Kathy Ager Interviewed in Beautiful Bizarre

Artist Kathy Ager, whose exhibition “Golden Age” is currently on view at Thinkspace Projects, was recently interviewed by Beautiful Bizarre about her latest body of work. Visit Beautiful Bizarre for the full interview.

“I love how much of a story can be told by the combination of objects. I also find peace in the strong stillness of still lives. I like to include objects and brands that are familiar to the viewer, but that have a secret significance to me personally. ” – Kathy Ager in Beautiful Bizarre

Live Tattoo Demonstration and Circa Survive performance to be held at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Artist Shay Bredimus to do live tattoo demo: Friday, July 26, 5-9 p.m.
Rock band Circa Survive to perform pop-up set: Saturday, July 27, 1 p.m.

In celebration of the summer exhibitions, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum will offer two special events July 26 and July 27; a live tattoo demonstration by artist Shay Bredimus in his exhibition Cartomancy-The Seni Horoscopes (Friday, July 26, 5-9 p.m.), and a stripped-down, pop-up performance by rock band Circa Survive in Esao Andrews’ exhibition, Petrichor (Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m.). Both events are free admission, no RSVP is required to attend but capacity is limited.

The July 26 tattoo demonstration event with Shay Bredimus is presented as part of the Hack the MAC series, facilitated by Mesa Arts Center’s Creative Catalysts initiative. Bredimus, who grew up in Phoenix, is a nationally celebrated tattoo and visual artist known for his signature technique of incorporating tattoo ink and wax crayon on drafting film. Bredimus’ Seni Horoscopes are comprised of 72 unique works based on the 17th century German fortune telling card system by Italian oracle Giovanni Battista Seni. The event will also offer tarot card readings and temporary tattoos of the artist’s original art.

The July 27 pop-up performance is in celebration of the mid-career retrospective exhibition by Esao Andrews, a Japanese-American artist and illustrator who was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. Andrews’ artwork is featured as the band’s album covers and is an integral component of the band’s live performances. Andrews’ exhibition is presented by Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in collaboration with Thinkspace Gallery.

Circa Survive is performing at Disrupt Festival at Ak-Chin Pavilion later the same day. “Our relationship with Esao has been symbiotic in every sense,” says band member Colin Frangicetto. “It has easily been the most organic & pure collaboration the band has ever known, so much so that we’ve referred to him as our visual soulmate and sixth band member pretty much from the start. It’s hard to imagine what Circa Survive would even mean to the world without Esao’s imagery. We are his biggest fans and are so honored to be a part of his career and this celebration of it thus far.”

In addition to the iconic album cover artwork for Circa Survive, Andrews has also created numerous comic book covers for DC’s Vertigo Comics, and deck designs for Deathwish and Baker Skateboards. His exhibition features over a dozen iconic works borrowed from private collections worldwide and including the original artwork from the Circa Survive album releases.

From the release of their 2005 debut, Juturna, to their 2010 major label release, Blue Sky Noise, to today with The Amulet, Circa Survive’s sound is often described as progressive. On The Amulet, Circa Survive continues this legacy, but filtered through the unique lens of punk and alternative roots. The Amulet’s mix of intricate guitars, muscular bass, and interlocking drums creates a dynamic foundation for vocalist Anthony Green’s voice.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is located at 1 East Main Street, in downtown Mesa, AZ, 85201. Admission is always free.

About Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum at Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Center’s (MAC) mission is to invite all people to create and discover entertaining, challenging and diverse art and arts experiences within joyous, dynamic and welcoming environments. As part of Mesa Arts Center, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCA Museum) showcases the best in Contemporary Art by emerging, nationally and internationally recognized artists. MCA Museum provides support and advancement to artists through solo, group and juried exhibitions. MCA Museum’s free admission and strong engagement programs provide visitors with free school and public tours, a robust docent program and free artist talks.

Interview with Kathy Ager for “Golden Age” opening June 29th

Thinkspace is pleased to present Vancouver-based artist Kathy Ager’s debut solo exhibition Golden Age. Ager creates detailed, still lifes that feel simultaneously Baroque and acerbically modern. Inspired by the 17th-Century Golden Age of Dutch and Spanish painting, her imagery uses historical visual rhetoric to deliver intensely personal and emotively charged themes. A professional graphic designer-turned painter, this is Ager’s first complete body of work to date and will include ten new paintings.

