Matthew Grabelsky Interview on PROHBTD

PROHBTD Grabelsky

Culture website PROHBTD interviewed artist Matthew Grabelsky to discuss his current exhibition “Underground” now on view in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. Please visit PROHBTD’s  website to read Grabelsky’s full interview.

Your characters are placed in everyday situations like riding the subway. Do the characters simply add surrealism, or do any of them reflect animal-like passengers you encountered on the subway?

My central concept is that everyone has a hidden aspect of their mind that can be revealed with an animal hybridization. However, there are certainly many times when I’ve been on the subway and have seen people who are practically fantastical creatures in their own right.  For anyone who has spent time on the subway in New York, the animal characters in my paintings are not that much of a jump from what you see there every day.

Don’t forget to check out our own interview with Matthew Grabelsky!

Interview with artist Ariel DeAndrea for ‘Chasing the Current’

Ariel DeAndrea in studio

An interview with artist Ariel DeAndrea for her upcoming show ‘Chasing the Current’ at Thinkspace Gallery. The opening reception for the show is Saturday, May 23, and run through June 13.

SH: What is your creative process?
AD: I love to travel and I never go anywhere without my camera, rolls of hand picked paper, scissors and fishing line. Anytime I see a body of water that inspires me, be it a puddle, a fountain, the ocean or a river, I stop, pull out the paper that fits the mood, start cutting and folding cranes and then I throw them in the water with some fishing line, so I can manipulate their angle and let the current of the water and the reflection of the environment off the water do the rest. After I take hundreds of photos, the editing process begins. I pick my favorite photos, build my canvases and begin the oil paintings, using the reference material.

SH: How long can it take you to finish a single piece?
AD: It really depends on the size, but I would say that my smallest paintings get at least 100 hours of effort at 10 inches by 10 inches, not including the time it takes to build the canvases.For those not already familiar, please explain the significance of the paper crane to you and how you first came to work with them.

SH: For those not already familiar, please explain the significance of the paper crane to you and how you first came to work with them.
AD: I recently found a drawing that I did in 4th grade (age 9) of little origami cranes flying around an old Japanese saying, “O flock of heavenly cranes, cover my child with your wings”. It gave me shivers down my spine when I found it. It crystallized for me how long my obsession with cranes has really been going on and I felt like everything in my life has been working towards this moment, as I have honed my own personal understanding of the crane to pay homage to it through my art.

Ariel DeAndrea Childhood Drawing

It resonated with me as a child, that if you folded 1,000 cranes, you could make a wish. Raised atheist, prayer did not come naturally to me, in fact, it was balked at in my household. I believe folding cranes became a sort of covert form of prayer for me. I turned to folding during trying times to soothe myself , for the wishes of good health and safety for my loved ones, when I knew not what else to do. It was, is and always will be the most purest, calming and comforting single object in the world to me, that can be made 1,000 times over and yet always have an individuality and unique beauty. This has been true, as I have folded over 4,000 cranes so far in my lifetime and still counting…

This form prayer became a real solace to me, when I was 13 and my mother, our best friend and I went to Indonesia. Our friend was hit by a car and in critical condition for 18 hours before we finally could evacuate her to Singapore. It was a harrowing experience fighting for her life all those hours and it left me scared, changed and feeling helpless once the immediate danger was over. I turned to folding cranes at her bedside in the hospital and found great comfort in it, as though I was actively helping when I could no longer help and it was now in the capable hands of the doctors. Next came my father’s life threatening brain injury, and then my mother’s battle with cancer. Each time, folding cranes was a way to cope and to find hope in dark days. This is how the fascination at age 9 turned to spiritual obsession in my adulthood.

SH: How do you select the color and patterns the cranes will have?
AD: I have collected papers from my trips to Japan and hunted for paper stores in the US and Europe that carry unique paper. Mostly I look for large sheets of hand printed Japanese washi papers. I want colorful paper with strong unique and careful design. I then carry many different sheets of paper with me at all times and pick the paper that fits the mood or color scheme of the place that has captured my attention.

