Interview with The Perez Bros

We’re excited to bring The Perez Bros in the Thinkspace fold, showing a few pieces from the duo in the Thinkspace office this month. The Perez Bros are identical twin brothers Alejandro and Vicente (born 1994) from South Gate, CA. After graduating from South East High School, they attended Otis College of Art and Design to pursue a degree in Fine Art focusing on painting. At Otis is where they began to work together as a collaboration duo.

They were exposed to Los Angeles’s car culture at a very young age, their father being a part of a lowrider car club for as long as they can remember. Fascinated with the culture, from the cars to the models, from the people to the music; through their paintings, they try and capture moments they witness at car shows. Larger paintings seem to invoke the mood and feeling of these car events, while smaller paintings encapsulate more intimate scenes. Through their work, they aim to bring the viewer into their world and a part of a culture that is their second home.

Get to know The Perez Bros better below…

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work?
PB: To be honest, we converse a lot daily, and within those conversations, different ideas come up and we agree and act upon them pretty quickly.

SH: Where do you source inspiration? What are some of your favorite spots to take photo reference at?
PB: We don’t really look at other artists for inspiration, instead we get inspired by music. We’re influenced by song lyrics and watching interviews of our favorite artists. We hope that our audience is able to relate to us and our work, like people relate to music and artists. We get all of our photo references at car shows; particularly Lowrider shows and Mustang events.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
PB: Actually every part of our creative process excites us. We enjoy attending car
show events and taking pictures of the cars and people. We also enjoy every step that comes after: going through our photos and deciding which ones would make great paintings, building our canvases, applying the gesso, and then actually creating the painting. But what we enjoy the most is completing a painting and seeing our ideas come to life.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
PB: One thing that frustrates us is when we attend a car event and we don’t find
anything interesting or inspiring to photograph. We leave the car event empty handed with no photo references for future paintings.

SH: When did the two of you first start working together as a duo?
PB: We first started to work together in our sophomore year at Otis College. We had an assignment to collaborate with someone in our painting class taught by Scott Grieger, which we naturally chose to team up together. After that, it became clear to us that this is what we should be doing.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
PB: Definitely Kid Cudi. He inspires us every day. A dream of ours is to create the
artwork for one of his albums.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
PB: Our High School art teacher Ms. Tinajero influenced us to apply to art school, so we would say she definitely had a big significance in leading us to where we’re at now. She believed in our talent and always pushed us to work harder. We applied to Otis College and got accepted. Attending art school helped us find our voice and take our art seriously. Without Ms. Tinajero and Otis College, we don’t think we would be where we are at right now.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?
PB: In our studio you would find a lot of Liquitex acrylic paint and gesso, brushes, raw canvas, stretcher bar tools. Just your basic tools to create acrylic paintings on canvas. You would also find a Bluetooth speaker, because music is a must. A tv and video games for when we need a break from painting. And a mini fridge and microwave, because artists also have to eat.

SH: Does your background noise influence the mood of the pieces? What’s on repeat in the studio at the moment?
PB: Yea, music has a big influence on our work. We can’t work on a painting without having music playing in the background. At the moment we have Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, Travis Scott, Interpol, and The Strokes playing in a constant rotation.

Interview with Benjamin Garcia for “Panacea”

We’re excited to show Venezuelan artist, Benjamin Garcia’s newest body of work Panacea in the Thinkspace Project Room. Garcia’s emotive and gestural painterly style allows him to create figurative subjects in a state of transformation or becoming. In anticipation of Panacea, we have an interview with Benjamina Garcia discussing dreams, his creative process, and artist toolbox.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in Panacea?

BG: Well, the development of this particular body of work was a kind of revision of old themes and ways of working and also experimentation with new ways and trying to combine them. I’m always on the search for a kind of balance between the completely figurative and planned aspects of painting and the emotional and primitive approach to abstraction and freedom. The perfect combination of this two aspects eludes me still but in a way, there has been sizeable progress towards discovering some facets of it.

