Noa Goffer satisfies her materialistic urges by drawing her wish list instead

Need to stop buying stuff? Take a leaf out of Noa Goffer’s sketchbook.

21 March 2023

We’ve all been there: aimlessly scrolling online through pages and pages of stuff, adding it to your basket, before eventually looking at the final price… and swiftly exiting said page. This is a feeling the illustrator Noa Goffer knows all too well. Finding herself at a peak point of coveting many things she couldn’t afford, Noa sought to use creativity as a means of letting off some consumerist steam. This resulted in her creation of The Wishlist, a project she succinctly describes as “a personal diary or imaginary wallet, depicting my relentless desire for accumulating ‘stuff’” which now acts “as a soothing strategy or therapy to ease my materialistic urges”.

Interestingly enough, the The Wishlist project is one that actually started as a warm-up project. “It was a personal, humorous way of clearing up my mind before working on my ‘real’ projects,” Noa explains. Sending screenshots to her friends and even wishfully tagging brands on Instagram, Noa originally tried to find ways of materialising her illustration into the real things. “Sadly, I didn’t get a Dyson,” Noa reminisces, “but I was so moved by the comments I did get, people seemed to be deeply engaged and shared their own wish lists.” Noa found herself reflecting on her desires, looking deeper into the constant urge we have to accumulate: “It’s interesting and perhaps a little disturbing to understand how much of what we want to have is a way to define and distinguish ourselves from another,” Noa says. And soon, Noa realised that researching, choosing items, clicking ‘add to cart’, “almost felt as gratifying as actually making the purchase”.

GalleryNoa Goffer: The Wishlist (Copyright © Noa Goffer, 2022)

Visually, the illustrations throughout The Wishlist have an organic, sketchbook feeling. They come together to create something utterly charming, a unique snapshot into the workings of Noa’s mind. This is achieved through Noa favouring a “playful” approach, “free from structure”, and her penchant for always having a sketchbook. “My illustrations are like collages,” she adds, “each layer is valuable, each layer has its own place and meaning, and everything is allowed.” However, Noa can sometimes find herself caught up in the details. “I’m very meticulous, and will spend days on finding the most accurate shade of yellow for the tiniest detail.”

The text featured throughout is straight to the point in tone. A recognisable cosmetics bottle is accompanied by the words “Everything by Aēsop” and a Ninja Grill features a laborious explanation of its functions. Sometimes, Noa will simply include the product’s name, but at other points she sets herself a harsh reminder, including the momentous price of an item. “The text is meant to state the obvious, and set a single meaning for the drawing,” Noa expands.

While an incredibly personal project, Noa wants people to be able to see something of themselves in the project. “We tend to judge ourselves for wanting and spending all this money on stuff. I hope that exposing my own wishes and wants and ridiculing how much I want them, would make people smile and be kind to themselves.” Noa ends. “For me, these illustrations helped in letting go of these objects. Drawing them and then exposing them to the world made me feel like I already have them. My therapist loved it.”

GalleryNoa Goffer: The Wishlist (Copyright © Noa Goffer, 2022)

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Noa Goffer: The Wishlist (Copyright © Noa Goffer, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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