The New Vanguard II & Pow! Wow! Antelope Valley Full Recap

Above is a full recap of Pow! Wow! Antelope Valley and  The New Vanguard II from leaders in Lancaster and the artists themselves, discussing the power of art and its ability to inspire and excite a community.

“…instead of a regulator, you become a facilitator” – Mark Bozigan, Lancaster City Manager

Group Exhibition “Elysium” Featuring Audrey Kawasaki, Fuco Ueda, Atsuko Goto, Jolene Lai, and Stella Im Hultberg in Main Room, November 10th – November 24th

Group Exhibition – ELYSIUM
featuring new works from
Opening Reception:
THIS Saturday, November 10 from 6-9PM


Audrey Kawasaki is a Japanese-American artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. She attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she was influenced by Manga and art nouveau. Her work depicts sensuous young women on wood panel, with a strong emphasis on line quality and facial expression.

The themes in Audrey Kawasaki’s work are contradictions within themselves. Her work is both innocent and erotic. Each subject is attractive yet disturbing. Her sharp graphic imagery is combined with the natural grain of the wood panels she paints on, bringing forth unexpected warmth to enigmatic subject matter.

The figures she paints are seductive and contain an air of melancholy. They exist in their own sensually esoteric realm, yet at the same time present a sense of accessibility that draws the observer to them.


The Tokyo-based Ueda creates surreal paintings of enigmatic girls in strangely beautiful incandescent dreamscapes. With larger than life flowers and creatures ranging from moray eels to butterflies, her paintings are like apparitions pulled from the shadowy depths of the subconscious. Her mischievous adventurers are innocent and devious, at times playful and others sinister, suspended somewhere between the waking world and the beyond. An inscrutable universe of lush neon chrysanthemums and florid skins, Ueda’s world is a hallucinatory daydream.

Ueda’s works convey the lonely meditative feeling of dreams, a world set apart from the existence of others and self-sustained by isolated dread and reverie. At times a darkness pervades with recurring symbols like skeletal hands and the fiery orbs, or hitodama, of Japanese folklore, thought to be the souls of the dead. Another recurring symbol that figures prominently in her works is the chrysanthemum, also a symbol of loss, death, and vulnerability. These surreal apparitions reinforce a sense of displacement and transience. Her lithe figures, often charged with a cryptic eroticism, dissolve into the webs of these conjured worlds; like figments crossing over into ghostly recesses.

The tone of Ueda’s works tends to shift towards a lighter and more whimsical extreme as well. Her girls are often surrounded by small birds, butterflies, underwater creatures, beribboned pets, and dazzling flora, in dreamily abstracted landscapes that seem to glow and hum with weird life. The combination of these light and dark extremes is often unexpected, and psychologically evocative. Beautifully illustrated girls drip with honey and bare skinned knees, while snakes, fish, cobwebs, and bright fungi surround and shroud them. Contrasts abound in her choice of palettes as well, with the mixture of deeply pigmented hues, dark blacks, bright neons and iridescent pastel purples and blues.


Atsuko Goto creates beautifully melancholic images of delicate figures cloaked and merged with natural elements, everything from flowers and butterflies to insects, birds, and fish. Her muted palette is as ghostly as haze, achieved through the unique application of diluted pigments made from semi-precious lapis lazuli, ink, and gum arabic applied to cotton.

Inspired by Japanese Shinto and the belief that nature is animated by divinity and sacred spirits harbored in every living and inanimate thing, Goto creates imagery that conveys this feeling of profuse life force and intangible mystery, offset by a darker suggestion of mourning and lament. Quietly meditative, her works exude a dreamlike calm and resignation despite their abundance of detail and the density of her compositions. Silence and forlorn composure define this existence of the preternatural.

Fragile in their tempered darkness, the works are subtle and near translucent – like the unknown light and strange optics of an otherworldly plane where everything is unsubstantial. A feeling of entrapment and isolation persists, however, in the quietude. Like hauntings from the subconscious, the paintings feel like faded dreams, surreal distortions bordering on the ominous. Unsettling, the muted beauty of these diaphanous idols loom, uncannily caught in a thin veil between worlds.


Jolene Lai is a Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator born and raised in Singapore. After studying painting at Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, Jolene studied graphic design at UCLA and spent a year working at a movie-poster design house, The Refinery Creative, before returning to focus on fine art.

She works primarily with oil on canvas or mixed media on watercolor paper. With bold use of color, shape and intricate detail, she creates images with a seductive aesthetic and subject matter that weaves in emotions of whimsy, melancholy, irony, and absurdity.

Lai seeks to engage her audience in works that are approachable, newly imagined spaces that the viewer is invited to explore on their own terms.


