“While exploring the concept of consumption, Allison thumbs her nose at societal conventions of beauty, sexuality and morality. Working at a deliciously miniature scale, she has invented a cheerfully morbid fantasy-land that gives her leeway for infinite flourishes of invention.”– Erratic Phenomena
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tran Nguyen‘Nurturing the Uneased Soul’ (in our project room)
Exhibition run dates: March 12th – April 2nd, 2010
Brett Amory just sent over a lil’ process video of one of his latest works coming together, ‘Waiting #48’. Brett took a picture every 20 minutes during the painting sessions to help show the evolution of one of his paintings. Each step anticpating the next. It’s very enlightening to see how much he builds up the piece before deconstructing it back down.
Look for his solo show in our project room this June highlighting new works from his ongoing ‘Waiting’ series. In this series of work Brett aims to convey the day to day feelings of waiting and the anticipation of the next moment. We are absolutely in love with his ‘Waiting’ series and can’t wait to profile more of his work this summer at our new Culver City location.
Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker is one of the featured artists in our upcoming ‘Fresh’ exhibition. ‘Fresh’ is a showcase of emerging artists that we will be exhibiting in various group shows and special events in the year ahead. We’re excited about their work and wanted to give them a platform to help launch the year that lay ahead.
Thinkspace is excited to announce a new limited edition print release from artist Joao Ruas.
This is the first print we’ve published from Joao Ruas and we’re extremely happy with how it came out. This particular work was a big hit during his sold-out ‘Inner Myth Pt. 1’ exhibition and we felt it was a great fit for our first print with Joao.
“Enkindu & Gilgamesh”
12×12” giclee print on Epson Ultrasmooth smooth cotton rag fine art paper
Hand signed and numbered by Joao
Limited edition of 30 prints (+ 5 artist proofs)
Born in Brazil, 28-year old artist João Paulo Alvares Ruas was still a young child when his interest for visual art started to grow. Comic books were his first bridge to lines and colors, during high school much of his time was devoted to creative thinking due to the almost alternative education institution he studied under. Later, he took Design as his choice in University.
After a three year stint in London, João went back to his home town, São Paulo, where he works and lives.
Opening in conjunction with ‘The World Unseen and Those In Between’ from Andy Kehoe is our second solo show with artist and professional skateboarder Jesse Hotchkiss. In Jesse’s new series, he aims to portray moments of dreamlike intimacy, both visually foreign and familiar, yet somehow comforting and empowering to the characters within his work.
“The feeling of surrender washes over everything—a relaxing if daunting position to be in. But Hotchkiss seems to imply that falling, sinking, even being buried, might be just another way to reach something higher.”– TheRumpus.net
“Jesse Hotchkiss is one of these gifted individuals. He has a second-nature style when it comes to riding his skateboard and doing the crazy tricks. You’ve probably seen him somewhere at some time doing his thing, and maybe you agree with me that the dude has some natural talent. The thing is he’s also a very gifted artist and illustrator. His paintings and drawings come directly from the heart, and that’s part of why they’re so easy to enjoy.”– Jeremy Fish’s words in Transworld Skateboarding Magazine
Please talk a lil’ bit about the general idea/vibe behind your new series of works for “Learning To Fall“? What’s the story with the show’s title?
This new body of work is a reflection of the place I find myself these days. The title, “Learning To Fall”, was extracted from a Blonde Redhead tune called “Falling Man”. The idea of falling, both physically and metaphorically, has been a potent image in my work. It also has played a big role in my physical life; I’ve been learning to fall off my skateboard for two generations. Last May I pinched a nerve in my lower back and was immobilized for quite some time. This injury was the catalyst for exaggerated confusion and darkness in my life. I was no fun for a while… The title and concept was created before this debilitating injury, but this fall only seemed to accentuate a feeling that was already there; a need to get back in touch with the physical. I feel like the more we are in touch with both our physical and emotional shells, the better we will be prepared to eventually let them go. End of life transitioning surrounds us every day, yet it remains one of the biggest taboos. Personally, I feel a great momentum to explore this concept with an open mind and heart; both in my work and life.
On your site you separate your work into four distinct categories (“Air,” “Land” “Love Lump” and “Water”). Please tell us a lil’ about each series? These are general groupings for my past work. The catagories are essentially the four elements with Love Lump representing fire. The Love Lump series was for a Valentine’s Day themed show titled “Love It Or Leave It”..Look for my revamped website following the Learning To Fall exhibit (http://www.jessehotchkiss.com).
You are also a pro-skater, tell us a lil’ bit about your crazy summer that saw you going across the U.S. and then some? Thanks to a crash course with my amazing yoga instructor and chiropractor I was able to bounce back (pun intended) and return to my skateboard. Last summer I went on an epic road trip with my friends at American Misfits (a skateboard/comedy show on Fuel TV). For all of August I was driving (sometimes the iconic ’79 Mercedes Benz hearse, complete with skatable coffin) from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine. The premise of this trip was to document all the skate scenes we could find, add slapstick and bands to make eight episodes of American Misfit’s third season. I met so many new and old friends and experiences along the way it was like life in fast-forward. We hit 22 cities in 31 days! It was the best summer ever!…that is except for driving from Alaska to LA the summer before.
Much of your new work includes the use of drift wood, did you gather the wood yourself and if so, do you have a favorite spot you regularly hit up?
I’ve been collecting driftwood for years. Mostly I’ve found it on the shores of Goat Rock Beach, Hollister Ranch beaches, and various Alaskan and Oregon beaches.
How did spending time during your youth in New Mexico influence your artwork?
I spent the years between 5th and 12th grade in Santa Fe, NM. I became friends with young artists out there that were inspiring and also somehow affiliated with the skateboard scene. People like Nate Kraw, Joe Melvin, Mike Giant and Sam Flores became my peer teachers. Also I had an amazing art teacher (Gary Myers) in high school that supported all the exploring I was into. Aside from the people, the environment had a profound effect on me. My work often revisits those stark, muted landscapes of the Land of Enchantment.
If you had an unlimited budget and time was not an issue, what grand artistic vision would you look to bring to life? First I would acquire a large plot of land with natural swimming holes, hiking trails and seashores. I would invite some close friends to help me build and live in this art house. It would be mostly handmade with lots of personality and space. There would also be a skateboarding component to this community.
Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires? Silence is golden, yet I also work while listening to music. I find welcoming creative sound-scapes in the music of Ulrich Schnauss, Built to Spill, Augustus Pablo, Tommy Guerrero, Abstract Rude, and Ratatat most recently…
What do you consider your biggest overall influence?
My grandmother’s example of passionate, creative living has influenced me the most.
What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your solo with us – both artistically and on the skate front? After the Learning To Fall show, I will be exhibiting at Thinkspace Gallery again in January. The show is called ‘A Cry For Help’; it’s an endangered species benefit group art show. I can’t wait to see everyone’s creatures! The American Misfits episodes I skateboarded and acted in will be televised sometime next spring on Fuel TV…
Also I have launched a environmentally conscious skateboard company called ShredLife with the producers of the American Misfits show, Laban Pheidias and Ted Newsome. Also on the team is Chris Lambert and Chuck Wampler. I hand draw the majority of the graphics.
My skateboarding/acting will be featured in a music film produced by and for the band Angels and Airwaves. It’s in celebration of their new album “Love”. I believe it will premier on Valentine’s Day ’10.
Back on the art front, look for me in a two man show at 2HeadedHorse Gallery in Echo Park sometime in spring ’10.