An interview with Dabs Myla

Dabs and Myla at work in their Hollywood studio

An interview with Dabs Myla

Dabs Myla‘s new body of work is based on the overwhelming experiences the two artists had while visiting one of the most hectic cities in the world, Toyko. While creating a show about Tokyo is a bit like shooting a fish in a barrel due to all the visual stimuli found there, the couple took on the task and soaked up as much pop culture as their minds could take. Between taking photographs of the architecture and sketching up ideas wherever they went, Dabs Myla feel they have created a collection of paintings that reflects the stamp left on their brains from their trip to Tokyo. Our project room will be a virtual visual overload this September as the pair fill it with a wide array of new works layered on top of a full room mural and additional installation elements including die-cut figures, buildings, clouds, and more. ‘Tokyo Deluxe’ promises an immersive experience.

Dabs Myla 'Golden Moments With Fuji and the Yokai' - 22x18" - acrylic on wood panel

Please talk a lil’ bit about your recent trip to Japan where the photo reference shots for this new series were taken.
MYLA: We visited Tokyo in April on our way back to LA from Melbourne…we spent the 5 days there exploring the city and photographing the city’s landscapes, people and characters which inspired the series of work we have created for this show. All the paintings are about experiences we had there, Japanese character’s we saw in advertisements, the food we ate and the general awesomeness of Tokyo!

Myla at work on the install for 'Tokyo Deluxe'

How did you two meet? At what moment did you both realize you wanted to work together as a team?
DABS: We met each other about 7 years ago at art school in Australia. We where both studying illustration together, and over the years we developed a good friendship, then well…one thing led to another…and we fell in love! On the first weekend we spent together as a couple we sat inside for 2 days and made a collaboration painting. From then on we have always been collaborating on different pieces here and there…but it was about 3 years ago we decided to totally merge together and create one entity, every piece of artwork we have made since then has been a collaboration…except for our graffiti pieces…painting your name/letters is something that needs to be handled one on one.

Dabs Myla 'Mr. Danger' - 9x11" - acrylic on wood panel

What do you both consider to be your biggest overall influences?
MYLA: Working as a team is definitely our biggest influence in our work…the characters, locations and themes in our work represent things that we both like and experience together! We are always bouncing ideas off each other in our pieces and although we paint separate parts of the paintings, we both influence each other in the outcome!

Dabs Myla 'Takoyaki and the Sleezy Sushi King' - 9x11" - acrylic on wood panel

Name one artist from Australia that you think is criminally underrated outside of Australia and deserves more attention Stateside?
DABS: I gotta say NEW 2..Growing up he was a massive influence for me in graffiti through the mid/late 80’s to the mid 90’s. Then he came back on the scene about 10 years ago and is still such an amazing artist, with a real graff structure to his letters that can’t be beat! Then on top of that his fine art and ceramic letters that he sculpts are equally as strong and legit as his graffiti. New 2 recently relocated to Belgium where he is still totally on top of his game showing some Euro cats what time it is!

Dabs working on the installation for 'Tokyo Deluxe'

From your time in Australia running a gallery, please name one thing you learned from that experience that has stuck with you to this day?
DABS: As an artist, we really did learn a lot from the time spent running a gallery. A lot of artists i think find it hard to really understand the relationship between an artists and a gallery and that both are just as important as each other. A gallery needs good artists to run successfully, but an artist needs a good gallery working for them just as much! I think we have a pretty good understanding of that by having been on both sides of the fence!

Dabs laying in some final details on the 'Tokyo Deluxe' installation

What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your exhibit with us?
DABS: Well…First thing coming up for us after this show is our wedding which is just a few weeks after the show opens! We have a bunch of Australians coming out to LA to celebrate with us, as well as all our friends here in LA. It’s gonna be so much fun! In November we’ll have a new piece in your 5 Year Anniversary show. In December we will head back down to Miami for Art Basel/Primary Flight… Then we will start working on some new work for a show we are having in Palm Springs at M Modern gallery. It will be during Modernism week in Palm Springs, so we will make a set of paintings based on a modernism style?..but with a DABS and MYLA spin. We also have our show next summer at Thinkspace which we will start working on in the next couple of months too!!!

