Interview with Jaune for “Trash Talk”

Thinkspace is proud to present Trash Talk featuring new works by internationally renowned artists and street interventionists, Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK. Both critically acclaimed artists work on an atypical miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city. Jaune and Slinkachu both challenge this paradigm of scale while incorporating the city’s refuse and garbage into their imagery as materials and themes.

In anticipation of Trash Talk, our interview with Jaune discusses his collaboration with Slinkachu, the role of artists in society, and what the perfect day outside of the studio would look like.

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.

JU: Actually not one piece in particular but the whole exhibition as I always try to bring my work one step further, so it’s an all-new generation of works, I followed the same way I started to build for the previous shows but trying to change what I “disliked”. Like my stencils, my pieces are multi-layered but I always had the problem that the final result was quite heavy (visually) to make everything hold together, but this time, without taking out that multi layer effect, I could get to a visual light result, which obviously is really satisfying for me

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

JU: All my stencils are cut at the same scale, which makes every character, element or whatever able to be combined with any other one to create each time a new story made of the same element. A bit like when we speak, we use a limited range of vocabulary, only the position of the word in the sentence and how we accord them together make a new story.

So my challenge is to make something new and fresh with something I already used. Then I only need to create few new stencils, I don’t only create those stencil but an almost limitless number of possible new stories by combining with all the previous stencils.

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

JU: New projects, new places, new people!

The very roots of my work were born in Brussels, full of what we could call a kind of Belgian spirit: humour with self-derision and a bit of stupid nonsense. I was really curious to discover if that point which seems to me really local could work as well in other places with people that don’t specifically know this kind of work.

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

JU: Not many things actually, as I’m the only architect of my work, I try to make it only pleasant to me, trying to turn any difficulties or problem into a challenge to grow or a new adventure, any bad situation has a bright side!

The only point that could bother me seriously is when people use my work to promote themselves, without asking me any permission, what for them is a cool stuff to use, for me it’s a life’ work, then I’m really protective to it.

SH: What has the collaborative process been like with Slinkachu / Jaune? 

JU: A game! To me, it has been like a game! Inspiration, ideas, and creativity is my/our daily job if I can say it that way, create new projects, new ideas have really become a natural process, then making some work with an other artist, so an other universe, is like to open a door to on a new world. After that it’s like a ping pong game, one throw an idea, the other come back with his vision, which leads to a direction none of us could have reach alone, it’s really exciting.

SH: Speaking of collaboration, if you could collaborate with any artists (from any art form ie: movies, music, dance etc.) dead or alive who would it be and what would you create?

JU: There are so many artist I would like to collaborate with, actually I have desires to make common work with almost every artist I ever met on festival or on different project, but I can choose who I want, just to keep my humorous direction, I would have loved collaborating with Leonardo Da Vinci, first of all, because I would have left a huge impact on humanity, but mostly because the Mona Lisa would have been funnier with 3 fluo mini guys in the background trying to achieve a pointless job or a bunch of little workers drawn in his codex represented as trying to build his prototype of helicopter, it would just have been fun

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

JU: That’s a tricky question, I’m painting some bin men… I think an ice cream tasting like garbage doesn’t have a big chance to be liked…

My characters are often drinking beers, but I don’t think that an ice cream tasting like beer would be that amazing either, so I guess it would probably taste like a frozen cocktail and it would obviously have 2 fluorescent colours.

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

JU: I don’t think artists have a specific role as we are all singular personalities trying to express something, mostly something deeply personal. And as anyone is free to interpret any artwork following his own vision, it seems complicated to me to imagine artist with a defined role in this multi-directional society, the only point I believe each artist can bring is a different and creative point of view on a situation, which can allow the viewer to make a step back and have a different perspective on what is expressed by the artist, to get out of a daily routine in a way.

SH: What would a perfect day outside of the studio look like for you?