The themes and symbols of the paintings really came to me subconsciously. I believe a big inspiration for most of it is the sense of isolation that comes from being stranded out of the country I grew up in and the sense of loss that comes with having to escape dictatorship separating from friends and family. The horrors of loss and the pain of seeing basically the worst of human nature in a sort of 1984/Soviet Union style. The real deconstruction of the basis of society is something that when experienced permeates your work whether you want it or not because it makes you question reality itself. I really did not intend for it to be about that but I can feel a taste of those emotions in the paintings.

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?

BG: There is: Dia Secreto. It was a really difficult piece for me to develop because the compositional aspects are really complicated and also it took me like a month to plan. Really got into trying to paint this regular scene like really bucolic but then there is something mysterious that happens in that story. Also, it was really difficult for me to execute.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions? Where do you source inspiration?

BG: I start looking for inspiration in movies or photography, magazines, video clips. I´m always being bombarded by stimulus from all sources and an amalgam of all of it is what basically gets painted. I try not to have a preconceived idea of what I want. I like to see it done and then go back and try to figure out what it means.

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

BG: Basically what really excites me is to get out of my confront zone all the time. To try to develop and discover how my basic pictorial language grows.

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

BG: Not connecting emotionally sometimes with the subject matter. And get stuck in trying to figure out the next steps trying to not play it safe.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?

BG: I wish I had more people in the studio. I sometimes go paint with friends in a shared space. But my main studio is kind of lonely. Also, I paint with the cheapest brushes, I spend more on the canvas and paints mainly but I think I´ve never painted with an expensive brush in all my life.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.

BG: After a show, I try to take it easy a couple of weeks and just draw and be in like a free space outside the studio to then get right back into it.

SH: What is an aspect of other’s artwork that really excites you, what are you drawn too?

BG: I really love the freedom in the strokes of Jenny Saville. Also, I love the complex social scenes of Kerry James Marshall.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?

BG: Well, there is my brother Lucas. He is a real inspiration to me. He is a writer and illustrator. As he is my big brother I always look up to him and always thought it was possible for me to live being an artist because I saw him thrive.

SH: In a past interview you expressed your brushstrokes are a way of capturing your unique dream, “I can never focus my attention on more than one item at a time and sometimes it’s all fuzzy and disjointed, I want my paintings to be a bit of a window into that state.” As a person who remembers their dreams, can you share with us one that has a particularly interesting through-line you might remember?

BG: In dreams, one always see things in a sort of blurry way. And always everything is skipping like a broken record and scenes juxtapose in time. People are at one time one person and then other people. Reality is never still in dreams. I had a dream the other day where I was speaking with Bill Murray and also he was my father. Both persons at the same time. A dream character who is two people at the same time is something I can’t wrap my head around. Is more like the meaning of a character what you really interact within a dream. He was speaking to me about what it means to be an adult and have a family while we walked on the water of a river like Jesus.

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?

BG: I would go to the beginning of time and see if there is such a thing and come back with the answer and possibly freak everyone out.

Interview with Cinta Vidal for her exhibition “Viewpoints”

We are two weeks away from our first major solo exhibition with Cinta Vidal, “Viewpoints.” In her latest body of work Vidal continues to explore the idea of viewing the world from different perspectives and how to translate that vision. It has been two years since her last exhibition with us, Gravities,  at the Culver City gallery and we are excited to share our interview with Cinta Vidal that explores her growth as an artist, how she challenged herself with this new body of work, and her time travel destination.
SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work?

CV: The exhibit in Thinkspace gallery’s main room is my biggest challenge to date. I’ve never exhibited in such a big space, it is a big opportunity for me to present a large collection of my new work. My focus now is to explore deeper into the concept of sharing the same world but seeing it from different points of view.

SH: Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in “Viewpoints”?
CV: In this show, I wanted to explore to the maximum of all the possibilities that the gravity style can give me. Also, I wanted to develop more of the different ideas that I have evolved over the last two years. Like round detailed worlds, stairs compositions or floating furniture. I also changed the painting technique in the majority of the pieces. I use to paint in acrylic, now I paint in oils.
 