Dabs and Myla at work on the 'Tokyo Deluxe' installation

Being from Australia, what strikes you as the biggest difference between your home there and your new home here in Los Angeles?
MYLA: Donuts, the weather and palm trees! Australian donuts are not as fluffy, but are also very delicious, Melbourne weather has a pretty cold winter and there are only a few palm trees where we are from!!!

Paul Hogan or Russel Crowe?
DABS: Seriously…no contest at all!!..Paul Hogan is a true blue legend! Crocodile Dundee?..forget about it, that shit was genius! Russell Crowe…he can act I guess but he is such a douche that it cancels out any talent he may have!! I’m glad you didn’t mention Mel Gibson! You don’t wanna get me started on that guy, hes putting our country to shame!…see now im all worked up, thanks a bunch!

Why are Tim Tams SOOO damn good?
DABS: That would be because the chocolate they use in a Tim Tam has crack cocaine in it!..that’s my theory anyways..its the only explanation for it!

Dabs Myla 'Tokyo Deluxe' - 9x11" - acrylic on wood panel

Dabs Myla ‘Tokyo Deluxe’

Opening Reception: THIS FRI, Sept. 3rd 7-11PM in our project room

Check out Dabs Myla’s progress on their installation here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkspace/sets/72157624205650731/

Thinkspace
6009 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
#310.558.3375
www.thinkspacegallery.com

An interview with Sarah Joncas

Sarah Joncas at work on her mural for 'Siren' - opening this Fri, Sept. 3rd at Thinkspace

An interview with Sarah Joncas

For anyone who follows Sarah Joncas‘ work, it should come as no surprise that music has and is a large influence on her painting process. Just as mediums or materials are essential to creating, Joncas considers music a necessary ingredient to developing and fulfilling her ideas. It was no doubt that sooner or later music would become the central theme to a body of her work. From instrument to dance, the artist has brought music to the forefront of her solo female narratives and embraced this all-important part of our culture. Similar to the pop element in her work (visually impacted by sources such as comic books, anime, film and cartoons), Joncas’ musical inspirations are mostly streaming from rock and alternative roots. Suitably given the title ‘Siren‘, this show is about the seduction and romance of music. It gets us moving, gets us singing, tugs at the heartstrings and becomes undeniably infused with our character and how we identify with the world. To further this theme, all the works included in ‘Siren’ have been named after songs/lyrics/bands that suit them or provide an opening to interpretation. Some inspired by, some titled afterwards with consideration. Though physically silent, it has always been the artist’s hope to create work that can speak and touch someone in a similar way as a piece of music does.

Sarah Joncas 'Lullaby' - 20x24" - oil on canvas

Please talk a lil’ bit about the work that makes up your new series for ‘Siren‘. Was there one particular moment that helped to shape this body of work?
Well, I’ve wanted to make a music themed body of work for awhile now, which may not be so surprising. The title felt suitable as this show is about the seduction and romance of music, as well as linking to my usual subject matter of dark, solitary women. I wasn’t entirely certain that this would be my direction in the beginning, but after starting on a couple pieces – a dancer and a quiet geisha holding a guitar – everything else just flowed out naturally and without hesitation.

'Wish You Were Here' in Sarah's studio in Canada

Why did you choose to become an artist?
It was a fairly natural course for me. I hate to be the cliché and say I knew from the beginning, but I kind of did. I loved drawing even at 2-3 years old, told my mom at 5 that’s what I wanted to do. It’s just what makes me happy!

Sarah's paintings for 'Siren' just back from our framers

From your time at art school, name one thing you learned while there that has stuck with you to this day?
Don’t let anyone stop you from making the art you want to make! It’s good to take suggestions and criticism, it might even benefit your work, but you’ll be better off doing what makes you happy since that’s where the passion for creating is. I’d be so miserable if I listened to a prof who told me figure painting is dead… Besides, he was wrong.

