Interview with Fintan Magee for “The Big Dry”

Thinkspace is proud to present, ‘The Big Dry‘ the first solo exhibition of
new works by Australian artist and street muralist Fintan Magee in our main room.  Fintan is a contemporary social realist and a portrait painter who incorporates compelling and poetic elements of the surreal into his pieces. For The Big Dry, Magee looks to the idea of the American dream, specifically, the white picket fence and the aspirational ambitions it represents. Drawing parallels with the exclusionary policies of the Trump era and its constant inculcation and threat of ‘the wall,’ Magee considers the white picket fence as another divisive symbol, and asks the question: “who built the American dream?” In anticipation of Fintan’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Fintan Magee to discuss his latest body of work, time travel, and studio life.

Join us for the opening of “The Big Dry”, Saturday, June 2nd from 6 to 9 pm. 

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?
FM: The show is really an exploration of day to day experience to explore issues and place them in a human context. This exhibition will be a series of paintings, short stories, and installations that I will explore my experiences during the millennium drought in Australia. I wanted to draw links between the drought in Australia and California but also use my experiences to talk about broader global issues like climate change.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?
FM: I don’t really check blogs as much as I used to which sucks because the Instagram and Facebook algorithms are really making it difficult to see interesting or different content other than the shit that is going ‘viral’. The three Instagram profiles I check daily outside of art are @amapaday @browncardigan and @cooksuck

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
FM: Pretty much all of it.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
FM: Pretty much all of it.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
FM: I have one day off to get wasted and then usually get straight back to work. After being locked away in the studio for a while I am usually pretty eager to get out and paint some walls so I like to get straight back out there.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
FM: I usually start with a sketch, then take reference photo’s, then do another sketch. Then put together a mockup in photoshop. If I am happy with how it’s working I will then put it on canvas.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?
FM: No I am constantly working year round besides a week or two off at Christmas. I am usually in the studio 6 days a week and try to do a solid 8 hours painting every day, sometimes more if I have a deadline.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?
FM: No, I rarely snack. 3 square meals a day is enough for me. I was on a low carb diet when I was making most of this show which generally sucked. I am looking forward to putting some weight back on when I get to America.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?
FM: I have never really thought about something like this before. I have always seen my work as telling stories so I would want to work with a musician that also saw themselves as similar, Someone like Tom Waits, Nick Cave or Kendrick Lamar for example.

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.
FM: I don’t think there has ever been a moment. I have always been drawing since I was a little kid so it has been a long and slow build up more than anything.

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?
FM: The only thing I use out of the ordinary is a weed sprayer and a fire extinguisher full of paint. The only thing I wish is that I was able to keep my studio cleaner. It’s usually pretty chaotic.

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?
FM: There is no way I would go back in time. I would be pretty keen to see what the world is like 100 years from now. So I would just drop in and out of points in the future to see how it all worked out.

Interview with LONAC for “Strange Tales” – Opening Friday May 4th

Thinkspace is proud to present, ‘Strange Tales‘ the first solo exhibition of
new works by Croatian artist and street muralist Lonac in our main room. Lonac combines photorealistic rendering with illustrative and two-dimensional stylistic elements, as a self-taught artist he has refined through extensive fieldwork over the years. For ‘Strange Tales’, Lonac will present new drawings, paintings, and sculptures, all inspired by his penchant for surreal storytelling. In anticipation of Lonac’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Lonac to discuss his latest body of work, creative process, and catalyst for his artistic pursuits.

Join us for the opening of “Strange Tales”, this Friday, May 4th from 6 to 9 pm. 

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?

LONAC: This upcoming show was a great opportunity for me to close myself in my studio and to finally use my outside experience for series of paintings, wall sculptures and some drawings. On the streets, in the past 8 years, I combined illustration style with realism, did some wall animations, played with old skateboard decks and made bigger and smaller installations with it, and a number of big murals with realistic characters. I always like to jump from one theme to something totally different and that’s what I wanted to do for the show as well.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?

LONAC: I used to check Batman news site a lot, but since the last few movies were not that good, I kind of stopped visiting the news. But yeah, I really really like movies so I think every day I listen John Campea YouTuber who talks about movies. He lives in LA I think. On Instagram, i follow mostly artists that I admire and respect, the same as festivals and magazines, Juxtapoz, Hifructose.

