‘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.

Interview with Drew Leshko for “The Only Constant”

Thinkspace is proud to present Drew Leshko’s latest body of work The Only Constant’ in our project room. Drew Leshko’s highly detailed sculptural works in paper and wood depict architectures and urban spaces of his beloved and changing Philadelphia. In anticipation of Leshko’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Drew Leshko to discuss copy cats, changing cityscapes, and the symbolism of iceboxes and dumpsters.

SH: In our last interview with us your went into great detail about your creative process and technique, what makes you fearless to the “copy cats” or so open to sharing your process in such detail?
DL: Well after this boom of copycats, I find myself reconsidering things for sure….I think that there is more to my sculptures than how they’re made– It’s an ongoing, cultural conversation that is communicated through my sculptures. I guess I’m fearless about sharing because I’m working with some of the best galleries in the world that have already acknowledged the innovation, I’ve been supported by amazing collectors, and am showcased by important press organizations. Copy Cats are inherently unoriginal, and it’s sad to imagine living a life like theirs — void of original ideas, scrapping from the handiwork of others, trying to use that as leverage or shortcut for “borrowed” ideas. Copy Cats are a real problem though. I’ve been working on these since 2005 and can’t believe the amount of people mimicking my work all of the sudden.

SH: What do you think is the role of an artist in society?
DL: Tough question. It seems lately that there are so many conceptually thin works created these days, where the artist is more interested in the bright colors and decorative qualities rather than the works having more to discover and communicate. If you look through the classics, so many of the great works by the masters were telling stories and speaking to cultural issues. For me, i think its important to translate what is happening in the world around you through what you’re creating in the workshop so that painting or object may live as a reference to the past.

SH: You’ve given the advice to young artists not to get frustrated, what has helps you to stay grounded and push forward with your art?
DL: Everyone gets frustrated, but this all comes naturally to me. These projects are something that I want to pursue. If I had to force myself to be grounded and push forward, it would be really tough. It would almost feel like work. haha.

SH: The sculptures document the changing landscape of your city. You’ve said you’d like to document other cities but need to have a sense of the buildings and changing neighborhoods. If you could travel through time, what cities would you want to document and what time periods?
DL: My works now are examining the re-development of the city, as people are repopulating a previously abandoned place. To me, it would be really interesting to create a series that is the inverse of this process, documenting parts of the city after “white flight”, one of the initial cultural transformations of industrial American cities. Let’s say the 1960’s. As for the city, Baltimore would great (i was born in Baltimore), but really any city with a strong heritage of blue collar industry.

SH: How has Philadelphia not only shaped you as an artist but as a person?
DL: Philadelphia is a great place. A place that I’m incredibly proud of. The city has shaped me as a person through the cultural diversity in the community. It’s quite the melting pot. In the last few years, the art scene is really changing here. Collectors seem to be popping through galleries and supporting the community all of the sudden, which is great. But before this trend, the city made me stronger— Those 8 or so years making these works without anyone noticing, without good opportunities. Without Philadelphia incubating me that through experience, I don’t think I’d be able to fairly value what I have built for myself now.

SH: What do you listen to in the background while creating work?
DL: This year I’ve been listening to the “Up and Vanished” podcast (cold-case murder mystery). I listen to music mostly. The Hold Steady, Craig Finn, Tigers Jaw, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Dave Hause, Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, Jawbreaker— A lot of lyrically driven stuff. And also a lot of hip-hop. I’ve lately been listening to a lot of Cam’ron, Dipset, Big Pun, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and 2 Chainz.

SH: In an interview with Wide Walls, you expressed how the dumpsters and ice boxes symbolize addicts and drug dealers, but you don’t elaborate on this point much. Do the other objects you sculpt hold any additional symbolism?
DL: My favorite band, The Hold Steady, has a song that really resonated with me and encouraged the metaphor of the dumpsters and ice boxes as dealers and users. The song is called “Rock Problems”, but the theme is reoccurring throughout their discography.
“That one girl got me cornered in the kitchen.
I said I’ll do anything but clean.
She wants to know what I liked better
Being a trash bin or an ice machine?”

