Kelly Golden is a sign painter and muralist based in Detroit. With a steady hand and over a decade of working professionally in the trade, Kelly has become well known for her hand-painted signs. She has made both a local and national name for herself through her work on windows, walls, vehicles, showcards and more. Today you can find her designs everywhere, from the storefronts of downtown Detroit to the music sets of SNL.
Peninsulas is proud to partner with Kelly Golden to create “Born to Be Wild”, the sixth piece in our Artist Series. Her design, inspired by her love for both vintage design and wildlife, appears on a t-shirt and a fine-art print in the Peninsulas' Michigan State Parks Collection.
I spoke with Kelly to learn about her art, inspirations, and hear her story:
Hi Kelly! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m an independent sign painter and muralist, and a general outdoor enthusiast.
When I paint a sign, it is a one-of-a-kind creation made the old-fashioned way… by hand, with a brush. I pride myself on offering a unique, authentic product. And really value the relationships formed along the way too.
What influences your art?
I’m really inspired by little road trips and small town America. Vintage/antique/thrift stores, gas stations. Old books and magazines.
Do you have a favorite past project?
Honestly, every job has felt like a dream job lately. I’m feeling really fortunate to make a living working with my hands and doing what I love.
A few projects that stand out to me recently: designing and painting some super graphics at the newly retro-renovated Bowlero Lanes and Lounge, painting a Mail Pouch Tobacco ad on my parents’ barn, and re-painting the signs at John King Books in Detroit.
What music would I find in your playlist?
I mostly listen to AM 580 and 90.9. I like oldies.
Do you have any pets?
I do, I love animals! I have a dog, 2 cats, and 2 fish. Chili, Tuna, Goose, Adriana, and Dr. Melfi... lights of my life!!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Camping is my most favorite thing to do! I like checking out new places, trying to find cool hikes, waterfalls, or new rivers to kayak. It’s sort’ve hard to believe how many amazing places we have to explore in Michigan.
In my free time, you'll find me camping, riding motorcycles, working on my pilot’s license, or exploring outside with my pup.
What is something you are looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to finding some more morels this spring. I’m ready for sunshine and warmth! Monarch butterflies, kayaking, gardening, and SWIMMING! I love to swim.
You created an art piece for Peninsulas and the Michigan State Parks that showcases iconic and well-known animals in Michigan: whitetail deer, herons, and monarch butterflies.
Was it your love for the outdoors that inspired your design?
Yes, I absolutely love vintage wildlife t-shirts and being outdoors in nature.
I spend tons of my free time in Michigan State Parks. Some of my favorite memories have been backpacking Isle Royale or running the Happy Little Trees 5k with my mom last year. There’s a seemingly endless amount of fun and interesting things to see and do. I feel so lucky to live in Michigan!
Thank you for chatting with me, Kelly! It was fun!
To see more of Kelly Golden’s signs, murals and designs visit www.kellygoldensigns.com.