A Bit of Animated Amy Sol

The animated translation of Amy Sol’s imagination invites us into the world that will be “Bird of Flux.”  We’re anxious to show Sol’s new venture into sculpture, along with a fresh collection of paintings. Join us for the opening reception of   Amy Sol’s Bird of Flux, March 3rd from 6 to 9 pm.


Last Friday over two dozen talented New Contemporary artists took to the walls of Kaka’ako for the 5th annual Pow! Wow! Hawaii arts festival. The murals are nearly complete with some intense progress being made.

Here are a few progress shots of a few Thinkspace Projects’ artists.

Tran Nguyen | Instagram

Sandra Chevrier | Instagram 

DULK | Instagram 

James Bullough x Ricky Watts

JB: Instagram RW: Instagram  | Photo by Mark Susuico

Laurence Vallieres | Instagram 

Spenser Little 

Icy & Sot | Instagram 

We can’t wait to see the end results! 🍍 Aloha!🌺

A full map of the Pow Wow Hawaii murals in progress and those from past years, visit this link here. 

The Whirlwind Opening Reception of Van Arno’s “Upright” & Molly Gruninger “Luminescent”

The opening of Van Arno’s “Upright” and Molly Gruninger’s “Luminescent” was a whirlwind night filled with laughter, art legends, costumes, animal friends, and of course great art. At the door stood a friend of Arno’s dressed as a butler showing off the exclusive wooden box set of prints, and throughout the evening the models in Arno’s work dressed in black and adorned with a white rose enjoyed the showing with the packed house of art enthusiasts. The Godfather of the Low Brow movement, Robert Williams, came to show his support for Van Arno along with fellow movement veteran Anthony Ausgang.

In the project room, Molly Gruninger’s “Luminescent” illuminated her understanding and manipulation of light in her flawless oil painting works. The pieces look digitally rendered, but the only digital element in her pieces are the references she uses to then put paint on canvas.

Both exhibitions are on view now through February 24th.

Click here to view available pieces by Van Arno: Upright

Click here to view available pieces by Molly Gruninger: Luminescent

Van Arno Studio Visit for “Upright”

Van Arno welcomed us into his studio to view the works for “Upright” opening this Saturday, February 3rd. In a casual behind the scene tour of Arno’s work, he shares a few of the stories behind the pieces.

Thank you to our resident videographer/photographer Birdman for putting the video together!


Interview with Van Arno for “Upright”

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present New Contemporary veteran Van Arno’s solo exhibition Upright in our gallery’s main room. The exhibition features Arno’s dynamic figurative work that plays with proportion and distortion throughout the composition from narrative to the technical elements. In anticipation of the exhibition opening, Saturday, February 3rd, our interview with Van Arno discusses his perspective on the evolution of the New Contemporary art movement to his creative process. Also why Salvador Dali is not on the list for a dinner party.

Opening reception, Saturday, February 3rd  from 6 pm to 9 pm. 

SH: As the body of work in this exhibition was developed on highlighting the individual figure, where did you draw inspiration to develop the composition?
VA: I didn’t set out to do a series. The first piece I did was Sweet Tart, and I was really happy with how it turned out. I had cropped into the figure a lot, so although it isn’t a huge painting (24”x 48”) she is slightly larger than life. I was excited to do more work along those lines, and the series came out of that. It’s Upright because all but one are vertical compositions.

My horizontal piece, Susanna And The Elders, is composed differently, and in a sense, it is a transition piece leading me into this new series. It’s a biblical story about a woman who is spied on while bathing by two old men. It’s been painted a lot through history, and it is usually about intimacy invaded by voyeurs. I felt observing a person whose life has deteriorated and is no longer able to behave rationally is far more invasive.

SH: How has your creative process evolved over the years? What is your favorite and least favorite part of the creative process?
VA: For a long time my work was very focused on narrative. I would find some nugget of a story from history or mythology, and try to use it as a launch pad, to make the story reflect my skewed opinion about the event or general human behavior.