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

LONAC: The best thing is when I come to learn something new. I always try to do something a bit different than the last time, something that might be a challenge and a new lesson.

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

LONAC: My nitpicking. It’s something that’s just part of my nature, but sometimes it makes me crazy. Everything must be in its place. I’m also always aware that it could be better so that’s why I’m never 100% satisfied, and that makes me work even more until someone slaps me 🙂

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

LONAC: Nah, after this show I’ll have a few days of a break but there are a few festivals I’m going to paint and even between them I think I’ll be painting in my studio. I can’t rest for too long, always have to do something that has to do with creativity.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?

LONAC: On the walls, the format of the building, and the elements that are sometimes on the wall are what kind off help me with the composition. Surroundings as well sometimes. In studio work, I think it depends on the idea and do I know already how I want the whole image look like or do I want to start with the main part and build the rest out of that. With some of the paintings for the show, I just started building the composition by adding elements that compliment the main subject of the motif.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?

LONAC: I can stay inside for very long time with small brakes. Once I start working then It’s kind of just that until I’m done.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?

LONAC: Uh, I started eating more, usually I mostly “eat” coffee. I can have 2 meals and that’s enough, with some fruit here and there but I dont eat that much. Sometimes in the morning, it’s just coffee, then lunch and then more coffee, and then something with caffeine.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?

LONAC: I had a pleasure to do that with a Croatian didgeridoo player Dubravko Lapaine. He’s one of the top players, and me being a didgeridoo player and his friend, that was a great experience. But for someone outside Croatia hmmm. Some time ago I would say Tool or something like that, or Soundgarden but Cornell is gone so….Maybe Jose Gonzales or some Brass Band like Young Blood or Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Love trumpets 🙂

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.

LONAC: I think ten years ago MaClaim Crew kind of saved me from quitting art. That was really the starting point where I decided to learn to paint by myself and do walls alone- 10/15 years ago there were mostly only graffiti in Zagreb, and anything else wasn’t that appreciated right away. It took time 🙂

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?

LONAC: There’s too much spray cans, MTN 94 and Gold Montana. In smaller boxes I have all sorts of oils that’s I buy across my street where is a very good friendly art shop. Isabey, Rosemarry , Liquin, Louvre, Van Gough, Rubens, Etude, ….all sorts of brands of brushes, mediums, and paints I piled in last 10 years.

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?

LONAC: Wouldn’t mind going on a live performance of Django Reinhardt

Interview with Drew Merritt for “Slaying Idols” Opening Friday, May 4th.

Thinkspace is proud to present Drew Merritt’s solo exhibition ‘Slaying Idols’ in our project room. Merritt’s hyperreal rendering and darkly stylized
painting’s aim to evoke emotion from the viewer while being an emotional journal and catharsis for the artist. In anticipation of Merritt’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Drew Merritt to discuss his latest body of work, in-studio diet, and his greatest fear.

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?

DM: Slaying idols for me is the concept of basically removing my idols and most of their influence from my life and work. It’s sort of an acknowledgment of a transitional time to move forward creatively. Since my work is all so personal and basically connected to my thoughts and emotions of whats going on in my personal life, it’s not only creative growth but also spiritual and mental growth as well. The pieces as also a small bit interactive as they were meant to be shown together. Each painting is a node to the other. Personal experiences tie the pieces together, but the subject content separates them. I’m sure a few look out of place without explanation or context behind them but I really like that about this series and with one of the paintings that I won’t name ( so the viewer finds their own meaning and connection id rather not ruin ) is the whole point behind the piece itself.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?

DM: The more I go inward in my own work and personal growth I try to stay uninfluenced by art websites and social media, which is so difficult nowadays because there are so many amazing artists and art blogs that are at your fingertips. Does Netflix and music blogs count?

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

DM: I really like expression. I don’t know why I feel the need to express visually my emotions and feelings but I like the idea of empathy and people connecting and impacting their lives positively through my work. I like the idea of taking something sad, negative, or melancholy and turning it into something visually pleasing and through that connecting with people and hopefully making their lives a little less melancholy.

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

DM: Time. Time is my biggest enemy right now. I’ve done the math of how long it takes to create my work and I know around the number of paintings I’ll leave behind when I’m dead. And it’s not enough. The scariest feeling in the world to me is not being enough. and that is frustrating as hell.