SH: Your pieces always have multiple interesting scenes and focal points, do you develop those scenes before starting and composing the complete piece or do they evolve and come to you as you’re working on one section.
CV: I’m a crazy perfectionist and I usually work in a very detailed sketch before painting the final piece. Sometimes I decide to add elements in the scenes while I’m painting them, like trees or cats. But much of the composition is always decide previously. Maybe I should start improvising more in order to give a more fresh touch to the pieces.
 
SH: Are the locations in your work inspired by real places?
CV: Sometimes yes. In ‘Viewpoints’ I present 5 pieces that are inspired by real places. 3 of them come from recent trips: Tai-O (Hong Kong), La Gomera (Canarias) and Nijo (Japan). These pieces are really special to me because they are like a summary of my experiences in those places. I really want to explore more of this line of work – that means that I need to travel a lot!
SH: You’ve traveled around the world for your mural work. What locations had one of your favorite meals?
CV: It’s hard to say, I’ve enjoyed a lot the meals from all the places I visited. Maybe I should say that Japan was one of the most splendid, culinarily speaking.
 
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?  
CV: The piece CITY is very special for me. It is a mix of stairs, people, trees and architecture, something that I had never done before. The composition is very different than I usually do because the building surrounds the painting. It was a bit complicated to me to solve this piece and I’m proud because it keeps a consistency with others, but it has a different accent.
SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
CV: The most exciting part is that everything around me could be a big inspiration. I’m always looking for new buildings, textures, trees, etc. My phone is full of ‘inspiration’ from my walks. Then I start to draw, it’s the part I enjoy the most.
 
SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
CV: The big amount of details. I love to lose myself painting for hours, it’s like a meditation. But sometimes it is a bit frustrating when I look at the piece from afar and I’m not convinced by the overall result. It’s part of the process. Until I’m no longer uncertain about the results, I do not end it. It’s an internal fight.
 
SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
CV: After a show, I try to relax and not to start new projects. But that’s easy to say.
I clean the study thoroughly in order to make space for the new projects and sometimes I go travel to totally disconnect.
 
SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
CV: I love theatre, and contemporary dance. The choreographer Pina Baush is a big inspiration to me. Sadly she passed away. But one day I would love to be involved in a project with contemporary dance. 
 
SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
CV: The most important catalyst for me was working as an apprentice in Taller de Escenografia Castells Planas in St. Agnès de Malanyanes. I learned from Josep and Jordi Castells to love scenography and the backdrop trade. There I learnt how to paint and to be rigorous with work
 

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?
CV: I will go to do plein air with fauvism painters, to spend a day with Paul Cézanne, André Derain and Henri Matisse. That would be a dream come true.

Join us Saturday, September 15th from 6 – 9 pm for the opening reception of “Viewpoints” 

Artist Michael Reeder Featured on Forbes

Michael Reeder has been crushing it and his colorful mixed media work has garnered the attention of Forbes contributing writer Felicity Carter. Go over to Forbes.com for the full interview. Also, plan ahead and mark your calendars, as we will have a major solo coming up with Reeder in the summer of 2019.

What was your first memory of art?

I would have to say the cover art from my Dad’s vinyl album collection was probably my first exposure to art. He had some pretty epic covers from Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Molly Hatchet, AC/DC etc. I remember trying to draw almost all of them.

Interview with Alex Garant for “Voyage of The Insomniac”

Thinkspace is pleased to present Voyage of The Insomniac, featuring new works by Toronto-based, Canadian, Québéquois artist Alex Garant. A painter known for her hyper-realistically rendered portraits in which the faces and eyes of her subjects seem to skip their registers through image redoubling and superimposition. In anticipation of Voyage of The Insomniac, our interview with Alex Garant discusses the exhibitions challenging work, an explanation for the compositions movement, and the catalyst for her artistic journey.

Join us Saturday, August 4th for the opening reception of Voyage of The Insomniac, from 6 pm to 9 pm at Thinkspace in Culver City.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in “Voyage of the Insomniac”?
AG: Voyage of the Insomniac was a very personal series. For the past couple of years, I have been experiencing bouts of insomnia, and I have been struggling with sleeping well. Unfortunately, I am the kind of individual who needs a lot of sleep. The lack of Z’s ended up putting me through quite a few days of hazy wakefulness, in a sort of automated trance. This collection is inspired by those days; the awaken hours passing by, lost between overstimulation and mental confusion. Trying to find beauty in overthinking and attempting to embrace the haze.
The collection is a total of 13 new paintings, 12 of them representing each hour between midnight and noon and a 13th painting (The 13th Hour) representing the eternity of a sleepless moment.