In anticipation of Golden Age our interview with Kathy Ager discusses her artistic background, creative process, and desired love interest in a movie about her life.

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? 

KA: I haven’t been at it for long – I’m a late bloomer for sure! I’m originally a graphic designer from Vancouver BC, focussing mainly on corporate branding. I still like working as a designer but there came a point where I felt I had more to say and was frustrated by the limits of graphic design. I’d been living in Amsterdam for a few years and found myself feeling sick and lonely and far from home. That’s when I picked up painting for the first time since design school. I’d always been drawn to painting and creating in general, but this was the first time I started finding my own voice. I’d work on paintings in my spare time between freelance design work, making only a couple of paintings a year. Things really started rolling when I dropped myself into Lisbon for a couple of months, just to see how it would feel. It was the first time I’d showed up in a new place as an artist, not a graphic designer. I met some amazing artists who became the first champions of my work. I’m not sure if I’d have had the strength to keep going with it if it wasn’t for that experience. Life in Amsterdam had become a lonely struggle for me and painting became my life raft. Sometimes I felt it was all I had, but it felt powerful and super satisfying being able to evoke something in others through the images I’d create, inspired by my loneliness, heartache, music, books, and my endless curiosity for love and life and truth.

Did I mention I’m a Sagittarius? Apparently, we’re forever seeking adventure and the truth. Honesty above all else! In my paintings, I lay it all out there, just like I do with those who know me. I’m not comfortable unless I can truly talk about how I feel. I want people to be in on my life and I want to be in on theirs. There’ve been stretches in my life where I’ve felt like an astronaut floating in space, so far out there but not sure how to get back, and maybe this vulnerability and honesty is how I anchor myself in this universe and connect to others. My paintings have become a powerful way to do that.

SH: How do you approach starting a new body of work? What inspired this exhibition?

KA: This is the first coherent body of work I’ve produced. In the last couple of years, I’ve established a visual language and a few key elements that felt good to me. While working on these latest paintings I was able to keep that language consistent while drawing in elements from my own life and those from traditional still life paintings. I’m always amazed by how objects can be used to express such human emotions. I’ve been inspired directly by my personal life – especially love and heartbreak and the loneliness in between – and the need to grasp onto something solid in this transient world.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

KA: Definitely, the most challenging piece for me was ‘An Immovable Feast’. It’s the largest piece in the exhibition and also the last piece I completed. All of my paintings are deeply personal, so working on each painting means facing those feelings for as long as it takes to complete that painting. The size of this one felt like three paintings in one and felt like the final painting addressing some lingering heartache that inspired quite a lot of my current work. I didn’t feel up to the task. I’m amazed that I was able to push through a lot of self-doubt and shifts in my personal life and still create something I’m proud of. I definitely needed some encouragement from friends who stopped me from setting it on fire or throwing it out the window. LOL!

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

KA: I get such a kick out of what I do. I feel so deeply and to be able to translate that into something visually powerful has been transformative. It’s like solving a problem. If the solution makes me laugh out loud while also strumming just the right chord in me, I know I got it right. 

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

KA: It’s solitary work. I need to hear myself think and that happens best when I’m alone, doing nothing. Which is hard since my inspiration comes from the opposite – it comes from going deep with people and life. And the production phase is especially a solitary endeavor, sitting for hours, days, weeks in the studio. It’s not glamorous. It’s been the biggest challenge for me for sure. My need for connection is strong, so I’ve been learning how to ensure I’m getting what I need while maintaining my creative process. Returning to Vancouver after living in Europe for 9 years has been a huge help.

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? 

KA: A Drake album! Damn, it would be a dream. I love how he goes so deep and dark and is so open with his insecurities and his search to understand the actions of himself and others. When Scorpion came out, it was a hot summer in Amsterdam. There you’re so far north, the daylight lingers until almost midnight. I’d sit in my apartment in the heat, in that deep blue light of the night, and listen to this album. Oof. What a time. I’d love to create something for that depth and darkness and glory. 

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

KA: I love the idea of something like ‘Peaches N Cream’. Like my work, it takes things that are seemingly innocent, but the implication of their combination can be twisted into something much more provocative. 

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. 

