Walter Goldfarb culls images from his family history, his own experiences, and his community for subjects of his paintings. His earlier works addressed his Jewish ancestry and his parents’ history by incorporating the iconography of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Common themes in his work include power, social values, and gender roles. One of his best known series was based on an anthropological project in which Goldfarb surveyed the most popular tattoos for men and women in Rio de Janeiro, then painted the motifs. Goldfarb is also known to manipulate the canvas itself—he has tie-dyed the canvas before stretching it, creating an effect akin to the psychedelic art of the 1960s; he has also bleached and cured raw canvases with embroidered details.