Gouveia started playing soccer at age 5 to hang out with his older brother. He remembers the Christmas his mom finally caved and gave the boys a PlayStation with one game — FIFA 2004. He has owned every single FIFA game since.  

“The idea of FIFA and friendship have never been separated. I’ve met so many people who I have forced to play the game because that’s what I love to do,” Gouveia said.

Gouveia discovered in his travels abroad that knowing how to play soccer is like being able to speak a different language.

“The assumption when you travel is that Americans don't know how to play soccer, and so when you do, you have a different level of prestige,” he said. “You just have an instant connection, so I've used soccer as a connection point.”

So when EA Sports approached him to design graphics for the FIFA 2020 video game, it was a no-brainer. His digital work for the game included court designs and other assets.

“It's pretty surreal,” Gouveia said of having his work in a video game played by millions. “I play a lot of FIFA, so for me to have a name-drop project that a lot of people would know is cool. It also just happened to match up with some of my interests, and I don't think that happens for a lot for people.”

Gouveia has turned a lot of surfaces into his canvas: sides of buildings, interior walls, courts — basketball and futsal (soccer) — and skateboards. He has painted murals in Riverside, Los Angeles, Tijuana, Brazil and Chile. He has created art for Apple, Facebook, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.

“I prefer large surfaces, like outside of buildings where everyone can view them,” Gouveia said. “I don't personally enjoy the gallery setting. I don't like the private setting because it does feel like a barrier to connecting with an audience. Anything could be my canvas, but I do prefer to go big.”

It was his work on a basketball court in Watts in Los Angeles for Adidas and a nonprofit that attracted the attention of the art director at EA Sports. 

“The journey to get those gigs were all quite long to get there. As you get more big-name clients, it gets a little bit easier to get the next one because people just trust that you can handle that sort of pressure and the art directors want to work with people who have worked with other big names," Gouveia said.

Gouveia said he never wanted to be the artist who is stuck in his own studio and does not interact with people. Even his Instagram tagline says he creates to connect.  

“To have that community is very important to me,” Gouveia said. “My whole thing is I just take what I like and apply it to business.”

Coffee is another opportunity for community. He enjoys drinking the beverage and connecting with others at a coffee shop, whether with the barista or with friends. He also has done marketing for a coffee shop, and for Alto, a company that sells cold brew filters and where he is a partner. 

Gouveia is at a crossroads in his career. Over the past several years, he has found that he enjoys working with art directors and trying to solve problems in their businesses. Then he had to let go his few employees when the pandemic hit and freelance work stopped. Now, he is turning his creativity away from the traditional canvas toward things that are more sustainable in the future.

“I think freelance is a great thing right out of school because it teaches you how to get kicked in the teeth and keep moving. It teaches you how to be resilient and how to go after what you want,” Gouveia said. “But as I get older, my vision is shifting away from the freedom and liberty of freelance and going more toward, how can I build a business that is sustainable and that not only provides for myself but also for future employees? 

Gouveia appreciated how his professors at California Baptist University, especially Duncan Simcoe, professor of visual arts, prepared him for life after college.

“I came to CBU knowing I wanted to be different. I wanted to be my own person. I just didn't know how to do it. Leaving CBU, I left without the answers, but I had the framework to build that person,” Gouveia said. “I felt like I had the confidence to take on the real world even though I knew it was going to be really difficult.”

“Simcoe allowed me to ask questions, ask stupid questions, ask good questions and get answers. And then he was also a source of encouragement to keep going when I didn't even know what I was doing. I believe that's the mentality, especially in the world of creativity, you have to really just keep putting one foot in front of the other.