JU: There are 2 possibilities, outside of the studio but still with my stencils: then it would be on a festival in a sunny place, with other artists, having fun doodling some mini dudes everywhere I can.

If it is without my stencils, then it would be probably still in a sunny place, in the middle of nowhere, making a bbq with friends, just chilling!

SH: If you got to live in any movie or book for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or one of the characters?

JU: There’s a lot of movie universes I’d like to live in, but they are all pretty dangerous, so I guess living in an anime would be way safer… so I would probably live in the world of Kung Fu Panda for 3 reasons: Kung fu, noodles and humour!

Interview with Slinkachu for “Trash Talk”

Thinkspace is proud to present Trash Talk featuring new works by internationally renowned artists and street interventionists, Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK. Both critically acclaimed artists work on an atypical miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city. Jaune and Slinkachu both challenge this paradigm of scale while incorporating the city’s refuse and garbage into their imagery as materials and themes.

In anticipation of Trash Talk, our interview with Slinkachu discusses his collaboration with Jaune, the role of artists in society, and what the perfect day outside of the studio would look like.

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.

SL: The acrylic pieces are a completely new approach to presenting my photography and were a challenge to produce. They combine multiple UV ink layers on both sides of transparent acrylic shapes to produce a 3D effect as you look through the piece. Each layer needs to be precisely lined up – it’s almost like a layered screen print but with a reverse side too. I only got a real sense of how the pieces would work as they were printing. Seeing those pieces come to life made me feel proud. 

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

SL: I usually have to have a rough theme for a new show. In this case, I had ideas for pieces involving litter and discarded items and our relationship to these things. that seemed to compliment Jaune’s characters whose roles often involve the cleanup of the waste that we leave behind. ‘Trash Talk’ seems to evoke a conversation between us and our works. For my ideas specifically, I have to start with an idea that presents simply but has more layers of meaning.

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

SL: Seeing a piece finally come to life. The process of creation is something that I often find frustrating, especially with the photography where you are at the mercy of the elements and the situation cannot often be as controlled as I’d like. It is the goal of seeing a work come together that excites me, where I can look back and see a completed piece that is often close to how I initially saw it in my mind despite the unpredictable nature of shooting outdoors. 

SH: What has the collaborative process been like with Jaune? 

SL: One thing that has been interesting is that, although we both work in miniature we work in very different scales. Also, my work is mostly three dimensional whereas Jaune’s is in two dimensions, or perhaps two and a half in some cases. Some ideas that we had just wouldn’t work due to those differences. They were just physically impossible to implement in a satisfying way. But seeing our ideas completed and working together has been exciting!

SH: Speaking of collaboration, if you could collaborate with any artists (from any art form ie: movies, music, dance, etc.) dead or alive who would it be and what would you create?

SL: I am not sure about specific artists but I am interested in set design and also screenwriting. I’ve been fascinated by the process of film or tv production and the various artistic elements that are involved ever since I was a child and I fell in love with Star Wars and the artists involved with those films. I often view my works as static scenes in miniature. So to get to work with a team of creatives on a project like that would be a dream. 

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

SL: I can be a really indecisive person, sometimes I’ll have ideas in my notebook for years before I decide how best to bring them to life. I think I’d cheat and have a tub full of lots of smaller tubs of different flavours. An ice cream buffet in a pot, called ‘IndICEision’

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

SL: I think artists should be storytellers, either of fact or fiction. Narrative is important in my work and I look for it in others’ works too. 

SH: What would a perfect day outside of the studio look like for you?

SL: My perfect day would be spent with my family and friends and dog, sitting by a pool and drinking and laughing. Or at the new Star Wars land at Disney, in costume with a lightsaber. 

SH: If you got to live in any movie or book for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or one of the characters?

SL: See above! As Master Yoda said, “Size matters not”. 