KA:  I’d be lying if I said this scenario hadn’t crossed my mind before. First off, I’m not great at following celebrity actors, so I’d love a new, break through actor to play me (although Ryan Gosling would definitely be welcome to play a love interest). In terms of what kind of movie it would be, I’d say the running themes and significant moments in my life have been the search for love and adventure, the beautifully lonely self-discovery of travel, days and nights with friends and lovers that made me nostalgic for the moments while I was still in them. And underlying it all, a deep feeling of loss and fear and sadness that makes it all so scary and painful. And yet I’m forever drawn by my curiosity to go for it all, just to know how it feels. Imagine a combination of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Before Sunrise, Skate Kitchen, Lost in Translation. Midnight skates in the heat of Barcelona, the sparkle of beaches on the Costa Brava, the wide open spaces of Northern California. It would be a fucking trip for sure.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

KA: I think the artist’s role is to be evocative. I get so much inspiration and power from music and books and I think that’s true for all art forms. Making something physical out of feelings and ideas and putting them back out into the world creates the beauty, both light and dark, in the world. 

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

KA: Since this is the first body of work I’ve completed, it was quite emotional. I’m still learning to let myself loose after so much focus and dedication and have been lucky to have some great friends around for support and guidance (and some damn good laughs and adventures 😉

Join us for the opening reception of Kathy Ager’s Golden Age, Saturday, June 29th from 6 – 9 pm.

Interview with Jacub Gagnon for “Dream World” opening June 29th

Thinkspace is proud to present Dream World by Canadian, Toronto-based artist Jacub Gagnon in Dream World. An artist known for the meticulous detail and realism of his luminous acrylic paintings, Gagnon creates a world in which nature and fantasy collide. 

In anticipation of the exhibition, our interview with Jacub Gagnon discusses his creative process, tackles the role of artists in society, and what his work and Spinal Tap have in common.

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? 

I’ve always had a knack for drawing; it was one of my biggest hobbies growing up. I attended OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University) in 2005 and fell in love with painting in my second year. Graduating in 2009, with a BFA in ‘Drawing and Painting’ under my belt, I took to creating art for myself and set out to make a career of it. My zodiac sign is Aquarius, the water bearer. I’m not big into astrology but apparently they are artistic, social justice minded, and have a determined nature – I can dig that. 

How do you approach starting a new body of work? What inspired this exhibition?

I always have a little world of ideas living in my sketchbook, many of which often stay hidden until I have a larger show like this and they finally see the light of day. A lot of ideas live in that small sketch land because I like it, but I’m not sure how to put those ideas onto canvas, so having a greater chunk of time to work on a bunch of pieces is a great opportunity to finally flesh some of them out. I had a new approach for this show, which was to get the ball rolling on as many ideas as I could right at the beginning. That was a real challenge, as it turned out. 

Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

“In Bloom,” hands down was the greatest challenge. The sheer size alone (my largest piece to date) meant not only was I trying to fill a large canvas, but I also chose to fill it with tiny things. In addition, I have this habit of turning and flipping a piece that I’m working on, and I physically wasn’t able to do that with this one. The obstacle didn’t occur to me when I first started the piece, but it made a huge impact on how I was able to work on it.  Apart from size, I also did a lot of editing and made revisions to this piece as it was coming to life (again, not something I normally do) – overlapping plants, figuring out where shadows fell, balancing colour… I found myself coming back to this piece over and over again, adding here and taking away there. I worked on this piece periodically for over a year before it was finished. 

What excites you about your work / creative process?

I love the feeling of a new idea. I get very excited about them. It just kind of hits you and you’re suddenly full of vigor and life, I write them down in my phone or quite literally run to get my sketchbook and record it before I forget it with my goldfish brain. I also love the process of overcoming challenges. So those ideas I mentioned above that live in my sketchbook for so long, the moment I figure out how to bring them to fruition is quite rewarding. It propels you to finish the piece. When a piece like that is finished, it’s kind of like seeing an old friend that had been away for years.  

What frustrates you about your work / the creative process?

A big frustration I have is with the time it takes to finish a painting; it can be quite the marathon. I’ve tried to change my painting style in the past to be a little less tight and a little more forgiving, but I’m not usually happy with my work until it is ‘just so’. Often timelines that I make for myself to complete a section of the painting are overshot by days or weeks and it’s not for a lack of time spent working…but trying to appease my OCD sensibilities. 

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?

That’s a tough one, maybe The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not my favorite Beatles album…but just thinking of it gives me so many ideas and I think I could have a lot of fun reinventing it.