A look at 'Moody Blues' on the easel in Sarah's studio

The works in your new series are all named after popular songs from the rock and alternative realms. Would you one day like to work with a band on creating the layout/concept for their album art? If so, which one band would you pick if you had your choice?
I guess I would be pretty amazed with such an offer, at least if it were a band I enjoyed. I’d feel so unworthy though, haha. There are so many musicians I love, but I keep going over what bands my work might actually suit rather than just anyone. Maybe a band with a strong female lead like Portishead, Tori Amos, Cat Power, Bat for Lashes, Garbage etc…

Sarah Joncas 'Siren Song' - 14x18" - oil on canvas

Being from Canada, what do you like most about California when you come to visit? What strikes you as the biggest difference?
Well, I haven’t traveled much of Canada yet, but compared to what I’ve seen – the landscape! And all those crazy trees. Somehow I doubt someone would visit Ontario and gawk at the pines, but every time I saw a cool looking tree in LA I had to take a photo and touch the bark… Is that weird? And you guys have the ocean and all those valleys… My answer might be different if I got the chance to travel to BC or the Maritimes, but I haven’t.

Sarah Joncas' sketch for her mural for 'Siren' along with photos of her past mural installations at Thinkspace

What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your show with us?
I have a piece in the Last Rites Gallery (New York, NY) October group show, a piece for your 5 year anniversary show in November, and a solo I’m already starting work on for April with the Last Rites Gallery… Expect the work to get dark for that one.

Sarah Joncas 'My Little China Girl' - 16x20" - oil on canvas

Sarah Joncas ‘Siren’

Opening Reception: THIS FRI, Sept. 3rd 7-11PM

Check out Sarah’s progress on her mural for ‘Siren’ here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkspace/sets/72157624205592895/

Thinkspace
6009 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
#310.558.3375
www.thinkspacegallery.com

An interview with Yosuke Ueno

Main gallery view of Yosuke Ueno's 'Negative Never Again' - on view through July 30th at Thinkspace

An interview with Yosuke Ueno

“If there were more Yosuke Ueno’s in the world, it might be a more enjoyable place. Ueno has an infectious positivity, which jumps out at viewers of his detailed, colorful paintings.” – Juxtapoz.com

“It’s only a matter of looking, or perhaps a better word is seeing, and taking pleasure in the pieces offered before this puzzle begins to speak for itself. When working in symbols so perceptively designed, and so thoroughly imagined, everything takes on meaning…” – Hi-Fructose

“An appealing new body of work featuring cute, whimsical, and mystical visions incorporating a wide variety of pop inspirations.” – DailyDujour.com

Yosuke Ueno sketches for a fan

Please tell us a little bit about the work that makes up your new series for “Negative Never Again”?
Though I am taking up “being Positive” as my art theme, I sometimes despair of things around myself as people always do. However I believe every possibility subsisting in despair. A skull character of my NNA series draws a cloak of the space. The skull represents the despair and the space cloak does possibility. That means the despair is covered with possibility. Then, the NNA series are portraits of human being for me.

Yosuke Ueno 'Positive-E no.5'

Your work was recently a part of the Animamix Biennial that traveled to the Today Art Museum (Beijing), MoCA Shanghai, MoCA Taipei, and MoCA Kaohsiung. How did the exhibition come together and have you heard any feedback from the curator?
I had a solo show in Tokyo last November. The curator of the show had invited my pieces to the show then. I have heard that my works had received favorable reviews at all the places. I was really glad that a lot of Asian people had enjoyed my pieces, and I hope my artworks to be more popular among Aian countries.

