Dan Golden’s New Age Collection of rugs is a groovy departure from his more tongue-in-cheek Meds or Cartoon collections. When we asked Dan about the inspiration behind this new series, he embraced the opportunity to take us on a bit of a magic carpet ride back to his more formative years. It becomes clear that the rich tapestry that made up Dan’s childhood was a real source of the creativity for which he is known today. Dan guides on a tour of his inspiration …
I have to start with my bohemian parents, Robert and Sandra Golden (or Bob and Sandy as their friends knew them).
Mom, me and Dayan
They introduced me at a very young age to many of the wonderful, mysterious and occasionally scary things that would later influence my work as an artist and designer. The New Age Collection is above all a reflection of my experiences growing up with them in the 1970s.
When we were little, my parents packed my sister Dayan and me up and drove us down into Mexico with no set destination in mind. We ended up settling in Ajijic, a small fishing village near Guadalajara, where they opened an ice cream shop called “La Crema”.
It was a much safer time and place then, and my sister and I were allowed to explore the village on our own. I remember dusk in the town with the little lights turning on, the lake, trees and mountains.
The colors of Ajijic made a strong impression on me, and show up in the palette I used for The New Age Collection: rusted orange, yellow ochre, faded white, shades of blue, green and pink.
If the New Age Collection had a soundtrack, it would include songs by James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Seals & Croft – sounds that are warm, acoustic and natural.
To really get a proper feel for the collection, I recommend having a glass of white wine and listening to “Summer Breeze” or “Diamond Girl” by Seals and Croft (or anything off of the album Blue by Joni Mitchell).
If you happen to be hanging out in a beach house in Malibu on a warm, breezy afternoon, even better.
I think this photo of me taken in the late seventies captures the essence of the New Age Collection; when I look at it I feel a mix of emotions tied to a specific time and a place – somewhat nostalgic, sweet, faded, optimistic and sad.
Self Help and New Age books were huge in the seventies – and we had a bunch of them.
Remember, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach were 3 in particular that stick in my memory.
(I still don’t know what an “Erroneous Zone” is, but I do remember this creepy photo of Wayne Dyer on the cover.)
After Ajijic, we moved back to California, and lived for a little while on a couple communes. One was called “The Land Church”.
The experience was really strange for me a little kid – communal living, meditation circles, people walking around naked.
I remember making God’s Eyes out of yarn and popsicle sticks on the Land Church. You can see similar bands of color and pattern showing up in the New Age designs.
The collection was also inspired by Chakras – the colors in each design are intended to be experienced as energy, emanating out from a positive core – sending good energy into your home and life.
Jackson Pollock painting
My background is in painting and conceptual design.
I have always loved the way Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis and Frank Stella worked directly on raw canvas, and how they (and in particular, Mark Rothko) used color and shape to evoke emotion.
Frank Stella – The Marriage of Reason and Squalor
Mark Rothko – Orange and Yellow
Good Vibes (detail)
Good Vibes (the first design in The New Age Collection) actually originated as a large, sharpie-pen and pencil piece on raw canvas. It was a nod and reference to Pollock and the rest of the gang.
I heard about an installation piece that Yoko Ono once did called “yes”. Ono had placed a ladder in the middle of a room, and at the top of the ladder was a magnifying glass. You had to use the magnifying glass to read a word that was written in really small letters on the ceiling – the word was “yes”.
All of these elements inspired The New Age Collection.