Chris Golden was born in San Diego but grew up in the woods of North Carolina. Nestled amongst the flora of the natural world, you’d imagine his childhood spent amongst the trees to be more than idyllic – and undeniably the starting point to his psychedelic digital artworks, where flowers and tropical plants take centre stage.
After studying illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design, Chris went on to work at Shepard Fairey’s Obey clothing brand, designing and art directing the graphics. The catalyst for what would later become a healthy career spanning art, design and digital technology, Chris then moved into the creative department for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim before spending a number of years working with artists, studios and agencies as a freelancer. To date, his roster of clients include Kanye West, MOCA, Nike, Snapchat, Tame Impala, Tate Britain, the V&A museum among others.
We last spoke to the artist in 2018 when he enlivened us to the process behind his colourful environments. And back then, the world was oblivious as to what was about to arrive: Covid-19. When the pandemic hit, Chris utilised the time over various lockdowns to take a step back and re-evaluate his work. “So it’s taken the past two years to deeply explore my creative output and general philosophy – something that is constantly evolving and shifting,” he tells It’s Nice That. As a result, Chris’ latest output span artworks that serve this new mentality: “a visual expression of new ways of being.”
Meditation, psychedelia, rave culture and, of course, nature, have each inspired the making of this new direction of work. Alongside projects like Aura Garden Series, Chris was tasked to create the visual direction for Australian Fashion Week. Chris decided to develop “different worlds” and virtual backdrops that would compliment each of the collections. As a result, you’ll see pristine compositions of blooming flowers come to life in digital renderings, where textures are awash with shine and tactility before being smothered in subtle – but unmissable – psychedelic patterns. “My works explore the subversion of these elements to express and reflect a state of stillness and sense of energy,” he explains. Indeed evoking a moment of peace for the viewer, Chris’ recent portfolio is like a breath of fresh air, something that all the city-dwellers are very much in need of right now.
Overall, Chris believes that a good piece of art and design elicits a “sense of energy or atmosphere”. He adds: “I want to create work that’s going to bring a sense of inspiration to someone’s life.” Doing just that, his works – created primarily using C4D and Davinci – could just as easily be found in the depths of a mythical wood as they could be discovered in one of David Attenborough’s documentary shows. But, everything in his reality is heightened and has been constructed to purposefully make his audience stop, think and reassess. “As the pandemic has shifted focus, a lot of people have attempted to reconnect with our world that often feels overwhelming and disconnected – we lost a sense of self or feeling uninspired. Art (for me), has always been a foundational tool to reconnect to our energy from within, and inspire a new way of being.”
GalleryCopyright © Chris Golden, 2021
Chris Golden: Aura Garden Series (Copyright © Chris Golden, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.