Join Us in Mesa, AZ for Esao Andrews mid-career retrospective “Petrichor”

Thinkspace is pleased to invite you to Petrichor, a mid-career retrospective at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum dedicated to the surreal and darkly stylized work of Japanese American artist, and Mesa AZ native, Esao Andrews. Known for his minutely detailed and narratively suggestive paintings, Andrews brings haunting imagery to life through his uniquely mannerist distortion of subjects, both human and animal, and the strange undertow of his desolate, Gothically inspired landscapes. Themed around homecomings, departures, and afflictive transformations, Andrews’ works feel drawn from the same collective imaginary reserves as myth.

Andrews attended New York’s School of Visual Arts where he studied illustration and completed a B.F.A in 2000. An accomplished figurative painter, he participated in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2002. The artist has worked commercially in tandem with his fine art practice which has, in recent years, grown to include large-scale murals, and produced iconic album cover artwork for American rock band Circa Survive. He has also created numerous comic book covers for DC’s Vertigo Comics, and memorable deck designs for Deathwish and Baker Skateboards.

Petrichor will feature over a dozen iconic works by Andrews, borrowed from private collections worldwide, and will include the original artwork from the Circa Survive album releases. Also included in the exhibition are never before seen sketches and maquettes, objects and skateboard decks, and twelve new, never before seen works alongside a site-specific mural created for the retrospective.

Staging a world of unlikely combinations and unexpected tensions, Andrews revels in the surreal elasticity of the subconscious and its penchant for the poetically absurd. No hybrid is too unimaginable, no character too fantastic, no anthropomorphous invention too unthinkable. Objects, animals, and people are all dynamically animate and sentient, subject to the inexplicable rules of their living fictional cosmos. Always one for compelling epilogues, Andrews has revisited past characters and themes throughout his career, building on earlier works and weaving a sort of narrative continuity throughout his output. Though the tone of his imagery often borders on the grotesque or even macabre, a literary impulse links Andrews’ works to the fabric of fable and myth, its folkloric threads binding it to something vaguely archetypal and collective in its haunting resonance.

Andrews lists diverse sources of inspiration for his work, everything from art history to skate counterculture. The immersive manga fantasies of anime master Hayao Miyazaki figure prominently among his influences, as do French 19th-Century Academic painting styles, particularly its neoclassical revisitation of myth and the tenebrous cast of its moody contrasts. Andrews also cites the heightened emotional drama of Gustav Klimt’s Symbolist Art Nouveau style and Egon Schiele’s Expressionistic sensual grotesque as other stylistic sources. Contemporary painters James Jean and Inka Essenhigh list among his inspirations too, as does visionary cartoonist Al Columbia for his masterful, ghoulish reinterpretations of Americana.

“Petrichor” is said to be the fluid stone coursing through the veins of the Gods in Greek mythology, it is also the warm earthen smell after a downpour on desiccated land, the relief of rain on hot desert and dry air that signals a moment of elemental transformation and all the inexplicable micro-metamorphoses that attend a relieved and changing landscape. This is the dark but beautifully redemptive imaginary Andrews is continually bringing to life – one in which endings and beginnings are indivisibly bound.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (Mesa, AZ)
1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
https://www.mesaartscenter.com

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Friday, May 10, 2019 / 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Exhibition runs May 10, 2019 – August 4, 2019

We’re excited to be showing new work by French/Italian, Los Angeles-based-based artist Liz Brizzi in our project room for her solo exhibition CDMX opening Saturday, April 27th. Brizzi’s mixed media technique combines the hauntings of photography with the impressionistic intercessions of paint to produce ambiguously merged dimensions of time and space.

In anticipation of CDMX, our interview with Liz Brizzi discusses the inspiration behind this latest body of work, creative process, and her most memorable moment in Mexico City.

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background and zodiac sign?

LB: I grew up in a family of artists. There was never any doubt in my mind I’d end up in the field as well. After High School, I went to Otis College of Art and Design and got a BFA in Communication Arts. I’m an Aquarian. 

SH: Your latest body of work is inspired by Mexico City. In three words, how would you describe that trip? 

LB: Jam-packed, colorful, delicious

SH: What was your favorite meal and most memorable moment from Mexico City? 

LB: I had so much good food, it’s hard to pick one. But my most memorable moment was standing in Frieda Kahlo’s studio. The energy I felt in there was so intense and beautiful. I felt so moved. It was magical. Her presence and energy was felt all around the room. It was incredible.

SH: How do you approach starting a new piece? Walk us through the process of a piece from conception to completion. 

LB: It’s always the same process. There are lots of steps. My work is really a mix of so many different media. Photography, design, collage, paint…

First I look through my collection of pictures. I pick out my favorites, or whichever have interesting details that I feel come together nicely. Then I use photoshop to play around with them. I cut out parts of it, pull out details, bring them together, add to this or that, move this around, take that out, etc… I mess with them until I have a final design that I like.

Next, I plan my color palette and decide on the overall color combination. Then I print my photographic design on simple paper. I cut the outline of it so it’s ready to be collaged onto the wood panel. But first, I lay down paper on the wood. I paint with acrylic and create the painted background. Once dry, I apply the photo-design onto it with matte medium. And finally, once very dry, I add color and paint with very diluted washes of acrylic. Paint my birds, sign, varnish, done!

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

LB: The travel part! I LOVE traveling and I want to paint the world. I’m inspired by the big cities and cultures I encounter on my journeys, and I love to try and portray them in my work. 

SH: What frustrates you about your work / the creative process?

LB: It can sometimes be tedious… especially the cutting part. And I try to make each piece very unique, and it can be challenging. But it’s still the best job I’ve ever had. 

