Studio Visit with Shyama Golden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
On a grey February afternoon, I visited Shyama Golden’s live/work Williamsburg apartment, a quaint space with eclectic touches, and her phenomenal art hung all around. I first encountered Shyama Golden’s work digitally, it was an Instagram post of Fatimah Ashgar’s gorgeous book cover If They Come For Us., I was visually gutted, from the illustrated three women of color dressed in jewel tones, to the hand-drawn type. When I dove deeper into Golden’s work, I was blown away by her oil painting portraits of some of my faves like Drake, Issa Rae, Janet Mock, and Priyanka Chopra.
Golden is self-made, after a decade of working corporate and freelance gigs in graphic design and illustration, she is now pursuing figurative painting full-time in Brooklyn, where she’s based. Golden is the daughter of scientist parents and has spent parts of her life in different corners of the world, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Austin, and San Francisco, to name a few.
Golden easily shifts gears from physical painting to animated video loops. Her tools are tactile and digital, an oil canvas or a lightweight tablet. Golden’s color palette is super warm and lush. And her subjects are often POC pop culture icons, Biggie Smalls and Spike Lee, but especially WOC, superstars like Lupita Nyong’o and Rosario Dawson.
By the end of my studio visit, the afternoon finally cleared up, and a soft light entered Golden’s apartment. I love the magic that we captured with Golden’s art.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CIDNEY HUE