Bay-area-based artist Goldie Cai explores the joy of daily life and the world of mental health in her bold, textural illustrations that make the most of limited palettes and bright colours.
Having worked as both a freelance and in-house artist for clients such as IYN Gallery, Tokyoiter and Adobe, Goldie's career so far is a culmination of a lifelong love of the ritual of drawing, creating and experimenting.
"Growing up around many illustrated books was hugely inspirational too; it always felt like there was a magic to the craft," she tells Creative Boom. "I would find myself studying and looking at an illustration repeatedly."
On top of these books, Goldie is influenced by the work of Tatsuro Kiuchi, whose lauded body of work impressed her with its sense of texture and quiet environment. "I've also always looked up to Mary Blaire," Goldie adds. "She creates characters out of the simplest shapes, but all her art feels endearing and charming."
As for her own style, Goldie says the strength of her art lies in its focused textures and colours. "I use limited palettes and bright colours, and mid-century modern illustrations inspire my style," she reveals. "A lot of the subject matter I like to focus on revolves around daily life, nature, and mental health. I am constantly inspired by travel and different folks in different parts of their lives."
Goldie's work has seen her work as a freelance and in-house creative, but which does she prefer? "Freelance provides a lot more creative exploration," she explains. "You can also try on a plethora of project styles. But the lack of stability can be difficult."
She adds: "For in-house creative, it is nice to rely on a style and not have to reinvent the wheel every time. However, making illustrations or designs in the same branding can become monotonous over and over."
Goldie likes to pursue personal projects when she's not working on client work. Her dream project would be to illustrate for a musical artist to see her illustrations in a huge venue like a concert space.
"Another dream would be publishing a children's book, writing and drawing everything from start to finish. That's actually on my list for my next project."
Goldie says of how she balances her workload and personal projects: "It's not the easiest to balance with a full-time job, but I prioritise it very highly in my day-to-day life. It can feel like a balancing act, but illustrating is integral to my happiness and identity."
Art and illustration clearly make Goldie feel good, but what does she want audiences to feel when they look are her work? "I want folks to be relaxed while looking at my work. I also want my work to be accessible and on products such as notebooks.
"It's the feeling of having a lovely piece of stationery and being able to include it in your daily life. I also want my work to be inspirational regarding my mental health pieces, and hopefully, they can bring some healing as well."