Miles Davis, the great jazz musician once said, “every day I wake up to create.”
There couldn’t be a more fitting line to describe a creative person. For these artistic individuals, it is not so much a thought that develops, but more of a need to create that drives their existence. Dwayne Golden is one such individual. A Los Angeles City Firefighter for 32 years, now retired, Dwayne now lives by this motto, filling this world with pieces of art that bring calmness not only to his soul but also to the lucky people that get to view his work. A hidden gem among the thousands of Los Angeles City Firefighters, Dwayne Golden’s talents are only starting to be realized by the world. It is funny how we are sometimes detoured from what we really are. Not to say Dwayne wasn’t a Firefighter—he was, and so much more.
Dwyane Golden started his career with the Los Angeles City Fire Department when he graduated from the drill tower in July 1984. He completed his probationary training in 1985 and held the rank of Firefighter for six years before being promoted three times, obtaining the rank of Fire Inspector, Captain I, and Captain II. He gained invaluable experience as he worked throughout the City, which included South Los Angeles, the Wilshire District, West Los Angeles, Hollywood, the Valley, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Venice Beach.
One of the highlights of his career was the role of Commander of the Drill Tower and Recruitment. From 2005 to 2011, he was responsible for the recruitment and training of new firefighters. This position- helping others to reach the rank of a firefighter- served as one of the top honors of his career.
Dwayne’s world didn’t start as a Firefighter, however. After graduating from high school, Dwayne attended California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) and obtained a baccalaureate degree in Graphic Design. He worked for 3 ½ years in the graphic design industry before his path in life would take a detour. By chance, he accepted an invitation from a friend, FF/PM Don Thompson, to visit Fire Station 3. He immediately became inspired and, in an instant, he knew he would do everything to become a Firefighter.
Along the way he kept in touch with his creative side, entering and then winning the LAFD contest to design the Firefighter Memorial Statues which were erected in front of the Firefighter’s Museum in Hollywood. It was an opportunity to blend his artistic talents with the love of his fire service career.
A couple of years into retirement, Assistant Chief Roy Harvey, recommended him to work as an Advisor and Technical Fire Consultant for the hit series Fire Station 19. In this capacity, he utilized his artistic talents and fire career expertise to help the writers develop realistic portrayals of everyday fire incidents. He also coached the actors on how to accurately perform firefighting techniques. Captain Golden thoroughly enjoyed this work until his position was eliminated as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated.
Forced to fill his time during the early stages of the pandemic, Dwyane poured himself into painting. The first subjects were the jazz musicians: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and singers Chaka Khan and Sade, to name a few. He has also painted children and sports figures and is currently working on a firefighter series. He has been commissioned by private patrons and continues to grow his talents.
There are a few things Dwayne wants people to remember. First, he sees retirement as an opportunity to reignite his artistic passions and he wants to challenge others to do the same. He wants people to discover their passion and make it happen. Second, he is very grateful for the relationships and friendships he cultivated while serving the citizens of Los Angeles. He continues to encourage and mentor others to pursue a career in the Fire Service.
He strongly believes there are no dress rehearsals in life and that one should avoid comparing oneself to others. This behavior can lead to depression because every journey is an individual one and should be respected. He reminds all of us that you just have to go for it! Focus, determination, drive, and desire, are the ingredients for a fulfilling life. Dwyane enjoys keeping a clear head because it frees him to be creative and present.
He is living his best life and encourages others to do the same. If you are interested in learning more about Dwayne and his art, a website has been created to showcase his work. You can view his work at DwayneGoldenArt.com