Opening Reception of Josh Keyes’s “Implosion”, Ken Flewellyn’s “Stay Gold”, and Terry Arena’s “Swarm” exhibitions.

The opening reception of Josh Keyes’s Implosion, Ken Flewellyn’s Stay Gold, and Terry Arena’s Swarm exhibitions on Saturday, August 5th was one of the most vibrant openings of the year. Josh Keyes’s sold out exhibition drew in fans to examine his dystopian and psychologically fraught post- human universe in further detail. The works express Keyes’s fear and anxiety over the current political climate, in addition to his love of dancing horses and sunken ships.

Thinkspace veteran, Ken Flewellyn, debuted his first solo exhibition Stay Gold in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. At doors, half of the show was sold, and by the end of the night, the show was sold out. Each new red dot leading to an uproar of joyous cheer from those congregating in the project room.

Terry Arena’s “Swarm” delighted people as they held up magnifying glasses to her hyper realistic and detailed graphite drawings. The hung works very pattern itself a part of a larger narrative around swarming.

All three exhibitions are on view now through August 26th at Thinkspace Gallery, Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6 pm.

 

Interview with Ken Flewellyn for “Stay Gold”

Thinkspace is proud to present Stay Gold in the project room featuring new works from Los Angeles based artist and Thinkspace veteran, Ken Flewellyn. Stay Gold is the first solo exhibition with Thinkspace Gallery from the realist painter. The works dissect the intersection of diverse cultures and Hip Hop with portraits of women that challenge our assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity. In anticipation of the exhibition, our interview with Ken Flewellyn discusses his creative process, cultures, and best brunch places in Los Angeles.

Join us for the opening reception of Stay Gold at Thinkspace Gallery, Saturday, August 5th from 6 – 9 pm.

SH: Your work is inspired by bringing Hip-Hop and Japanese cultures together. At first glance or thought, these cultures seem in diametric opposition of each other, but can you outline how they might be more alike than they are different?

KF: I think it’s a natural inclination to simplify when thinking about culture. We always think similar or different which is very black and white. Cultural identity is complex and nuanced, and more malleable than similar or different. I want people to expect cultures to clash and when they don’t then question what notion led them to expect that clash in the first place. I hope that in my work there’s a harmony or balance that’s struck illustrating how subculture and traditional culture compliment each other.

SH: Can you explain a bit of your art background and education?

KF: I started as a photographer, I carried a camera with me everywhere clear into college. I eventually took a figure drawing class to fulfill a requirement and loved it. I’ve never really stopped making art. I later graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA in Art, Media, Design and a focus in illustration. Once I graduated I popped around doing a bunch of different creative jobs, whatever I could get my hands on. I did some toy design, some graphic design and web development work; I even worked in visual effects for a while painting backgrounds back into movies. I was still painting at night but I wasn’t really doing anything with the pieces. Eventually I reached out to LC at Thinkspace for a portfolio review. He’s helped me along the way to refine my skill and make work I can be proud of. I showed my first piece ever at Cannibal Flower, his one night art event. There I was introduced to an art community that lifted us all up. The painting lessons I’ve learned from fellow artists like Ariel DeAndrea and Matthew Grabelsky have been invaluable. I think combined with what I’ve learned from Andrew, Shawn and LC about the gallery world I can definitively say the best of my education has taken place outside of school.

SH: You walked away from the paintbrush for a while and picked it up again 6 years ago. Can you share what brought you back to the canvas?

KF: About 6 years ago I injured my right hand bad enough that painting wasn’t really an option without surgery. I had injured myself at my day job and even with surgery I was looking at a long recovery before I’d be able painting again. What can you do right? So I got the surgery and just didn’t paint for a while. After a certain point I realized not painting was driving me insane and using my right hand was hell, so I started learning to paint with my left. Haha those paintings were terrible. I never gained the same dexterity or precision that my right has but it was a good exercise thinking how to solve problems from the opposite side. I kept this up and started working in galleries to immerse myself in art until the day I could paint with confidence again. Once I regained better control of my right I had all sorts of new ideas to explore and finally a way to do it accurately.

SH: If your body of work inspired a cocktail, what is the recipe and what would it taste like?

KF: I think it would be like a Vieux Carre, maybe with a Japanese twist.

Let’s say:

1 shot Suntory Whiskey
1 shot Cognac
1 shot Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Benedcitine
1 dash Peachauds bitters
1 dash Aromatic bitters

Served in a short glass with one big cube. It would be a little sweet and smooth, but with a punch.

SH: Walk us through a day in your studio?