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

DM: Wake up the next day with a bigger cup of coffee and start painting again.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?

DM: Mostly they start with rough contour drawings and sketches in my moleskins. They are mainly just scribbles that are illegible and don’t look representation until I find something that interests me. Then I think about what I want to say or express, or not express with the subject and start casting models or actors/actresses that I think could convey the emotions properly. Mostly I try to work with people I know or am close to subject wise so I’m comfortable with telling them the meanings behind it since its basically like a big journal. As for the smaller work in portrait format, I end up slightly off centering just because it makes it a little different or uncomfortable. I have a bad habit of thinking a little too big, so smaller work is a challenge for me because compositionally it feels like I cut off 90% of the other parts of the work which, in of itself also catches my attention and interest.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?

DM: I’m in the studio every day unless I’m working on a wall project. Every day varies a little because living gets in the way of work. Right now I’m doing around 17 hours a day painting/working if I could average.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?

DM: This one hurts a little to answer honestly. When I’m working on a show I wake up and get a 5 shot espresso latte and try to jump into painting fast because I know I only have so much natural light during the day. Mostly on a fast food and delivery diet. And if I’m being 100% honest I either skip meals to save time or forget to eat all together. Embarrassing but real.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?

DM: Vince Staples. Aesop Rock. Tom Waits. Any of those would be pretty epic to work with in my opinion. There are a lot but I think those would probably be the top three in no specific order.

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.

DM: So many I don’t even know where to start. Its been a constant evolution for as long as I can remember, but I have to say the main ones are the haters. It’s funny how the people telling you how you won’t amount to anything or that you won’t be successful light a fire under you.

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?

DM: I’ve got a variety of brands of oil paints. I don’t stick to just one brand because I like different hues of the same color with each brand. So I mix and match and mix up my own colors with them so I can be more precise with the colors I want to use. As for brushes, I treat them like shit so I go through them much faster than I should. I’m really feeling rosemary brushes lately. What I wish was in my studio? Gigi Hadid.

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?

DM: If It was just to observe I think I’d go back to watch the crucifixion of Christ. or better yet, the resurrection of Christ.

Join us for the opening of “Slaying Idols”, Friday, May 4th from 6 to 9 pm. 

TONER MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT LISTFIELD

Toner Magazine Scott Listfield

Toner Magazine recently interviewed Thinkspace Family member Scott Listfield who’s most recent exhibition “1984” was on view this past January. The interview explores Listfield’s inspiration and path as a creative person. Visit Toner Magazine for the full interview and a great highlight of Listfield’s body of work over the years.

Creativity without discipline is a nice hobby. Which is fine. Hobbies are coolBut if you want to make a career out of something, or even just get your work out there in the world, you better be ready to get some work done, make some sacrifices. – Scott Listfield for Toner Magazine

Interview with Michel Reeder for “mOMENt”

Thinkspace is proud to present Michael Reeders solo exhibition ‘mOMENt’ in our project room. Last year we presented two sold-out mini-solos from Michael Reeder in Miami and Arizona, and are excited to finally present a full body of work in our Culver City gallery. Reeder’s mixed media contemporary portraits use figurative distortions and symbolic dislocations as a vehicle for the expression and examination of identity that constantly keep us on our toes and pondering. In anticipation of Reeder’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Michael Reeder to discuss his latest body of work, in-studio diet, and MFA of life.

mOMENt’s opening reception is from 6 – 9 pm this coming Saturday, April 7th in our project room

 

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?

MR: My work always begins and ends with the surface. However, for this body of work, I wanted the literal identifiable imagery of the portrait to fall back as a secondary element and let color, surface, shape, and form take on a more dominant role. In doing so, I hoped to give the figures more of an in-between realms sort of vibe; As if they are in a deep state of contemplation, or hypnosis, or even partaking in mind-altering substances, etc. I wanted to depict the point where their everyday world and the world in their minds begin to fuse and blend. Also, in previous works, there was a simplified shape to the figure or portrait bust and the interior elements of the portrait gave the figure a sense of identity, and in these new works, it’s somewhat reversed. The interior of the portrait is abstract and painterly with very little if any information and the silhouette holds more information of who the figure is. But yeah, super excited to be showing in the Project Room! Can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of the new stuff!