My new series is more focused on individuals, specifically these models. I’ve worked with some of them for years, and I know most of them pretty well. My struggle was to avoid doing pin-ups, so I wanted them to be strong, in control, self-possessed, and most of all individuals. This seems very of the moment right now, but when I started the series 2 years ago, #metoo was not on anyone’s radar.

SH: If you were to have a dinner party, which 5 people would you invite (dead or alive)? What would be on the menu? And what is the one question you’d ask from everyone?
VA: Well, I respect lots of kinds of creativity, but I’d invite artist because I’m interested in what kind of people they are. Gene Kelly was a genius and shaped the last half of the twentieth century more than people realize. I’d invite Jack Davis because his Mad Magazine work really inspired my youth and because Todd Schorr told me a funny story about meeting him. I’d include Greg “Cray” Simkins because I just don’t see him enough. We need a historic Italian painter so that’s gotta be Giambattista Tiepolo- the Hemingway of Rococo Painting. The northern renaissance should be represented, so that’s gotta be you, Roger Van dear Weyden. Salvador Dali is not invited. He’d overrun the conversation and eat all the oysters. We are having oysters.

I’d let questions unfold organically

SH: In your work, there is clearly a love of form, especially the body, where do you gather your references? Does the form inspire the rest of the piece? Or does the composition’s story inform the form of the body?
VA: Sometimes I really have a character in mind, like Medea or the Mayan goddess Ixchel, and I find the model that brings something to the story. Other times I start with the model. If she has super strong legs, I give her 4 of them.

SH: What were you listening to while developing this body of work? Does your background noise influence the mood of the pieces?
VA: I rarely listen to music. It’s too distracting. ….This song makes me want to hear a different song by this artist, or a cover of it by another artist, and which album came out first? And is this person dead? And no I don’t want to hear this next song…

I like to have old movies on or marathons of tv shows I’ve seen. I find this just engaging enough, but sometimes hours pass before I look at the screen.

SH: Which piece in this show was most challenging and why?
VA: The Floor Is Lava was very challenging. I paint from reference photos that I shoot, and usually, the figure is composed of multiple photos because the poses are deceptively difficult. But on this piece, the perspective in my hallway was way different on different photos. Rectifying all this was a technical bloodbath.

SH: How do you know a piece is complete? When do you step away?
VA: It’s pretty tempting not to stop. Every piece I’ve done has elements that I could fix/improve. But, ultimately I stop when I’ve achieved communicating my intent. While I know I could polish it up more, I’d rather have it look a little rough. Like a human person made it.

SH: You have helped to shape what is now considered the New Contemporary Art Movement, what does the feel like to have been at the start of the evolution of something and to watch it progress?
VA: It’s remarkable because when I went to art school in 1984, fine art was a whole different animal. I was told figurative painting was extinct, and if I must paint, I should paint with a broom, or with cranberry sauce, and that video art was the future. Fine art was an austere, academic, inaccessible thing that no one liked. Now I see people at art openings on dates! Fine art became interesting and exciting. Robert Williams and street art and Juxtapose and Thinkspace did that! I’m privileged to have my career be part of this amazing transformation.

SH: What advice would you give to artists breaking into the art world and can you tell us about the first time you exhibited your work to the public, where was it? Do you remember the piece? (outside of school)
VA: My first show was at the Onyx coffee house on Vermont in LA, it’s now cafe Figaro and I still like to go there and sit in the room. I showed a bunch of paintings of Olive Oyl, who was my first muse. I bet I will paint her again this year. I am a teacher now, which I enjoy like crazy, and I’ve given out loads of advice. The best of it really boils down to – “the best way to start is to start… and you can’t fail at anything until you quit.”