KF: Well a Sunday painting shift starts with brunch am I right? Once I’m back I’ll grab a cup of cold brew and get myself prepped to paint. If I have a new album I want to check out or new podcast I’ll normally start that up, put my phone on silent and the get busy. I’ll mix all the paint I think will be necessary for that session before I start. Ill normally get a good 12 hours in a day on my days off only really stopping for dinner or a cocktail now and then. Once I’m at that 12 hour zone, if my brain is mush I’ll call it for painting and use the rest of the night to thumbnail new compositions while I watch sometime mindless.

SH: What is your creative process from concept to completion?

KF: They all start in my sketchbook. I think like a lot of illustration students my sketchbooks are full of thumbnails; tiny ideas for pieces jotted down as quickly as I can. I don’t really care about accuracy I just want to get an idea of down on paper. In a way the simpler image the better at this stage. I may do 50 thumbnails before I find 1 that I like. I’ll then draw it from a bunch of different angles and then crop and move things around and crop until I have an idea I think is clear. Now I can elaborate to better flesh out the narrative. Once I feel like the concept is clear and concise I set up a photo shoot to get the reference ill need. Once I’ve got all that I’m ready to get to painting. From there the piece kind of takes on a mind of its own. Even though I have a plan and reference, I’m not bound to it, this way I can allow for moments genuine inspiration. Flexibility in the plan is key.

SH: Were any of the pieces you’re showing particularly challenging, if so, which pieces and how did they push you to grow as an artist compositionally and with technique?

KF: I try to make sure there’s a new challenge in every piece but “Triumph” definitely pushed me the furthest. That piece took a lot of patience; I worked on it for months. I’d work on it for a week or so and get frustrated and put it away. A few weeks later when I finished another piece I’d be ready to dig back into it. Now that it’s done it opens the doors for so many possible new pieces, with new imagery. I’m stoked to get back into the studio and work out some new ideas.

SH: What excites you about other artists’ work?

KF: I think technically I look at use of color the most. I admire artists that use a broad pallet and still find harmony organizing every color imaginable into one composition. I also admire artist that have mastered same finesse with a very limited pallet and range. Both show a great amount of control and foresight and make for stunning pieces.

As for subject matter, Surrealist painters that envisioned mind bending worlds with incredible beasts get me every time.

SH:  What did you have playing in the background while you painted this latest body of work, Netflix, podcasts, music?

KF: If I’m doing Netflix I’m normally watching stand up or a documentary. For a while Netflix had 3 hip hop documentaries everyone should check out:

Stretch and Bobbito(History of 2 bad ass DJ’s influence on Hip Hop)
Fresh Dressed(History of Hip Hop Fashion)
Hip-Hop Evolution (The History Of Hip Hop)
All three were fascinating with an awesome soundtrack.

I also watched a ton of Doctor Who. I’m even watching it now, while I fill out this interview.

When I was listening to music I was deeply immersed in hip-hop, funk, break beat, and trap. I’ve been hooked on Spotify’s discover weekly and daily playlist all year. I’ve probably logged 8-12 hours daily.

All of my podcast are nerdy:

Freakonomics(economist do nerd stuff)
This American life
Lavar Burton Reads(LB reads you a story!)
Ryan Posseins Nerd Poker(Ryan plays D&D with friends)
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know(nerd game show)
Lore(‘real’ ghost stories)

SH: Favorite brunch food, and second best brunch spot in Los Angeles? If you’re nice enough, you can also share your number one brunch spot.

KF: Haha you’re not getting number 2 and number 1, that’s crazy. Best brunch food? I’m thinking shrimp and grits, or maybe I’m just hungry, it’s impossible to tell.

I’ll give you my number 3 and my new fave. Number three is Metro Cafe in Culver City. It’s Serbian style food with mad delicious scrambles, sandwiches and even fresh salads for the weirdoes that have salad at brunch. They have good coffee and better wine/beer and parking is easy.

My new favorite spot though is The Mar Vista. They’ve got killer food(chilaquiles!), sangria in a glass the size of your head, and mellow vibes spun by Mr. Numberonderful while live painters work on pieces. It’s the Sunday get down.

Interview with Terry Arena for ‘Swarm’

Thinkspace is proud to exhibit artist Terry Arena in the office area this upcoming Saturday. Terry Arena’s Swarm is a series of works of detailed and delicate renderings of bees in graphite on gessoed objects. In anticipation of Swarm, we have an exclusive interview with Terry Arena to discuss the inspiration behind her work and creative process.

Swarm is on view Saturday, August 5th through August 26th.