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?

MR: I don’t really have any go to websites, but on IG I definitely try to keep up with a range of artists. Right now I’m really feeling @katherynmac, @ineslongevial, and @anjasalonen….. such incredible painters!

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

MR: The journey of creating something from nearly nothing is extremely rewarding, regardless of how successful the final product is. I love building on top of previous concepts or getting to implement new ideas that were discovered from a previous body of work.

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

MR: All of it. Haha, no not really, but sometimes it can certainly feel that way. My latest work has of course taken on a more dimensional quality, and implementing the physical layers while trying to maintain an uncontrived and fresh feel is a major challenge. Many of these works require significant preliminary planning due to the amount of bracing, gluing and hardware that is required to attach such heavy pieces together. This stage can easily stagnate a piece, as well as kill the journey for me. The last thing I want to do is spend hours a day, every day, working on something that I already know what the end result is going to be. That’s extremely boring.

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

MR: I don’t have a particular ritual but I do try to take a few days off. I took a week off after the Scope push, but this round I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do that. My schedule is way too packed leading into summer… I’ve got some commissions I’ve been sitting on for nearly forever, and I’d love to get somewhat caught up on those.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?

MR: It all starts with a super simple doodle of shapes to establish a general composition that I’ve built in my head. I then transfer that to Photoshop or Procreate on my iPad, and I start pushing colors and shapes around. I’ll begin to bring in some representational elements, ie. hands, arms, faces, and will usually run through a few different versions so I can establish a solid starting point. This allows me to engineer the structural parts of the piece early on like I mentioned earlier. Some of my pieces can have some pretty significant weight to them, so it’s important to make sure I start off with a sound base to build on top of. I’ve certainly had a few pieces go in an unplanned direction, and therefore not all that prepared for the weight of certain pieces. I’ve definitely had to perform some surgery here and there to shore up areas while the piece was nearly done, lol.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?

MR: At the moment I typically spend 6 to 7 days a week in the studio. As a show deadline approaches, the days get longer and longer and far more intensely focused on production and the completion of works.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?

MR: 3 meals a day and I’m pretty locked on what they are too, lol. I don’t have time to spend trying to figure out what to eat. Granola and coffee in the morning and I make my lunch sandwich before I head out to the studio. The sandwich is comprised of hummus, shredded carrots, ¼ avocado, and arugula and spinach on a wheat bun. Essentially a salad on bread, lol. I have coconut milk yogurts and peanut butter and jelly supplies stocked at the studio. However, I do my best to get home to eat dinner with my girlfriend!

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?

MR: Oh man… wow… Collaborating with Black Sabbath in their heyday would’ve been amazing, but I really feel like Uncle Acid and Deadbeats and I could make a really sick music video together!

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.

MR: I used to work at Eyecon Studios which is a mural company in Dallas, TX. In a way, the two owners sort of became mentors of mine. Their breadth of knowledge in the arts, especially in the commercial and illustration realm, is immense. I just tried to be a sponge and soak up as much as I could while I was there. I can for sure, without hesitation say that the work I’m making now would not exist if I did not work for them. Many of my undergrad classmates at SVA went on to get their MFA degrees after graduating. I decided to take the advice of Farrell Brickhouse (an instructor of mine), and sought experience from other aspects of life after. So in a way, Eyecon was my MFA program. Instead of taking out another student loan I got paid to learn more.

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?

MR: I’ve got the standard paints, oil, acrylic, and acrylic latex. I also have a full range of potassium silicate paint which is a mineral based silicate paint. Beautiful stuff, but stupid expensive – and they just went up on their prices too! I’ve got a vinyl cutter, vinyl, vinyl masking, etc. Tons of tools such as different saws, sanders, routers, nearly every hole saw bit you can buy, lol. A bunch of other crap! I just moved into a larger studio space, so I’m hoping to eventually be able to set up a proper table saw. I’d also like to set up a spray booth as well. Spray paint is such a pain in the ass to clean up!! That would also let me get a big air compressor set up with different cup guns and airbrushes and maybe be able to achieve some sweeter gradients in my work. I’m a color nerd and very much prefer to mix my own colors and with spray paint, you’re not able to necessarily do that.

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?

MR: Ahh geez… ummm… let me think on that one for a bit.