I like that metaphor a lot, but there is a bit more symbolism too. Not only are the dealers and users being pushed out of the neighborhoods I’m addressing, but the dumpsters and ice machines are being pushed out too. The new versions of the neighborhoods are too polished to have “eyesores” lining the sidewalks. New regulations, laws, and codes are forcing business owners to find new solutions for their trash, and no longer able to utilize their sidewalks, for the ice boxes, as parts of their stores

The beer distributors and cigarette shops are strewn with advertisements aren’t necessarily symbolic or metaphorical. But, they should be considered from a cultural perspective— it seems these type of businesses and advertising strategies only occur in the economically depressed areas. It’s a systemic problem that perpetuates class differences that need to be addressed.

SH: What about another artists’ work excites or fascinates you? Who do you think everyone should look up?
DL: I really like artworks that tell a story. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in some of the more depressed parts of the city. I keep coming back to a series of photographs by artists Jeffrey Stockbridge. The photographs are incredibly powerful and the accompanying texts are pretty great. He’s exploring the same parts of the city but from a more cultural anthropology scope. Check out his site! I recommend exploring the “archives” section, where you get a bit of background info per image. https://kensingtonblues.com

 

SH: If you were hosting a dinner party, who’s on the guest list, what’s on the menu, and what would be your icebreaker question?
DL: This question stresses me out. I’m not always a comfortable host.

SH: If your artwork inspired a cocktail or a beer, what would it be made of and what would it taste like?
DL: I’d have to go with a no-frills, Philadelphia classic— the “Citywide”. It is a cheap domestic beer and a shot of whiskey. perfect.

Artist Spotlight: Jolene Lai on BOOOOOOOM

A well-deserved feature, Jolene Lai was recently highlighted on BOOOOOOOM in their Artist Spotlight series. Many of the pieces from Jolene Lai’s most recent exhibition with us, Besides You are featured in the spotlight. We’re thrilled Jolene Lai’s work continues to connect with art lovers. For those who would like to view her work in person, she is currently a part of both of our summer museum exhibitions, Flourish at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and Juxtapozed at Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

To view all available work by Jolene Lai, visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

Kisung Koh featured on Creators

Vice Media’s Creators recently featured Thinkspace Gallery artists Kisung Koh. In the article ‘Hyperreal Polar Bear Paintings Are as Sweet as Can Be,’ the site highlights several pieces from his recent exhibition with us, Long Live The Polar Treasure. A nearly sold out exhibition, the third piece featured in the article, ‘Like the Crescent Moon’ is still available at the gallery. Interested parties can contact contact@thinkspacegallery.com if they are eager to add this sweet piece to their collection.

Juxtapoz Coverage of Casey Weldon’s ‘Sentimental Deprivation’ Opening Night

The opening reception of Casey Weldon’s Sentimental Deprivation was recently covered on Juxtapoz.com. Go on a digital tour of the exhibition over on Juxtapoz’s website, and view Sentimental Deprivation in person during its final week at Thinkspace Gallery.

From optically disorienting four-eyed kittens and seemingly phosphorescent girls to giant disproportionately scaled Chihuahuas in desert canyon landscapes, nothing is too weirdly outré or unimaginable for Weldon’s visual fictions. – Juxtapoz.com

 

Tran Nguyen Featured in Beautiful Bizarre

A beautiful flip through of Thinkspace family artist Tran Nguyen’s gorgeous layout in the seventeenth issue of Beautiful Bizzare. Nguyen’s work depicts surreal dreamscapes that are ethereal in nature with illustrative execution. Tran Nguyen’s currently showing a new piece in Flourish at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and will be exhibiting in Swank in September.

View all available work by Tran Nguyen on the Thinkspace Gallery website.

 

Interview with Casey Weldon for “Sentimental Deprivation”

Thinkspace is proud to present Casey Weldon’s latest body of work ‘Sentimental Deprivationin our main room. Casey Weldon’s paintings combine elements of humor, nostalgia, and the absurd; weaving pop culture and kitsch into the illuminated neon world. In anticipation of Weldon’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Casey Weldon to discuss his inspiration, creative process, and dream collaboration.

Sentimental Deprivation‘s opening reception is this Saturday, June 3rd from 6 -9 pm in our project room.