SH: Is there a symbolic significance to the double vision aspect of your work?
AG: Many people say it’s hard to look at yet is what draws the viewer to the piece. For me, the vibrancy is a visual representation of breathing, living, experiencing one’s self. In regards to this specific collection, I would compare this to a mirror reflection experience. When you are so sleep deprived and walk in front of a mirror, you look at yourself and wonder: Is this me? Is this what I look like? Is this how people see me? Then you smile, thinking, I can look decent, and then you stare into your own soul, witnessing your own struggles. That duality is what I am trying to represent in my imagery.

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?
AG: My favorite piece for this show is “The 13th Hour”. Strangely enough, this is the last piece I worked on for the show; I find I was able to capture the emotion from which this entire series started. Whenever I produce a larger body of work in a condensed period, I find myself learning a lot, on a technical level but also how to translate the intangible ideas into something others can see. This painting is the most direct visual translation of what was on my mind at that moment.

SH: Where do you source inspiration?
AG: It depends, sometimes, I have ideas of colors or patterns I want to try, most of the time, it is more of an emotion I am trying to render. I strive to get all my inspirations from within myself and avoid getting influenced by external sources like social media or anything of that nature.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
AG: I do a lot of little doodles. My first ideas are often little stick figures and some simple lines just to help me remember the idea. I will grab anything close to me, napkin, notebook or sketchpad. I also have a few very silly notes on my phone such as “Boy with red lines,” or “snooze roosters,” I don’t think it would make sense for anyone but me hahaha.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
AG: I am very attracted to symmetry and balance, resulting in my compositions being very simple and slightly stiff. I don’t like to add elements for the sake of adding stuff. I prefer a minimalist approach to my pieces. I want the viewer to have a one-on-one encounter with the character painted, without distraction. I want the viewer to relate to the subject, projecting his/her own experience.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
AG: I love sketching, I love the early steps of the process, refining the idea, drawing the preliminary composition, etc. I am also learning to love the detailing process at the end. Adding texture and mini glazes.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
AG: Sometimes, an idea is so great in your mind, but then you just can’t put it down on paper, or you start painting it, and the whole thing turns muddy. It happens a lot, and over the years, I still struggle to let go of a piece once I start working on it; eventually, some pieces don’t make the cut and will be destroyed. I want to stay humble and always keep learning. For that to happen, it is important to push yourself and experiment while producing new works. This improvement process sometimes results in not-so-great art. Instead of getting frustrated, I need to learn to accept the lesson, absorb the learning and move on with the new skills (hopefully) acquired.

SH: What is an aspect of other’s artwork that really excites you, what are you drawn too?
AG: I am a huge art fan girl. I worship anyone one who comes up with ideas, concepts, and images I could never think of. I love colors and bold lines, I am a huge fan of Michael Reeder, Benjamin Cook, David Cook, Ryan Heshka, Travis Louie, Dan Lam, Richard Ahnert, Jeremy Okai Davis, Tina Lugo, 1010, Double Parlour, Caitlin T. McCormack and I could just keep on going and going… I love new ideas and people who master their own craft.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
AG: Sooooo many ideas. I really want to do more collaborative projects this year. Indie movies and musicians. Weirdly, I would love to do some kind of painting/ collab with Gucci. I have been loving their social media editorial content lately.
Also, I am currently working on a print collab with artist Paul Jackson I am super excited about.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
AG: When I turned 30, I suffered a massive heart attack, and it truly changed my life. I felt reborn and refocused on what is important. I suddenly knew I needed to direct my energy towards art and that it was my true calling. I also understood that living passionately was key. Time is the only currency we are all running out of. So, this sense of urgency started translating into everything I do. No time to wait or to be hesitant. You must commit and keep fighting.