SH: While painting do you feel like each crane takes on a different story?
AD: I absolutely feel the personality of each crane. My art practice with cranes originally was folding. I felt that each crane deserved to be carefully selected in size and color, folded, and loved. The point of folding 1,000 cranes is not to get to the end, but the meditative practice, the process, the conscious thought of your purpose for folding, repeated again and again, 1,000 times. This is what inspired me to paint them individually, to revere the singular. When they hit the water they take on so much life. Some dance about, others seem to glide with more serious purpose, some carefree, some reflective and contemplative and some almost sinister, like they are out on a hunt.

SH: What inspired your upcoming show, Chasing The Current?
AD: I am always chasing that next current to bring a crane to life in a new inspiring way and to bring attention to the movement and reflection in life all around us. Water possesses a unique spirit, ever moving and reflecting the world around it, it is powerful and never the same after even just a milliseconds passing. Once I started looking for it, I saw it everywhere. I try to capture it as best I can, but the photos are one stagnant moment that cannot hold the experience and journey of actually being with the crane, the sun, the water. It is in the process of painting that I feel I am able to better infuse and reinterpret that feeling of movement, complexity and beauty that the real world presents to me. I simply want to share the quiet turbulence of this one birds fight not to get pulled down and drown. They are resilient in the water as though they want to splash in the sun, like a child would. Each body of water has its own current, pull in different directions, some violent, some still, all like magic to me.

SH: Your bio states that Japanese Shinto inspires your work, explain what Shinto is and how does it play a part in your day to day life?
AD: Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It focuses on the spiritual essence of all natural things, that a river or ocean might contain its own godlike divine spirit, making it animistic in more anthropological terms. I believe the cranes help bring out the spirit of the water they are in. They transform from a paper toy to vessel for the soul of the current, the spirit, the moment of the river or lake and so on. I have always felt that almost painful feeling of beauty and mystery that nature and especially water can hold, an energy that is unique to each place, that feeling that “god” is every rock, every stone, every river. I can almost hear the whisper of their soul if I can still myself enough. The cranes help me to find that stillness and hear that soul.

crane #22

SH: What are your favorite paints and colors to use? What’s your favorite brushes?
AD: I absolutely love Old Holland paint, hands down. They never have too much medium in them, so you can thin them yourself. Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red Light, and Scheveningen Purple Brown are my greatest “out of the tube” obsessions. Cadmium mixed with Naples Yellow and Cremnitz white, can create one of the most beautiful, electric glowing colors of all time. I love mixing paint to see how they play together. It is forever fascinating and exciting to me.

Brushes, I use synthetic brushes of assorted sizes in filberts and rounds (mostly Robert Simmons Expressions or something similar) and squirrel hair wash brushes. All my brushes are quite small, so I am often buying relatively cheap rounds that have as fine a point as possible, so I can toss them once the point goes. Expensive brushes in size 000 don’t seem to keep their point any longer than the cheaper ones. I do spend my money on expensive wash brushes, so they don’t shed and good quality paint because the integrity of the color and body is worth it.

SH: When did you feel you had found your creative voice and style?
AD: Art for me has a strong relationship to discovery and experiment. I think the artist is always learning and yet I have found some truth to hold onto in my own art practice.

Most poignantly, when I found that fourth grade drawing…I was questioning the meaning of it all…you know, the artist dilemma in its largest most vast scape and was feeling overwhelmed. Then I found that drawing and snapped out of the macro of art and artists and all its history and into the micro, me as an artist as one piece in a larger puzzle. The best I can do is be true to myself. I thought, “the child in me would be delighted by the paintings and installation work I do with cranes today”, and that made me feel like I had arrived at something I have been searching for since childhood, something of sincere integrity. That’s when I knew, but the process of discovery has been ongoing. I revere and contemplate the master artist’s of old and still everyday strive to better honor their legacy and to affect in at least some small way the heart strings of the viewer.