Yosuke Ueno 'Hapiko' mixed media sculpture

Please tell us about your plans for “Hapiko”, your first bronze sculpture edition.
First of all, I had created the Hapiko figure with clay. When Gino Jouker from Toy Art Gallery came to Japan, I showed it to him and he liked the figure. He soon arranged things to make the Hapiko figure into bronze sculptures. I really appreciated that. I have a lot of original characters. So I hope more characters of myself to be sculptures or art toys from now on. (*Editor’s note: be on the lookout early next year for Yosuke’s first vinyl release – more details announced soon)

Yosuke Ueno 'Positive-E no. 4' - acrylic on canvas

Your “Positive E” series of paintings are favorites of your fans and collectors alike. What does this series of paintings mean to you?
To tell the truth, I am painting the Positive E series under depression and chaos in my mind. Sometimes many pieces of images are about to surpass my perception. At times like that, I force myself to face the canvas to paint the images. The largest character means the sun for me, and I paint another images heading for the sun character. At that work, I could feel as if myself is going forward the sun. I also feel freedom that belongs to children when I do the Positive E series. On the contrary, I paint the NNA series, extracting a certain image from my overflowing imaginations.

Yosuke Ueno 'Seisyun Engine' - acrylic on canvas

What/who do you consider your biggest overall influence?
Japanese old school comics that I have been reading since I was a child. And ad designs that I come across everywhere. All the things I read and listen have inspired my imagination. Music and books for example, I keep it in mind to have my own imaginations whenever or whatever I come across. That is not a practice, but my most pleasurable play.

Yosuke Ueno 'Sleepy House' - acrylic on canvas

What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your solo show with us?
After this solo, I will take part in ‘Sweet Streets 2’ at Gallery Nucleus. The theme of the group show is fashions of Tokyo, and the show will start the 11th of September. Then I will participate in three men show at Gallery 1988 San Francisco with Ewelina Ferruso and Jeremiah Ketner. Of course it is a great pleasure for me to take part in the special anniversary show of Thinkspace Gallery this November! Fortunately, I have some more shows at the end of this year and the early of 2011. I will do my best to make pieces that will blow people’s mind!!

Yosuke Ueno 'BitterSweet' - acrylic on canvas

Yosuke Ueno‘s ‘Negative Never Again’ is on view through July 30th. Don’t miss it!

View the works from ‘Negative Never Again’ here:
http://www.thinkspacegallery.com/2010/07/works.php

Thinkspace
6009 Washington Blvd. in Culver City
Wed-Sat 1-6PM
www.thinkspacegallery.com

An interview with Tran Nguyen

An interview with Tran Nguyen

Tran’s statement on her latest series of works for ‘Nurturing The Uneased Soul’:
Human distress and weariness of the soul are prevalent illnesses we’ve all encountered in our existence. It is ubiquitous to say that life is hard and it’s even harder to relieve ourselves of this chronic disquiet. It is my hope that the milieus portrayed in Nurturing the Uneased Soul pay homage to those who are facing everyday-life difficulties – you, your family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, or even strangers.

The visual metaphors that are depicted in my paintings capture our emotional turmoil. They embody someone that we can contemplate with, something that reorganizes our cluttered mind. It’s somewhere that nurses the unattended thoughts we’ve tucked away, deep inside our psyche. My imageries serve as a reservoir for the mind to collect itself, replenish itself, and resolve itself from its emotive tension. My hopes are that once the viewer has plunged into my oeuvre, they are able to emerge from the pilgrimage with a new, untarnished mindset. With whatever existent hardship you may be enduring, I deeply hope it can help nurture your exasperated soul.

For more, check out the following interview I just conducted with Tran last week…

Please talk a lil’ bit about the general concept behind your new series of works for “Nurturing The Uneased Soul”.
The new series of work furthers my exploration into therapeutic imagery. Each painting depicts a particular milieu of apprehension that conveys many of the prevalent distresses we frequently come across in life. Uneasiness such as ridding ourselves of wayward thinking or living a burdensome life can be abrasive to our soul, but these heavyhearted situations are what makes life even more precious. The adversity we deal with day to day are conducive to meaningful living. Thus, the intent of Nurturing the Uneased Soul is to act as a buffer or, as some have described it, “a squishy mattress” in overcoming these hardships.