Interview with Sean Mahan for “Translucent Vision”

We’re excited to be showing new work by Florida-based artist Sean Mahan in our project room for his solo exhibition Translucent Vision opening Saturday, June 1st. Mahan’s compositions are sweetly nostalgic portraits and illustrative renderings of children, incorporating vintage objects and motifs to explore an idea of cultural obsolescence through the fetishization of symbols and references drawn from bygone eras.

In anticipation of Translucent Vision, our interview with Sean Mahan discusses the inspiration behind this latest body of work, the role of artists in society, and who would direct the movie of his life.

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

SM: Hello! Yes, I went to art school for illustration in the ‘90s.  After school, I started painting illustrative fine-art paintings, many of which became record covers for post-hardcore and other kinds of punk bands.  At that time I also worked as a commercial muralist for 15 years and that really helped me learn how to work with latex/acrylic paint.  I’ve continued to work full time in the studio making paintings ever since and I still love to make record cover art.

SH: What was the inspiration behind “Translucent Vision”? 

SM: The idea for the series began with the song “Translucent Vision,” that I wrote several years ago.  It considers the challenge of shaping the world around us while holding a disfigured view of it.  This new series of paintings are a continuation of that investigation, questioning the possibility of breaking through a universe of preconceptions that distance and dissociate us from more directly experiencing each other and the world around us.

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.

SM: My favorite painting of the show is “Light Bending In Between Us”.  It depicts a girl focusing a vintage projector.  The light extends out to partially illuminate a songbird that is passing by.  The challenge of the painting was capturing the level of detail that I wanted on the heavily textured fabric surface. I found a few new solutions and I am really happy with the result. 

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

SM: I was really excited to use a collection of vintage fabric pieces that I had been saving for this show.  All the fabrics are Swedish textiles from the 60’s that have this wonderful luminous quality.  My thought was to take a mass-produced textile and return it to an original object, gesturing at the idea of turning a popularly held preconception back to an original creative thought.  I was excited to try and embed the concept of the show into the ground of the paintings themselves.  

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

SM: Painting with acrylics is quite time consuming for me and that is what is both frustrating and rewarding about it.  It takes a long time to build up layers to get it looking smooth, but that process is quite calming and focusing.  I think your state of mind is reflected in your painting and the opposite is also true — your painting affects your state of mind.

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

SM: That’s funny.  There is a tropical fruit called “Dead Man’s Fingers” that I really love.  It’s an oddity because it produces three fruits from one flower and has the strangest texture — like cold dead fingers, but tastes super sweet and floral.  I’m not exactly sure how it relates to my body of work, but it would be a great flavor!

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

SM: I really like this question and its one I think about a lot.  I think artists capture our intersubjective feelings in a visual language and help to remind us how to find those feelings within ourselves.  I think that art can connect more directly to a feeling within us, possibly subverting our normal concept-laden perception.  

My favorite artists are ones who can interrupt my normal line of thinking and break through with something that I immediately connect with emotionally and afterward find ways to conceptualize.  

SH: What would a perfect day outside of the studio look like for you? 

SM: I love walking down to the beach, swimming and surfing, visiting museums and gardens, eating some tropical fruits, and watching movies at a vintage theater.

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.  

SM: As long as John Waters is directing it, he can cast whomever he likes.  

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? 

SM: I would like to make a record cover for the band Nos Miran (on Elefant Records).  Marta and Sergio, are you reading this? Do you need some cover art?

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

SM: I like to go swimming in one of Florida’s natural springs.  I feel a real sense of connection to place at Florida springs, there is something so beautifully refreshing about it!

Join us June 1st from 6 to 9 pm for the opening reception ofTranslucent Vision.

POW! WOW! Hawaii 2019

Our annual trip out to Hawaii for Pow! Wow! at the start of the year is always a highlight of Thinkspace’s curatorial calendar. If you were unable to meet up with us in Honolulu, check out all the action above in the official recap video.

Visit ThinkspaceProjects.com to see all available art work from the group exhibition we curated for Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2019.

