Kaminski: Deciding to dive into something fully can be both relieving and incredibly stressful at the same time. My fiancee, Ashley, and I have only really begun to fully-flesh out the work that began back at MCA with Honor: Decoded. It's become a much different project than it was then, so it's awesome to hear that fellow artists go on journeys to get inspiration and projects that they feel worth their time. Do you have any personal tips that help you stay on target with your personal projects or perhaps things that help to motivate you while you work?
Golden: I try to set aside some time every day to make sure that I'm doing something creative for myself. It's definitely easiest for me to work if I have something else engaging going on. I'm a big geek for tabletop and forum role-play to kind of get my gears turning. I love making things and writing stories with other people - I mean, that's how I ended up here in the first place - so doing stuff like that that gets me back to my roots is really good for my ethic. It reminds me why I want to make cool things in the first place. That, and following other people who are working hard on awesome projects. It makes me jealous that they have something good to show. So then I remember to get to work so I have things to post, too. Totally petty, that one.
Don't be afraid to erase things and take things apart. Even if you think that your piece is good the way it is. Experiment.
Kaminski: Trust me, I agree with you fully. I don't think I would work as hard myself if I didn't scour things like Spectrum daily. I'm a huge art book nerd myself.
What are some of your favorite themes or tropes to paint and why?
Golden: My sense of humor is super straightforward and blunt, and I'm pretty sure that carries through to my artwork and the style that I like to write in. One of the more popular series that I did in college was my "Gross Gyls," which were basically just my main female character in really casual poses. Standing around in her underwear, scratching her sides, that kind of thing. I guess I like to draw things that are very dry and not over the top, and present my characters in situations that are relatable and distinctly un-glamorous. I like fantasy elements, but when I incorporate them, I like to base them in that same sense of boring modernity. I like characters that are making potions in a blender and using necromancy on roadkill. Mundane situations with some element of silliness are my jam.
Kaminski: It shows in your work - the silliness that is.
When you hit lull points in your work, what are some artists or things you find inspiring? What gets you back to work after you get worn down?
Golden: It might sound weird, but as much as I love visual media, my favorite way to deal with lull points is to get out of my own head space for a bit and just read a book or listen to music. It's hard not to take inspiration from different mediums when I work anyway, so sometimes I just need to sit back with my headphones and listen to some punk rock and kick start my creative groove again. As for artists I like, Yoshihiro Togashi is my go-to (I love Hunter X Hunter and Yu Yu Hakusho. He's got a really identifiable style to his manga work and I like his inks and watercolors a lot). His work is really what got me into the field in the first place.
E.K. Weaver (The Less Than Epic Adventures Of T.J. and Amal) is another favorite.
And lately I've been really into Night In the Woods and the Shadowrun series by Harebrained Schemes.
I mean, I could go all art history student on you and say that I really like Leyendecker, 'cuz I do, but usually my most direct influences are very pop-y and pulp-y, and whatever I'm playing with right now.
Kids ask me how I use it all the time when I'm at shows, and the answer is "recklessly," until you more or less figure out what you're doing. Like punk rock. Or science.
Kaminski: I don't think it's weird at all that you get your inspiration from non-visual media. A ton of artists like Wylie Beckert actually start with writing before they even begin to touch sketching, so it only makes sense that you would want to change it up that way. I mean, hell, I get really inspired when Ashley reads to me while I write. In some ways I almost think that getting away from art is a way to make visual breakthroughs more than anything. A lot of times right after or right before I really grind on a project, I'll take a few days and just lounge and play video games or watch movies just as a break away from all of the art, and then come back to it with ten times the tenacity that I would have if I just grind straight through. Sometimes it's pretty important to push the reset button on your brain pan for a minute.
Switching gears, what kinds of goals do you have set for yourself in the immediate, and the long term?
Golden: In the short term, I'm excited to keep upping my convention game by making more things for our table. I'm working collaboratively with Alexis Stetson (Castalexis) to do a table at a different con or art show every month this year. We're booked through the year and still adding more shows. I feel like we're really learning as we go and it's been a super rewarding experience for us. We've been busy every weekend in March, and I'm making more art than I can remember to post. It's a good feeling! I keep seeing my portfolio and my experience grow with every show. We get to travel too, which is a fun bonus. I love road trips. Long term, I'm stoked to work on my personal project, but I'd like to take on more collaborative projects with other artists and creative types. I might even consider settling down for a nice, solid illustration job, but who knows? I'm really hoping that our road tripping continues to pan out and I get to travel further and sell art in even cooler places. That's the dream, right?