SH: What inspired Symbiotic Crisis? Was there a singular moment that triggered this decision to explore this topic in your body of work or did it slowly evolve?
TA: I had been making work about food culture. Think homemade meal prep, processed food, gmo’s, organics, etc… One day I heard an interview on NPR that was discussing how bees were being transported across the country to pollinate various crops. The visual of hundreds of thousands of bees loaded onto an eighteen wheeler struck me as odd. I had never really thought about the bees’ role in food propagation. It’s pretty critical when you consider bees participate in producing a large part of our food supply. The almond industry alone is a billion-dollar industry and is reliant on pollination for its success. At that point, my focus shifted to bees and colony collapse disorder(CCD).

SH: What do you love about working with graphite? And how has the medium helped to shape your work?
TA: I love that it is an ordinary low tech material, yet has the ability to be very sophisticated. Originally, it came into the work because I felt it supported the notion of simple methodologies having worth. In my research of food culture and then CCD I kept finding that maybe the best solution to problems (proliferation of varroa mites for example) might be to step back and let the natural order of things occur (swarming in spring to break the varroa life cycle). And my work is analytical, so graphite just works in that regard.

SH: What is your creative process? Can you walk us through a day in the studio?
TA: It really depends on where I am in a project. For the Symbiotic Crisis (bee) pieces there is a lot of surface prep. I might spend time cruising thrift stores looking for cookie tins to draw on and then I get them home to clean, sand, and prime. After that, it’s many layers of gesso with sanding between each layer. While surfaces are curing I often go through my source materials or look around the garden for new subjects. I draw both from life and photo references, so I have a pretty good collection of dead things in my freezer. It’s a little odd, but my family and friends know about my work and are always saving me dead bees, interesting bugs, and birds… I have four dead birds in the freezer. They are beautiful. Once surfaces are ready, I pose my subjects in a set and take lots of photographs with various lighting. Then it’s a line drawing followed by hours of rendering under a magnifying lamp. This year my goal was to complete 100 drawings in for the series. They are all essentially done, but I have a handful that I am still editing. There is always something to do in the studio either for my current work or projects I am planning for the future.

SH: What is your favorite fruit and/or vegetable?
TA: I would be very happy eating an avocado every day…maybe even two!

SH: Your work in the past was inspired by the Slow Food movement. Do you find exploring these ideas and circumstances the world finds itself in within your work a form of analyzation or is it more of a catharsis? The work giving you a voice in the greater conversation.
TA: I must admit that I really enjoy the research from studying my subjects under the magnifying lens to learning about pesticide use. I also think I just want to feed my family delicious healthy food that will not cause harm over time. Maybe it’s a leave no trace theory…no extensive trace (I am realistic) of strange chemicals in our bodies or the environment. I want to be a part of the conversation of protecting the bees and providing better food systems. It takes a collective consciousness to make big changes socially and this subject resonates for me.

SH: What inspires you and draws you to other artists’ work?
TA: I’m a sucker for craft and wonderment. It’s a thrill and wholly satisfying when work can evoke joy or challenge you to consider ideas much greater than yourself.

SH: What do you listen to while drawing; podcasts, Netflix, music? What should we check out?
TA: I’m definitely in an information phase right now. I try to keep up with the world by listening to NPR and then lighten up with the comedic takes of Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah. I often slip down the rabbit hole of Youtube and have found great interviews and documentaries on Rachel Carson of Silent Spring, Noam Chomsky for his views on just about anything, and a little Elon Musk cause rocket ship rides to Mars and 3D underground transport are pretty fascinating!

SH: If your work inspired a cocktail, what would be the recipe and what would it taste like?
TA: I’m more of a whiskey on the rocks gal, but at Campfire in Carlsbad they make amazing drinks that are so beautiful and tasty I would love to have provided inspiration for one of their creations. A real beauty with a kick is their “Roasted Beet”. The flavor is bright with a bit of spice. Think gin, ginger, honey, lemon and thyme with a vibrant magenta color.

New Nosego Mural for Pow! Wow! Long Beach

Our current main room exhibiting artist Noségo just completed an awesome mural for Pow! Wow! Long Beach.  He used a touch of his panache for mural work for his exhibit “Ingress” as well; make sure to see the exhibition before it closes this Saturday, July 29th.

Thinkspace Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6 pm.

Visit the Thinkspace Gallery website to view all available works from Ingress.

