Although Paul Goodnight was born in Chicago, he was raised in Connecticut and Massachusetts in a loving foster home. From his early childhood experiences, he had trouble with authority and avoided school. Paul served in the military in Vietnam, where traumatic experiences caused him to lose his speaking ability. Goodnight credits art as a therapeutic console helping him cope with this horrifying experience.
Despite great difficulty from his academic inexperience, Paul graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 1976 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts. He was later granted an Honorary Masters of Fine Arts in 1999 from Massachusetts College of Art.
Paul Goodnight has developed an aesthetic philosophy –to document the humanity of people around the world.” To provide depths of history and culture, he often includes African symbols and themes. His artistic recognition allowed him to establish an art publishing and distribution company, Color Circle Art Publishing, in 1991. Paul Goodnight was also commissioned to create a ceramic mural for the Orlando Airport as well as a poster for the World Cup in 1998.