Stella Im Hultberg was born in South Korea, raised in Seoul, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and later in California. She studied Industrial Design and worked as a product designer before serendipitously falling into the art world in late 2005. Stella Im Hultberg’s paintings are conceived in varying combinations of ink, watercolor, and oils on paper, wood, and canvas. Her portraits of women are rendered in easy, flowing lines with soft hues that transcend the typical critiques of feminine beauty, inherent in today’s self-conscious society.

Hultberg originally studied Industrial Design at CSU, which naturally segued into work as a toy designer early on in her career. Work in the design industry serendipitously led to her building on her natural talents as an artist and a career as a self-taught painter soon followed. Having grown up in Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan, she has a diverse blend of cultural influences to pull from.

When not painting or drawing, she likes to eat, ride her bicycle, and play the New York Times crossword puzzle. After a decade in NYC, she now lives (and works) in Portland OR with her daughter and husband.


POW! WOW! Antelope Valley In Progress

This past week some seriously talented artists have descended upon the Antelope Valley for Pow! Wow! AV; transforming blank walls into works of art all leading up to the opening of The Vanguard II at the Lancaster MOAH.

Stay up to date on all the Pow! Wow! AV & Vanguard II happenings via our Instagram and Instagram Stories by following us at @thinkspace_art.


Interview with Lisa Ericson for “Border Crossing”

Thinkspace is pleased to present Border Crossing, featuring new works by Portland-based artist Lisa Ericson. Her meticulous rendered, hyperrealistic paintings are a wonderland where parasitical ecosystems are perched weightlessly on the backs of wildlife and the breathtaking details are a wonderland for the viewer. In anticipation of Border Crossing, our interview with Lisa Ericson discusses the exhibitions challenging work, reincarnation, and how she will be celebrating the completion of this new body of work.

Join us Saturday, October 13th from 6 pm to 9 pm for the opening reception of Border Crossing. 

SH: What is the inspiration behind the Border Crossing?

LE: A couple different ideas were swimming around together in my mind…migration, immigration, refugees, wildlife corridors. Often I intertwine human & animal inspiration so the final piece can be read as both a human tale or an animal one.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work?

LE: I don’t map out the entire thing from the start. I never have more than one or two pieces completely planned at a time. I start with an idea and put together images for the first couple of paintings, but leave space while I’m working on those pieces for the original idea branch out in my mind. One piece leads to the next and so on. I’ve learned to trust that.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?

LE: I don’t really work in a sketchbook. As ideas pop into my head, I jot them down or do tiny sketches on whatever piece of paper is handy. Bare bones stuff, but a kernel to start from. Later when I start putting together a composite image of a future painting, the idea either flies or dies. But even if it dies, often a new and better idea is born out of it. Some ideas come together quickly. Others I try repeatedly, but I can’t get them to work. Some of those eventually click and become paintings. Some are still just floating around in my head.

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

LE: This question makes me dive right down into my psyche and confront my best/worst qualities. The same thing excites and frustrates me about my process. I start every show at a glacial pace. The first couple paintings take ages to conceptualize and execute. But as the show date come closer and the pressure crystalizes the ideas in my head, I take less and less time from idea to finished piece, I work longer and longer hours until I end at an all-consuming frenzy. After every show, I make promises about pacing myself. I make time charts. But then I repeat the same pattern. Part of me realizes that the pressure is part of what makes me tick, and in some ways, I thrive on it and even enjoy it. But I still try to tell myself I’ll be different the next time around.

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?

LE: I made “Into the Dark” in response to the horror of the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border. A mother lemur’s babies cling to her, the way a human child would, the way my own daughter clings to me. Often when I work, I get lost in the technical aspects of painting – the color, seeing the image take shape brushstroke by brushstroke – but this subject matter was a little raw for me and I felt emotional about it all the way through.

SH: If you were reincarnated as an animal, what do you think you’d come back as and why? Is that the same as what you would want to be reincarnated as?

LE: I think I’d be reincarnated as something wary and shy, and happy to stay in her burrow. No doubt why I do well as a painter, spending long periods of time alone in my studio. But I’d want to be reincarnated as a bird. Because, flight! I have an irrational fear of flying in planes. I still do it, but am always filled with anxiety about it. I’d love to be free of that.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create? Maybe a muralist?

LE: I work on small, minutely detailed paintings, but I love murals and art in the public space of all kinds. I’d love to see something of mine in a huge format on a wall or side of a building.

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

LE: First, sleep. Oh, glorious sleep. Then I let friends know that I’m once again available to have a social life (because no doubt I’ve been in studio lockdown for months). I catch up on life. I clean my studio (and then find it sterile and empty and must make it messy again). It’s all a cycle!

Kaili Smith SOLD OUT solo at MONIKER Art Fair in London

We’re sending a big congrats to Kaili Smith on his sold-out solo show at Moniker Art Fair in London this past weekend. We have a lot more planned with Kaili Smith in 2019 and 2020, so make sure to follow along and don’t miss out.