The visual artist on whim, power, and how the dots came about
Her oeuvre is not easily grasped at first glance. At least, you are not expected to understand it right away. Comprehending Golda King’s art requires both a slow digestion and a deep savoring of her color and subject. Because good art has the tendency to do so, it affects you with the raw emotion it radiates.
It is her slinky, smoke- colored domestic long- haired cat Puppy ( oh the wry irony) that greets us, almost escorting the team to her basement studio two floors below the main entrance of their hilltop home facing the garden. Flooded with good light, it is nevertheless atypical of the studios in my mind that are a chaotic jumble of huge slashed canvases, paint- splashed walls, fabrics, paint, brushes, boxes, a large crate. Instead, her workspace is neatly organized. Her canvases are arranged in a pyramid. Taped to the wall are the most interesting yet random studies she is in the process of concocting for her two upcoming onewoman exhibits early in 2017. “It takes me an entire year to prepare for a show. I was always taught to paint what I know,” King intimates. “Sometimes the titles have nothing to do with the image. I paint what I feel at the moment.” One can only surmise the laborious process that goes into creating one painting. Imagine an entire series.
We speak first of her evolution: she was interested in fashion, initially, for which she earned a degree in fashion merchandising in 2004 from La Salle College in Manila. After five years in fashion and a line of fashion accessories called Caimito Couture, she succumbed to her first love. King pursued painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and completed her degree in 2013. The city made an indelible impact on her artistic development. “My early work was so dark that one of my teachers took me aside to ask, ‘Are you okay?’”
When asked if at some point in this journey she felt like she lost her direction, she admits, “Yes, of course. Yes!” There were moments of self- doubt: “Why am I pursuing something that’s just a hobby?” But the answer became apparent. “In life where we seek contentment, it is just normal to question our direction.” And her art is headed on a good path.
After all, it was earned the hard way: from the repetitive exercise of skill practice, to traditional still- life drawings, and then an attempt at experimentation, to eventually finding her own unique style. “You find your voice as an artist, eventually,” she confirms. Her style was not a product of rebellion but of experimentation, rigorous testing, and even insightful investigation. “I don’t like to admit it but the dots came about only because…” she smiles tentatively, in the middle of having her makeup done and mindful about not getting in another artist’s way. “I wanted to cover up some mistakes.”
In her work, the natural world elicits surprises. For instance, her portrayals of the Aurora Borealis create Lilliputian vantage points. A madness of impressions explodes on a canvas; the strokes become seemingly unattached, movable, and very relaxed. Nature is a deep well of inspiration for King. She finds equivalents for emotion in natural forms. She likens her experience to collecting stones and
PHOTOGRAPHED IN A CONVERTED GUEST BEDROOM THAT IS NOW IN HER STUDIO IN THE FAMILY’S HILLTOP HOME IN BANAWA, GOLDA WEARS HER SIGNATURE SOMBER COLORS OF BLACK, GRAY, AND NAVY. HER LOOK IS PUNCHED UP BY TOUGH GIRL BRASS RINGS BY NEILL FELIPP, A NOD TO HER PAST
AS AN ACCESSORIES DESIGNER.