Interview with Molly Gruninger for “Luminescent”

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Molly Gruninger first solo exhibition in the Thinkspace project room,  Luminescent.  The exhibition features new pieces of her hyper-realistic oil paintings, a commentary on the way we adorn ourselves to express our identity. In anticipation of the exhibition opening, Saturday, February 3rd, our interview with Molly Gruninger introduces us to this new artists and provides insight into her creative process and evolution.

Opening reception, Saturday, February 3rd  from 6 pm to 9 pm. 

SH: Can you tell us a little about your background? Where are you from? Studied art? Favorite food?
MG: I’m originally from Indiana where I studied art at Ball State University. I initially wanted to be an art teacher, but after realizing I have no patience for kids, went into graphic design. However, painting has always been my true love.

SH: What inspired this latest body of work?
MG: I’d say this series plays a bit more on the past, present and future of adornment.

SH: How did you come to develop this hyper-metallic futuristic style? What is your creative process?
MG: Once I began studying design and learning about the marketing world, I became much more aware of the effect that visual advertising and the media has on our perceptions of beauty and identity. Themes relating to self and social image are now inspired by all walks of life, but that was where the idea stemmed.

SH: What is your favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? How long does it take to complete a piece?
MG: I take reference photos to use in the painting process, which is first staged using mannequins. I do some concept sketches and then construct my decorations, while keeping my composition in mind. Ideas come to me at random times, so I usually keep a list for anytime something pops in my head.

SH: What does a day in the studio look like? How do you structure your days?
MG: The beginning stage when I’m coming up with concepts and the project is still fresh and exciting is my favorite part. The worst part is the end when you’re trying to work through a lack of sleep when pressed for time.

Pieces usually take anywhere from 60-80 hrs.

A typical day varies, but I usually have to eat breakfast and wake up for about an hour before I can focus in, but once I get going, I’ll work for 10 hrs straight with the exception of little breaks here and there to step back and reassess my progress.

SH: We use our outer appearance as a form of expression, so how have you used makeup style, hair, clothing as a way to express yourself or shape a moment?
MG: My style pretty much says I’m lazy about style haha. For the most part, I strive for comfortable and casual. Even if I dress up, comfort is number one. I just use all my pent up style expression at Halloween, when I can become a peacock.

SH: If your artwork inspired a cocktail? What would be the name and recipe?
MG: Shiny Surprise: various liquor obscured by a cup wrapped in ribbons that you must drink through a straw. You don’t know what you’re gonna get!

SH: What were you listening to while developing this body of work? Does your background noise influence the mood of the pieces?
MG: I tend to listen to movies or podcasts. Sometimes high energy music like Daft Punk or Kraftwork, but I’m usually paying half attention to the things going on around me when I’m working. It might affect my mood slightly, but not so much the pieces.

SH: Which piece in this show was most challenging and why?
MG: Probably the one titled “Armored Guard”, where I used my fiancé as a model. Though he did great, people tend to be slightly more temperamental about the process than a mannequin.

SH: If you were to have a dinner party, which 5 people would you invite (dead or alive)? What would be on the menu? And what is the one question you’d ask from everyone?
MG: Jim Henson, Cloris Leachman, Alex Jordan (House On The Rock), Charles Darwin, Obama. I would ask everyone to give a detailed description of their most embarrassing moment.


Icy & Sot continue to produce thought-provoking work that reflects the troubles of our times in a new series of public works created as a response to the travel-ban in the US.  Juxtapoz highlights the work as a continued departure from their classic stencil based pieces, which was first seen at the opening of Human (Nature) in November 2017 at our gallery.

We are excited to announce that pieces from Human (Nature) will be shown at the Fullerton Museum Center, with an opening reception tomorrow, Friday, January 26th.

We look forward to introducing Icy & Sot’s Human (Nature) to a new audience in Orange County.

Human (Nature)

Curated by Thinkspace

On view Jan 27 – March 18
Opening Reception: 6-9PM

Fullerton Museum Center
301 N. Pomona Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
Phone (714)738-6545