Jaune & Slinkachu take over Culver City

Jaune and Slinkachu’s collaborative exhibition Trash Talk is currently on view at Thinkspace Projects now through June 22nd. During the artists time in Culver City, they took to the streets for a few unexpected pieces of art.

Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK are both critically acclaimed artists who work on an atypically miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city.

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.

Opening Reception Recap: Casey Weldon’s “Latent Content” & Liz Brizzi’s “CDMX”

Thank you to all those who joined us for the opening reception of Casey Weldon’s “Latent Content” and Liz Brizzi’s “CDMX”

Both exhibitions are on view now through this weekend, Saturday, May 13th. Make sure to see their vibrant work in person. View available pieces from Casey Weldon and Liz Brizzi on the Thinkspace website.

Join Us in Mesa, AZ for Esao Andrews mid-career retrospective “Petrichor”

Thinkspace is pleased to invite you to Petrichor, a mid-career retrospective at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum dedicated to the surreal and darkly stylized work of Japanese American artist, and Mesa AZ native, Esao Andrews. Known for his minutely detailed and narratively suggestive paintings, Andrews brings haunting imagery to life through his uniquely mannerist distortion of subjects, both human and animal, and the strange undertow of his desolate, Gothically inspired landscapes. Themed around homecomings, departures, and afflictive transformations, Andrews’ works feel drawn from the same collective imaginary reserves as myth.

Andrews attended New York’s School of Visual Arts where he studied illustration and completed a B.F.A in 2000. An accomplished figurative painter, he participated in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2002. The artist has worked commercially in tandem with his fine art practice which has, in recent years, grown to include large-scale murals, and produced iconic album cover artwork for American rock band Circa Survive. He has also created numerous comic book covers for DC’s Vertigo Comics, and memorable deck designs for Deathwish and Baker Skateboards.

Petrichor will feature over a dozen iconic works by Andrews, borrowed from private collections worldwide, and will include the original artwork from the Circa Survive album releases. Also included in the exhibition are never before seen sketches and maquettes, objects and skateboard decks, and twelve new, never before seen works alongside a site-specific mural created for the retrospective.

Staging a world of unlikely combinations and unexpected tensions, Andrews revels in the surreal elasticity of the subconscious and its penchant for the poetically absurd. No hybrid is too unimaginable, no character too fantastic, no anthropomorphous invention too unthinkable. Objects, animals, and people are all dynamically animate and sentient, subject to the inexplicable rules of their living fictional cosmos. Always one for compelling epilogues, Andrews has revisited past characters and themes throughout his career, building on earlier works and weaving a sort of narrative continuity throughout his output. Though the tone of his imagery often borders on the grotesque or even macabre, a literary impulse links Andrews’ works to the fabric of fable and myth, its folkloric threads binding it to something vaguely archetypal and collective in its haunting resonance.

Andrews lists diverse sources of inspiration for his work, everything from art history to skate counterculture. The immersive manga fantasies of anime master Hayao Miyazaki figure prominently among his influences, as do French 19th-Century Academic painting styles, particularly its neoclassical revisitation of myth and the tenebrous cast of its moody contrasts. Andrews also cites the heightened emotional drama of Gustav Klimt’s Symbolist Art Nouveau style and Egon Schiele’s Expressionistic sensual grotesque as other stylistic sources. Contemporary painters James Jean and Inka Essenhigh list among his inspirations too, as does visionary cartoonist Al Columbia for his masterful, ghoulish reinterpretations of Americana.

“Petrichor” is said to be the fluid stone coursing through the veins of the Gods in Greek mythology, it is also the warm earthen smell after a downpour on desiccated land, the relief of rain on hot desert and dry air that signals a moment of elemental transformation and all the inexplicable micro-metamorphoses that attend a relieved and changing landscape. This is the dark but beautifully redemptive imaginary Andrews is continually bringing to life – one in which endings and beginnings are indivisibly bound.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (Mesa, AZ)
1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
https://www.mesaartscenter.com

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Friday, May 10, 2019 / 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Exhibition runs May 10, 2019 – August 4, 2019