Brad Golden is a visual artist who believes that every photo holds a story, and every moment captured is a portal of time for us to dive into these stories. Early this year he went through the genetic testing process to find out if he had inherited Huntington’s Disease, and documented this journey in his film ‘Breaking Ice‘. The journey of starting a relationship, facing a question mark when it came to his health and reconnecting with his father. Together with Marianna Jamadi, they decided to run the NYC marathon for the HDSA in order to raise awareness and funds for further advancements in regards to this disease. Read more and support them in their cause here.
What led you to the work you are doing? How do the dots connect to now?
Curiosity. When I was young I asked a lot of questions and tried a lot of different things. I enjoy discovering what humans are capable of and how we interact with our environments. Whether I am creating a new film, shooting photos for a client or programming the interior design of a new hotel I allow for my curiosity to lead the way.
Coming from the design world, is there a certain piece of architecture that speaks most to you?
The Case Study House #8 aka the Eames House located just outside of Los Angeles is a special place. The first time I visited the home dozens of monarch butterflies were dancing around the trees. It was clear to see the whimsical intention of the structure with its signature blue and orange panels stood strong through the test of time. Charles and Ray’s playful approach to design is something I admire very much.
You mentioned that you’re trying to consciously find more ways to bring play into your life, what does that look like these days?
Play comes from a place of experimenting with no expectation. I recently came across an old Super 8mm film camera from my girlfriend’s dad. We played around with shooting it by the pool in the hot afternoon sun. I honestly have no idea if the film will turn out but it was fun just to hear the old clicking sound of the camera.
From Costa Rica to Nepal, you spend a lot of time travelling and taking on adventures – do you have a favourite to share?
That is tough. My favorite spot typically swings depending on how I am currently feeling. Right now I am feeling hot at home so I will say that I am missing the cool waters of Ericeira, Portugal. Ericeira is a small fishing village off the Atlantic that is surrounded by some of the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen. The waves provide a little something for everyone and the water is usually chilly.
The process of getting tested for Huntington’s Disease led you to a reconciliation with your father, can you share more about this journey you went through and what that was like?
In my teens and even in to my twenties I was somewhat angry about my relationship or lack of one with him. It was hard for me to understand how a man could just ignore his own children. I sought out therapy which was extremely helpful. Eventually that helped me realize how painful it must have been for him to not be able to connect to his children. It was this perspective shift towards empathy that led me to forgiveness. The work I put in towards therapy and bettering myself contributed to me having the strength to go see him in person while he was suffering with Huntington’s Disease to tell him that I loved him. The reconciliation is not black and white but I feel good about where I am at in regards to closure with my father.
What is something you created that you’re most proud of, and why?
The trailer for Breaking Ice. It’s a short documentary I am working on around my story of being tested. Working on the film has been like wading through emotional mud. Now that I have finished the trailer I can see some of the work paying off both professionally and personally.
Share a story that inspires you.
I just finished reading Truck Nest about a husband and wife who make furniture in Osaka, Japan. The book is an amazing scrapbook of sorts documenting the pursuit of their dreams over the course of 9 years.
One of my favorite stories comes from Tok and laying the foundation for their new dream home and furniture store. The concrete was being poured and Tok would check in from time to time. He noticed that some of the work looked inconsistent and was struggling to trust the professional or try to figure it out himself. He inevitably did some research and found that the work was well below the standards for a good foundation. The contractor and architect pushed back and said they would correct the problem which means they would fix it with a short term solution. This was unacceptable to Tok as he was literally building his dream and he believed that the foundation needed to be solid. He found a different technique in concrete making and became so immersed in learning it he eventually found himself instructing the contractors on how to apply the new technique. He had now become the expert, earning the respect with being persistent. They eventually dug up the mistake version of the foundation and laid a new one the right way. Even though it costed more and was way more time consuming the payoff in the long run was what he was after.
We are engulfed with stories all around us. Stories that we tell ourselves about the world and what we believe. Even the clothes we wear carry a story. The stories that live in our clothes inevitably reflect something about us and our beliefs about the world. With the world becoming more connected we have even a greater opportunity to be mindful about the clothes we wear but with that comes greater responsibility.
What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?
I believe that travel is our greatest teacher. There is a shortcut in dismissing travel as it is too expensive or out of reach for many. I believe that travel is accessible to everyone. It can be as simple as going to a different area of your city just past your comfort zone. Pick a coffee shop or a park that you have never been to and hang out there for a couple of hours. Sure traveling abroad has many lessons to teach us but traveling around our neighborhoods can be just as impactful.
We are inspired by Brad’s artistic articulation in exploring his personal experiences and are proud to have him as Fieldtesters, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Brad is wearing the Modern Monpe + Handloom Denim in Size 1. Find Brad on his IG at @mrbradgolden.