'And Our World Came Tumbling After'

Do you use much photo reference or pretty much just rely upon your imagination?
Half and half — it’s used when needed. When I want a “real” feel to my figures, I’ll rely on photo references to capture those humanly imperfections or natural postures. I do try to limit myself from relying on them too much or else my surreal illustrations would end up overly “realistic.” So when I want to diverge from this tendency, I’ll let my imagination/artistic intuition resolve the rest of the painting.

Your work is filled with visual metaphors, please elaborate a bit if you can. Any significance to the recurring diamond pattern present in much of your work?
You’ve probably noticed that trees, birds, and other ornamental forms frequently reoccur in many of my paintings. I use the motifs to help embed the content’s general tone. Shapes such as the iridescent gold diamonds are not only used for aesthetic purposes but also to convey the duality of the complex emotions — the strenuous as well as triumphal aspect of confronting a tribulation. The haphazard of patterns also help create an ambiguous void for the figures to be cast into which furthers the surreal essence of my paintings.

'And She Said To Him'

What was the driving force in your life that led you to this particular direction in your narrative content?
Thus far, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had an easy life but I can’t say the same for others. I’ve witnessed many people that’s had their share of hardship, particularly my mom. I can’t help but feel compassionate to those whose life deviates from what they had hope for. I’ve always been interested in the welfare of others but didn’t necessarily know how to apply it to my career. Then, I came across Bruce Moon’s Art and Soul: Reflections of an Artistic Psychology, and his writings guided and synthesized my endeavors in a more concrete way.

What/who do you consider your biggest overall influence?
The people (and their situations) I cross paths with act as my muse. Their tense emotions and tribulations inspire me to compassionately illustrate these ineffable human conditions.

'Parting From Your Wayward Heart'

What’s your favorite thing about living in Georgia? What do you miss most about home?
Besides the fact that my family and friends are here, Georgia has a moderately paced lifestyle. Where I’m from, there’s a lot of the countryside and a little of the city side, which has been pleasant to be raised in. I live about five minutes from a vast corn field and the feeling I get from driving by it is overwhelmingly profound and unexplainable. Though it’s inevitable that I’ll venture to other places for work and personal reasons, in the end, I know I’ll come back home. It’s true what they say — “home is where the heart is.”

If you had an unlimited budget and time was not an issue, what grand artistic vision would you look to bring to life?
I’d open a public art studio that offers a variety of free workshops for people who like to draw, paint, print-make, sculpt, etc. In another section of the studio would be an open exhibit filled with a collection of art created by therapy patients — a kind of art that requires us to close our eyes and open our heart and soul.

What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your solo show with us?
I have some group shows that I’ll be participating in and an awesome collab show next year with a fellow artist. For now, I’m just taking it easy.

'The Color Of A Colorless Soul'

Tran Nguyen ‘Nurturing the Uneased Soul’ (in our project room)

Exhibition run dates: March 12th – April 2nd, 2010

Check out the works from ‘Nurturing The Uneased Soul’ here:
http://www.thinkspacegallery.com/2010/03/project/works.php

* This will be the last show at our Silver Lake location. We will relocate to Culver City this April.

Thinkspace
4210 Santa Monica Blvd. in Silver Lake area of Los Angeles (near the Sunset Junction)
www.thinkspacegallery.com

An interview with Dabs Myla

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An interview with Dabs Myla

Dabs is a prolific illustrator and graffiti artist who spent his teenage years growing up in Melbourne in the Early 90s. The graffiti scene influenced him greatly in his style and technique. These days his characters come to life in more contextualized environments than ever before, whether they are painted on walls in the streets, or on canvases in the gallery.

Myla was also raised in Melbourne where she was obsessed with detailed painting and drawing from an early age. Throughout her life she continued to develop her artistic ways, and now concentrates on detailed cities and landscapes. Three years ago, along with Dabs, they combined forces to solely collaborate on their works together.

They currently live in Hollywood, spending everyday working on artworks, painting walls and being influenced by the wonders of their new city.

I recently had the pleasure of swinging by their studio as they prepared for their big ‘Golden Age’ show opening this Friday. While there I also got to catch them finishing up a nice mural on the streets just off of Hollywood Blvd near their studio/apt. In addition to that, pics are also included below from the mural install at New Puppy coming together.