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
CW: I was up way too late one night with my bestie artist pal Crystal Barbre, and she complimented me on some of my work that she deemed emotionally powerful. I laughed and reluctantly told her that everything is just based on a funny/weird idea and the color schemes are just colors I like. She puts a lot of herself into her work and is intimately connected to them, so she didn’t buy it. I was trying to persuade her that I, in fact, I was a robot devoid of emotion and have several ex-girlfriends that could testify to that. I went through a bit of rough time last year personally, and while working through that this has become an attempt of an emotionless person painting emotionally.

SH: You have a unique way of using colors that seem neon and creating a glowing illumination from within the work? What made you explore this style and develop the technique? Were you directly inspired by something to go in this direction?
CW: I’ve always had trouble keeping my work’s brightness on the level. Everything has always naturally skewed towards the darker side. To offset it, I started including small and super bright light sources. It’s a lot of fun inventing what the effects of a bright blue light will have under a setting red sun. I used to joke that my direct inspiration was Thomas Kincade, but now I’m beginning to wonder if that statement is 100% a joke.

SH: How have you grown as an artist in the last 5 years and how do you hope to grow in the following 5?
CW: Yes and yes. At least I hope. Usually, it works like we always feel the same despite those around us notice we are changing as people. I guess I’m hoping the opposite isn’t happening and I’m stuck in a rut I can’t even see.

SH: You’ve moved around a lot, do you feel your moves and various home-bases have influenced or informed your work?
CW: Yes, I think so, though it’s hard to point to any direct pieces and say why. I think it’s just more of a mindset. Like when I was in NY and depressed I painted a lot of funny pop art stuff. When I lived in the Las Vegas desert I painted a lot of lush nature. Here in gray Seattle, I paint a lot of bright colors. I guess I’m always looking for greener grass somewhere.

SH: What about another artists’ work excites or fascinates you? Who do you think everyone should look up?
CW: I get really excited anytime I feel like I don’t know what to expect from an artist. When their body works shifts often into new and unexpected directions it really inspires me to try and do the same. Although, on the other hand, I really admire artists that have developed a truly unique and identifiable voice, as often I feel like I struggle with that. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some really fantastic new artists. Cassie Murphy is adorably batshit crazy, James Carpenter is a technical master, Jeremy Gregory is in a whole other world he has created, Angelita Martinez is always pushing experimentation and Abby Fields is somewhat green, but I am positive she will be a force to be reckoned with. I could name a 100 more because this town is full of them.

SH: What is your creative process? Can you walk us through a day in the studio?
CW: I wake up somewhere between 5-6am with a fire in my heart. “I’m going to get up and crush this day,” I say to myself. And then I eat a nutritionally questionable breakfast and go back to sleep. Around 10 am, I drag my ass to the drawing table and work till 6-7 or so. My process is 80% waiting for a decent idea or theme to start with, 10% gathering photo reference and shooting models, and 10% mad dash to finish painting by the deadline, which rarely ever happens. It’s a weird mix of wishful thinking and high anxiety.

SH: What do you think is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
CW: That we don’t work hard. That we are ‘lucky’ and are taking the easy road. Every artist is doing everything they can to sell a product there is absolutely no demand for, and they are betting on their own personal thoughts and emotions to sell it. They spend countless hours working with no guarantee of a paycheck, putting themselves out there and getting rejected, or taken advantage of over and over hoping to find some sort of communication with an audience. But your friend at the Dodge dealership says “get a real job”.

SH: What was playing in the background during the creation of this body of work? Does what you listen to inform the mood of the pieces or are they separate?
CW: I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks and my local radio station KEXP (the best radio station ever). I’m deep into ’The First Law’ series by Joe Abercrombie, and thankfully the subject matters have kept to themselves.


SH: Who would you want to collaborate with, dead or alive? The person can be in any area of the arts; film, dance, music etc.
CW: Michel Gondry first comes to mind. It just seems like he has a boundless imagination and a DIY approach to realizing his ideas.

SH: If your artwork inspired a cocktail, what would it be made of and what would it taste like?
CW: Hmmm, how about a ‘Furball’ which is just a pint glass of Fireball with a rim dusted in cat hair? Or a ‘Glowey’, which is Ecto Hi-C and vodka with a glow stick in it? It may be obvious, but I’m not much of a cocktail guy.

SH: When not in the studio, what would an ideal day look like?
CW: Rock and roll all night, and sleep all day.

A post shared by Casey Weldon (@caseyweldon) on