SH: A Netflix movie is being made about your life, who would be cast to play you and what kind of movie would it be? Try to describe it with similar movies.  

LB: Have you seen “The Spanish Apartment”? It’s a French movie trilogy (OG title L’Auberge Espagnole). It’s about a guy and his friends from all over the world, his struggles to pursue his dream of becoming a writer, and the three big steps of his life… coming of age, career, family… he’s French, he’s an ex-pat, and I’m pretty sure he ends up in the US. It’s a comedy slash coming of age drama. My movie would probably be like that. Who would play me? I’m not sure… maybe Marion Cotillard?

SH: If you could make the album art for any album, existing or yet to be released, what album or artists would it be for and why? 

LB: WAX TAYLOR IF YOU READ THIS HIT ME UP!

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?’

LB: Do nothing! Netflix and chill. Also… start planning my next trip!

Liz Brizzi’s “CDMX” opening April 27th

LIZ BRIZZI
CDMX
April 27 – May 18, 2019

Concurrently on view in Thinkspace’s project room is CDMX, featuring new works by French/Italian, Los Angeles-based artist Liz Brizzi. Drawn to the momentums of recession and dissipation that shape the physical character of city streets over time, Brizzi’s refined mixed media technique combines the hauntings of photography with the impressionistic intercessions of paint to produce ambiguously merged dimensions of time and space.

With selective omissions and emphases in her imagery, Brizzi interprets the photograph with stylistic and poetic introjections, refusing it the neutrality of an unmitigated document, and pushing and pulling its edges from the brink of abstraction. Her works subtly dramatize the erasure and preservation invisibly at work in not only our subjective attempts to remember our experience of time and place but in the living character and ephemerality of cities – forever the subject of interpretation and vague longings but seldom satisfied through literal articulation. Brizzi’s works capture something determinative and essential in the individual cores of cities – in the transience of their poetry and in the impossible task of freezing the living bones of their history in intangible progress. Both haunting and immersive, Brizzi’s cityscapes are full of the imperfect poetry and ruinous stirrings that make the study of erosion a more compelling pursuit than that of the pristine.

An avid traveler always in search of poignant pause and solace in the midst of the frenetic urban fray, Brizzi documents and explores the character of place, seeking its histories and stories in the edges and details, contrasts and tensions, that impress a place’s soul upon an observer’s memory. From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Brizzi’s work is based in an exploratory impulse, a desire to lose oneself in the anonymity of frozen observation. With works conspicuously devoid of human subjects, but rather filled with the traces of their work, life, and intervention, the images hover strangely in a register of heavy absence – strung somewhere between the empirically reliable and the poetically sapient.

In CDMX, Brizzi looks to Mexico City’s venerable history, architecture, and street life for the first time, creating works based on her recent travels and photographs there. Capturing her living impressions of its textures, light, and urban anatomy, Brizzi arrests a breathing world in a state of temporary athanasia.

Opening Reception of “Seeing Red” a collaboration between BOOOOOOOM & Thinkspace Projects

Last, Saturday March 30th, Thinkspace Projects presented “Seeing Red” curated by BOOOOOOOM founder and Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada. The invitational group exhibition featured new 12 x12 works by over a hundred artists who have been featured on the art website BOOOOOOOM over the last decade. The gallery was packed with artists and fans throughout the evening, enjoying the wide variety of artistic styles and voices.

“Seeing Red” is on view now through April 20th at Thinkspace Projects in Culver City.

To view all available piece from the exhibition, please click here.

Andrew Hosner’s Influential Voice on BOOOOOOOM

In anticipation of the upcoming collaborative show “Seeing Red” at Thinkspace curated by the creator of BOOOOOOOM Jeff Hamada. Co-Owner and Curator of Thinkspace, Andrew Hosner was interviewed by Jeff for BOOOOOOOM’s “Influential Voices” series. Below are a few highlights of the interview which can be seen in full on BOOOOOOOM.com.

Join us for the opening of “Seeing Red”, Saturday, March 30th from 6 -9 pm.

Jeff Hamada: I’ve read (and listened to) a bunch of interviews you’ve done in the past, what can you tell me about yourself that you’ve never shared in an interview before?

Andrew Hosner: I obsessively drew Winnie the Pooh and his world of friends from the time I was like 4 until 7. My mom still has many of those drawings framed and hanging around my childhood home back in Michigan. From there, I moved on and grew to constantly copy the pages of Capt’n America and Fantastic Four comics… I still have the skills, I can copy just about anything put in front of me, I just never really developed that remarkable skill of being able to create my own world or draw without reference. Perhaps I should have pushed myself harder, but as I entered my teen years the world of heavy metal took over and I didn’t really draw anything past Metallica and Slayer logos and skulls for a long time haha. I’m happy with where I’m at and constantly get to use my creativity in exciting new ways. I feel it helps to be able to relate in some small way to the challenges our family of artists face with having to always come up with that next great image.

JH: What about now? I’d assume a lot more are artists are seeking you out now.

AH: Yes, we are inundated with submissions via email and the ungodly DM submission. A quick DM saying “Check me out” is kind of the “You up?” version of a submission in this digital age I feel haha. Just half assed and barely any info is ever given and I always get a HUGE laugh when I do click on a DM submission and it’s from a private account. I’m not going to friend request you, just to view your work. I mean…

With that said, I will never loose site of the fact that I can’t believe creative types from all around the world hit us up, and show us love and have followed us for years in hopes of one day working with us. The mere fact that they took the time to do so… the fact they even know we exist, I try to never lose site of that simple notion. I’m still blown away that anyone outside of LA is into what we’re rocking and love our creative vision. Keep it humble, and life rewards you.


Keep it humble, and life rewards you. – Andrew Hosner