Interview with Frank Gonzales for “Desert Discourse”

We’re excited to be showing new work by Pheonix-based artist Frank Gonzales in our project room for his solo exhibition Desert Discourse opening Saturday, March 2nd. Gonzales’s compostions showcase his love of botany and ornithology, combining both the organic and artificial, the natural and the contrived, to produce what the artist himself has aptly coined ‘artificial realism.’

In anticipation of Desert Discourse our interview with Frank Gonzales discusses the inspiration behind this latest body or work, and his love for prickly pear and John Coltrane.

SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? Were you exploring a specific theme or pushing yourself artistically in a certain way?

FG: I’m always trying to push myself artistically with each painting or body of work, at least I try.  The theme of my work is a continued exploration of the phenomena and sense of wonder I hold of the natural world. There’s been an introduction of aerosol in some of the works. Its been great To revisit my roots as a graff writer and play with the medium again. The quality of paint and options of colors offered these days are phenomenal. That kind of makes me sound old, haha. It’s just great to throw another medium in the mix and react to it. 

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.

FG: I really enjoyed painting Night Breed. It’s more specific imagery wise. Instead of stacking various elements I chose to illustrate a pollinating night scene of a Saguaro with Long Nosed Bats. There are so many different pollinators of the Saguaro, but a night scene with bats is just so badss. Its remarkable knowing a Saguaro doesn’t even produce flowers until its around 70 years old and can age well over 100 years old! Pollination of flowering cactus in the Sonoran Desert could be a whole series in itself. Who knows, that could be another venture to explore on the horizon!   

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

FG: I’ll usually start by obsessing over a certain cactus or mineral or some sort of natural element as a jump-off point. Or I will just start putting down paint on a surface and react with shapes and colors, etc. Its a pretty organic process.

Once I have a surface I’m happy with I will start to research from books, pics I’ve documented, my desktop folder of images, or plants from my own collection. Once an element is chosen I’ll draw it on the surface and it grows from there. The painting will usually dictate what it needs. The hardest part is learning to step aside from yourself and let it happen without getting too heady about it.

The painting process is usually a blur of being in the moment. I love that the most. All sense of time is gone until you stop and back away. It’s an experience I think most artists can relate to. 

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

FG: It can be a love/hate relationship. Sometimes starting is the hardest part and also the most exciting. As mentioned above I think getting out of the way of yourself and moving with the process is exciting. There’s a sort of dialogue that happens I find enjoyable. 

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

FG: The times where you feel like you’ve run out of ideas or stopping yourself mentally before even starting. This is usually a sign that something needs to change. Find a different approach or just change the music. In the end the work will still be consistent, but its the mental chatter that can be a bit of a buzz kill. I definitely think the excitement and frustration balance each other out. You can’t have one without the other. 

SH: Is there a piece of knowledge or advice around being a working artist that you wish you knew 10 years ago? 

FG: Not really. Its an ongoing journey to be explored. 

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

FG: Hmmm, maybe Prickly Pear fruit! I would have to be a Paleta and all natural. HA! 

SH: If you could collaborate with any other artist (dead or alive) in any art form, such as music, film, dance etc… what would be your dream collab and what would you create?

FG: At first my thoughts would be to do live art with John Coltrane, but I wouldn’t get anything done because I would probably just stand there in awe. I would probably have to go with producing some type of super sexy and sensual botanicals for a Prince album. HAHA. 

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

FG: The role of artists in society is very vital. It’s how we communicate and express the unspeakable truths of natural phenomena. Language can only communicate so much. There are so many forms of art out there that inspire, inform and speak to me. It shows what it means to be human. It’s chaos, it’s ugly, it’s pretty, it’s functional, it’s useless, etc. It’s all out there. What matters is how we engage with it. It’s about what we choose to accept and not accept and to keep an open mind and heart regardless.

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

FG: a big sigh and some brews. ha!

Join us for the opening reception of Desert Discourse, Saturday March 2nd from 6 to 9 pm.