If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

I’d call it Ripple Effect. You can pick your base of vanilla or chocolate and add some bright floral flavours, cruelty-free delicacies, and maybe a hint of bourbon. It’s probably going to be served in a teacup.

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.  

Definitely Andy Samberg would be cast to play me and it would be a mockumentary. It would be akin to “This is Spinal Tap”…I can see it now, “There’s something about this that’s so black, it’s like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.” (quote from the movie that I feel sums up a lot about my work). It’s not a movie, but I think it would also have similarities to the show “The Office”, a bit quirky and mundane at times, but it’s all part of the charm. If budget was of no consequence I’d probably have Morgan Freeman do some narrating,  give it a Shawshank feel.

What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

That’s a big question to unpack. I have a lot to say, but I’ll try to keep it short. It’s easy to take art for granted. I think people tend not to notice the way art impacts their everyday life – it’s printed on our clothes, it’s the colours of our homes, our cars, it’s the way we design our spaces and every item within them. It turns our stark environment into a personal and relatable one.  And yes, at times it can also be a voice and a spotlight to provide commentary and highlight something to the world, which is what I try to do with my art. Artists have a strange dichotic reputation. Either they’re these huge icons or they’re lowly, scraping by, but those are just two small facets… like so many things, you just can’t pigeonhole who we are in society. 

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

Spending time with my family! I’ve spent the past several months tucked away in my studio, so now that work for the show is wrapped up I’m looking forward to all the little things that I’ve been missing out on. I imagine I’ll crack open a few nice bottles of whiskey, and get as much sleep as two tiny humans will let me before I’m beckoned.

Join us for the opening reception of Jacub Gagnon’s Dream World, Saturday, June 29th from 6 – 9 pm.

LAX x SFO: Third Time is the Charm opens Saturday, January 15th

Curated by Thinkspace

Taking Place At:
Heron Arts
7 Heron Street
San Francisco, California 94103

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 15 6-10PM

On view June 15 – July 6

Excited to get back up to the Bay Area for our third time this coming June with our friends at Heron Arts. Nearly 90 artists will be taking part in the third iteration of ‘LAX / SFO’ and this show promises to be our biggest in SF to date.

All the artists have been asked to work within the same space confines of 12×12 inches (30×30 cm) and left to their own devices from there. We’re excited to see the results and share them with you all this June.

Adding some flavor to the space and serving as the show’s main highlight, we’re honored to have site specific mural interventions being placed throughout the gallery by Amy Sol and Lauren YS alongside installations from Balloonski all being created during the week leading up to the opening. These ephemeral works will only be up for the run of our show, so don’t miss your chance to see what these three incredible creatives come up with. We definitely can’t wait to see them collaborate!

12×12 inch works from:
Abigail Goldman
Adam Caldwell
Alex Garant
Alex Yanes
Alexandra Manukyan
Alvaro Naddeo
Amy Sol
Anthony Hurd
Anthony Solano
Benjamin Garcia
Baldur Helgason
Brian Mashburn
Carl Cashman
Casey Weldon
Clare Toms
Collin Van Der Sluijs
Craig ’Skibs’ Barker
Crash One
Daniel Bilodeau
Darcy Yates
Derek Gores
Drew Young
Eduardo F. Angel
Egg Fiasco
Erica Rose Levine
Fernando Chamarelli
Fumi Nakamura
Hanna Lee Joshi
Hilda Palafox (aka Poni)
Huntz Liu
JC Rivera
Jeremy Fish
Jet Martinez
Jolene Lai
Josie Morway
Kayla Mahaffey
Kelsey Beckett
Ken Nwadiogbu
Koz Dos
Kristin Farr
Kyle Bryant
Lauren YS
Leon Keer
Linsey Levendall
Lisa King
Logan Hicks
Louis Masai
Mando Marie
Marie-Claude Marquis
Martine Johanna
Max Sansing
McKenzie Fisk
Molly Gruninger
Nicola Caredda
Nomad Clan
Nuno Viegas
Oak Oak
Paola Delfin
The Perez Bros
Peter Adamyan
Peter Chan
Pichi Avo
Ricky Watts
Seth Armstrong
Spenser Little
Stephanie Buer
Telmo Miel
Terry Arena
Troy Lovegates
Wiley Wallace
Yok & Sheryo
Yosuke Ueno
Yusei Abe