 Jeremy Fish ‘The Los Angelurkers’ mini solo show in Foyer Gallery at Fullerton Museum Center

 Jeremy Fish
‘The Los Angelurkers’
Mini solo show in Foyer Gallery
Curated by Thinkspace

Taking Place At:
Fullerton Museum Center
310 N. Pomona Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
Phone: 714.738.6545
http://ci.fullerton.ca.us/museum/

Opening Reception: Saturday, July 29th from 6-9PM
On view: July 29th through September 10th

The Fullerton Museum Center in conjunction with Thinkspace are happy to present a small showcase featuring the works of the phenomenally influential Jeremy Fish.

Fish, originally from Albany New York, moved to San Francisco in the 90’s to set up camp at the age of 19 in North Cali’s skate mecca, eventually studying screen-printing and painting, and completing a degree at the Art Institute of San Francisco. He went on to work commercially as an illustrator, designer, and art director, contributing to apparel companies and magazines like DLX, Think, Thrasher, Juxtapoz, and Slap.

Inspired by children’s books and cartoons from the 70s and skateboard graphics from the 80s and 90s, Jeremy Fish’s world is both playful and dark, inhabited by animals, phenomenal graphic motifs, cool cars, and classic vans. He creates a whole cast of animal characters inspired by the cities and scenes he loves and the personal and human conflicts he observes. In 2015 Fish became San Francisco’s City Hall’s first-ever artist in residence, creating a body of work based on the iconic city he has called home since 1994. In celebration of its centennial, he created 100 pieces of mixed-media drawing based on San Francisco’s urban history and its civic hub, which were exhibited in a special project in the fall of 2015 entitled, O Glorious City. If that wasn’t enough, the city further showed their thanks for Fish by proclaiming November 19th to be “Jeremy Fish Day” from here on out. In this new body of work, The Los Angelurkers is a return to a more lighthearted Fish as he celebrates everything he loves about Los Angeles, in spite of his steadfast North Cali allegiances. In an attempt to cut out any unnecessary negativity from his life, following his recovery from a serious brain aneurysm in 2014, Fish has spent most of the past year hunting down this imaginative world of mythical creatures from the recesses of his ingeniously offbeat mind, revealing a cool and playful world of fantasy and nostalgia.

‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ the interactive installation by David ‘Meggs’ Hooke & Miya Tsukazaki – Temple Children

David ‘Meggs’ Hooke and Miya Tsukazaki (together Temple Children) created the evolving and interactive installation ‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ currently on view for Thinkspace curated exhibition,  ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ at Inner State Gallery now through August 26th.

The immersive installation is a 270 -degree experience created as a three-phase progression, the initial phased marked as the “Divided.” Together Children invited friends, artists, and the public to participate in the artwork’s evolution, painting colorful peace signs and positive messages over the floor on one-half of the ‘X’ (a symbol for division).

In the artists’ words,
“The intention was to create a genuine experience of people working together to celebrate shared creativity, positivity, and sense of community. “A seemingly small gesture of inviting people into our home studio to paint on the floor side-by-side was a humbling experience overflowing with positive energy,” they said.
The ‘Greater Than’ ( > ) phase emerged as a result of the public’s involvement, and in the week that followed, MEGGS and Miya transitioned the installation into its final phase, ‘Unified.’ The resulting colorful peace sign leans on its side, a dual expression of the planet’s wavering environmental state and hope for a resurgence of solidarity. They installed living plants and flowers sourced from Eastern Market, creating a juxtaposition of Detroit’s discarded layers and Mother Nature’s revival.

The underlying inspiration for the artwork was their reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and was motivated to highlight what human beings are capable of through unification, continued proactivity, and perseverance from the community level up.”

“The fight against catastrophic climate change begins and ends with us, and we must take responsibility for our own carbon footprints in the name of Mother Earth,” says MEGGS.

‘UNITED > DIVIDED’  was created in MEGGS’ & Miya’s home studio from approximately 90% repurposed and natural materials that the two began collecting in the fall of 2014.

 

For more information on ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ and Meggs visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

Opening Reception of Noségo’s “Ingress” and Drew Leshko’s “The Only Constant”

We kicked off the month with a (third) eye-opening exhibition from  Noségo and Drew Leshko. The colorful dreamscapes from Noségo vibrated on the white walls with bright spirit animals holding within curiosities and stories to encourage our own reflection or simply enjoyment. Leshko continues to document the changing landscape of the hometown of both artists, Philadelphia.  He encapsulates, with great detail, the passage of time and gives meaning to parts of the city’s history that would be soon forgotten at the hands of a bulldozer.

Artist, Joseph Martinez rounds out the exhibitions showing eight pieces from his Designer Bag Lady series in the Thinkspace Gallery office.

All of the exhibitions are on view now through June 29th.

To view available pieces from NoségoDrew Leshko, and Joseph Martinez; please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.