What I see in Abbey’s art is a youthful yet retrospective approach of the things we forget, but linger in our memories – the things we get reminded of after waking from a dream, or in an odd moment of déjà vu.
I met Abbey in college when I had no idea she was an artist. I remember being in her terra cotta Tucson home, sitting on her couch, and grabbing the item nearest to me: one of her sketchbooks.
“Wow, who drew this?” I asked.
“Oh, those are just doodles,” she said. And they were her doodles, but I couldn’t believe what was in my hands. Her talent was blatant.
From then on I have paid attention to Abbey’s career. She left school to study art in Italy for a year, and came back with a fire inside that shone more so than any year before. After graduating, she left for New York City to pursue her art career, which is an impressive leap on its own.
Here is Abbey now for you guys, right here on You, Me and Charlie.
Ashley: You’re a NYC resident. What’s your favorite thing about living in this city?
ABBEY GOLDEN: The diversity. Race, religion, sexual orientation, financial status, you name it. It takes a lot to live here, so everyone is unified in their desire and effort to be here.
A: Your apartment is on fire and you can only grab three things:
ABBEY: My girlfriend, my cat named Mouse and my grandmother’s jewelry (all costume jewelry, but extremely sentimental). It would be heartbreaking to lose art that way, but it is just a thing and can be recreated if need be where the others would be gone forever.
A: Do you need to have a specific space to create? How does this space assist your process?
ABBEY: I’ve recently been fortunate enough to afford a small art studio in the East Village. It’s super grimy in a basement beneath a stoop, but it’s mine and I love it! It has so much history in the walls, and it looks like Keith Haring just stepped out of it. It’s really been a major player in my productivity the past year. That being said, all the years leading up to it I worked in my apartment, and it was more about checking out of the real world and into my head space. No matter if I lose everything else I will always have the space in my head.
A: Is there a method to your madness?
ABBEY: Madness being the operative word… every artist has to embrace the madness a bit, and live their lives their own way separate from the norm. Doing your own thing puts you in touch with what makes you unique as a person and an artist.
In terms of method – I actually find that my best work comes when I channel the emotions of when stuff is going down in my life, but have the clarity of time and space to reflect on it.
A: What subjects or themes do you tend to tap into?
ABBEY: Coming of age, suburbia, opulence, sexuality and emotions, all with a healthy understanding of the artistic movements that came before me.
A: What mediums do you use to create? Is there anything you can’t do without?
ABBEY: Anything and everything. One of my favorite things is finding new materials to use in my work. The staples are typical, but I’ve included glitter, paper, cigarettes, plastic, and metal studs. I don’t think I could live without black spray paint, though. I almost always have a can on me.
A: Have you ever struggled to be an artist? (Y) What does this struggle add/take away from your work?
ABBEY: Ha, yes. I really hate to play the struggling artist card, but it is such a huge part of the process. Luckily I found that when I’m struggling the most to pay my rent or buy dinner I’m often the most fulfilled artistically. It adds a certain something to your work, an indefinable quality that you just do not see in highly established artists. Poor art is hungry – both metaphorically and literally.
A: When do you feel a piece of yours is done?
ABBEY: A piece is done when it captures you. This can be after working on it for 2 hours or 2 years. You have to constantly step back from your work, because over-editing can kill your initial ideas and heart of your piece.
A: Do you ever struggle to put an idea of yours into your work or does it come naturally?
ABBEY: Actually, no. For me, turning an idea into a reality is my talent. I was classically trained in painting and drawing, and have experimented with any material I can get my hands on. If you have the knowledge and experience with the materials the pieces just fall into place. Thinking of solid, fresh, unique ideas is the battle. Inspiration comes in waves, and hitting a dry spell can be really detrimental to my mental state! That’s why as of late I try to just stay cool and let the ideas come to me with life.
A: Does music have an influence on your work? What have you been listening to lately?
ABBEY: Absolutely, always has. I end up listening to songs on repeat while I’m working on one thing to keep it consistent. I feel an artistic connection with Sleigh Bells, because of our messed up high school vibe. I love their newest album Reign of Terror. Other than them, Grimes, Gorillaz, Jack White and my good friends The Black Soft.
A: If you were to live in any city in the world, other than the one you are in now, which would it be?
ABBEY: I recently went to Iceland and it was magical. It feels like you’re on the moon. I could definitely go and live in Reykjavik for inspiration and to get some work done.
A: Any quotes to live by? Last words out the door?
ABBEY: “And to think it all started with a mouse!” – Walt Disney