GOLDA KING

The vis­ual artist on whim, power, and how the dots came about

Cebu Living - - Front Page - By ED­WIN AO Images by JEFF ROGER KHO

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.

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