Dabs Myla Earthquake Weather (Large)

Please talk a lil’ bit about the general idea/vibe behind your work and how you go about starting a piece, seeing as you work on a collaborative level together.
Our artwork is a fusion of a lot of different influences and styles that come from the two of us. Elements of our graffiti backgrounds, fine traditional illustrative techniques and our love of classic cartoons is all rolled together to make one chaotic bundle of fun!

We usually start our paintings from an idea that one of us has. We then build it into a drawing, slowly building up the characters and finding the right street scenes, landscapes or signs to photograph for the reference. Then we start painting. We paint on each picture together (a lot of the time at the same time!) and work on finishing the whole piece to look as harmonious as we can make it. Building a relationship between the two styles.

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What are your earliest memories involving art or creating art?
MYLA: I think any memory I have from when I was very young, like 2 or 3, involved me at home drawing. My mom would lay out big sheets of paper on the kitchen floor and I would spend all day drawing on it until there was no space or time left!

DABS: I was totally obsessed with Disney cartoons as a kid. All the drawings I did when I was young was of Disney characters. My uncle is a huge collector of animation and comic art and I would spend my time at his house looking though books and watching cartoons.

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If you had an unlimited budget and time was not an issue, what grand artistic vision would you two look to bring to life?
If time isn’t an issue and an unlimited budget? To be given access to a small city or town and to paint the whole thing top to bottom! Every car, every sign, every building, every house and a little face on every spoon in every restaurant! The whole shit!! Sure, it would take the rest of our lives, but it would really be something to see and a lot of fun!!

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How did you two meet and what sparked the current direction of photorealistic buildings/cityscapes (by Myla) intermixed with the detailed character work (by Dabs)?
We met each other at art school about 6 years ago…by the time we had finished school we had fallen in love!! Originally we were working on our own paintings and would do collaborations here and there. But after time we found ourselves enjoying the collaborative work a lot more. That’s when we decided to combine powers and become one.

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Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
We always listen to music while we work. Just a couple of days ago we made a playlist that was 346 songs long…and we listened to it over 2 days! Sometimes we feel sorry for our iPod! Poor little bastard never gets a break!! More recently Ween have been getting a lot of play, as well as the most recent Cage album…and we have been seriously revisiting an old long lost favorite ‘One Foot in the Grave’ by Beck.

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Please name your three favorite things about Australia.
Aussie Rules Football, The Platypus and Australia’s all round awesomeness.

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In your opinions, what are the two major differences between Australia and the US?
Australia has less guns, but American has more candy bars!

dabsmyla.3 (Large)

Please name three artists from Australia that everyone should check out.
Meggs (www.houseofmeggs.com)
Dvate (www.myspace.com/dvate11)
Brett Whitley (www.brettwhiteley.org)

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What do you consider your biggest overall influence?
It might sound cheesy, but on the real….each other!!

What have you got coming up in terms of shows in the coming year?
We are having a show called ‘Golden Age’ which opens this Fri, November 13th at New Puppy Gallery (2808 Elm St, Los Angeles 90006). We will be painting an installation on the walls and be exhibiting brand new works. Included in the exhibition will be a group show that we are curating. Its going to be a lot of fun!! We will also have some work in a show coming up in December at Thinkspace and more throughout 2010 with Thinkspace (watch for details soon).

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Since living in LA, what have you found to be your favorite thing to do when not creating together?
There unfortunately isn’t much of that, but we do find the time to get away from our desks occasionally…and when we do, we love to go for a hike up through Griffith Park then balance that out with some In-N-Out burger delight!!

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‘Golden Age’
Featuring new works and a massive installation from Dabs Myla
+ a great group show curated by Dabs Myla and Dan Levy (see details on postcard image below)

THIS Fri, Nov. 13th 8-11PM

GOLDEN-back

New Puppy Gallery
2808 Elm Street,Unit 1
Los Angeles,CA 90065
On view through Nov. 22nd