Ariel DeAndrea photographing cranes

SH: As nature plays a part in your work, where is your favorite place to observe or be in nature?
AD: I have a special place in San Francisco, off the trail in Point Lobos. It is atop a cliff overlooking the ocean and the golden gate bridge. It is quiet and private and a little scary to climb over there, but I have been going there since my early teens and I think about that place often. I still go there when I am in town.

SH: Can you share with us something that scares you and something that makes you really happy?
AD: Crocodiles scare me. They are often in my nightmares. I feel like they are one of my spirit animals, alerting me of danger and playing off my fears. They are archaic, resilient and strong predators, built to adapt, survive and kill. Cranes make me happy, real ones and the paper ones. I have big white paper cranes hanging in my bedroom. Every morning I look at them dancing in the breeze from the window and feel a moment of weightlessness and delight. They are gentle, playful and vulnerable, the opposite of the crocodiles.

SH: What is something you know now, that you wish you would have known when first embarking on your artistic career?
AD: I remember hearing the famous illustrator Marshall Arisman give a talk after I had finished art school and he said something to the effect of, “paint what you know and love and you will never bore of the subject matter.” I think that as a young artist sometimes I tried to force ideas that were good ideas for someone else, but not so sincere to myself. I feel grateful to have arrived at content that resonates with me. This protects me from being too swayed by trends within the art world, allowing me to be comfortable with my work.

SH: If money were not an issue, what might your dream project entail?
AD: I know exactly what it would entail and once I get a lot of money, you shall see…

SH: Star Wars or Star Trek?
AD: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Interview with Seth Armstrong for The Air Is Thick

Seth Armstrong Studio Visit

photo courtesy of Robin Redd from Art Nerd studio visit.

Interview with Seth Armstrong for “The Air is Thick” on view a at Thinkspace Gallery  March 28 – April 18, 2015. Seth Armstrong will be present at the opening night March 28, 6-9pm.

Warm-up Questions:
SH: coffee or tea?
SA: Coffee
SH: background noise: music or tv show?
SA: Music
SH: snacks: savory or sweet?
SA: both
SH: dogs or cats?
SA: Dogs

SH: When do you get the most painting done? Morning, Noon, Night, Middle of the Night/Morning?
SA: I’d say late afternoon/evening/night-time.

SH: What inspired the direction of your work for the upcoming show?
SA: I started out with a common narrative in mind for the show, but I quickly got interested in other stuff, and now rather than a common thread that ties all the paintings together, the paintings seem to be more sequential. One relates to the next, but each may not belong with all the others. The city of LA had a big influence on the paintings, as in the architecture and the light. Also growing up in a town saturated by the movie industry, a lot of the paintings have a filmic quality to them.

Seth Armstrong

SH: Have you ever accidentally drank or was about to drink the dirty ‘paint’ water?
SA: I have accidentally put turpentine to my lips, but I’ve never swallowed it.

SH: What other artists work are you a fan of right now?
SA: I’ve always been a huge fan of my friend Chris Russell’s paintings. They are epic and colorful and amazing. I’ve got more of his paintings at my house than any other artist’s. (chrisrussellart.com)

SH: What brand of paint so you use? What’s your favorite color and brush right now?
SA: I like Gamblin oil paint right now. Favorite color is between yellow ochre or cobalt teal. Favorite brush is currently Princeton Art and Brush Co’s. They’ve got a nice flow and firmness, but they are shitty enough where I don’t have to worry too much about destroying them. Which I do.

Seth(march)

SH: How long does it take to complete a single piece? Do you work on multiple pieces at one time?
SA: Depends on the painting. There are paintings in this show that took more than a month, and there are paintings that took less than an hour.
I generally work on one painting at a time, but lately I’ve taken paintings to the point where they are very nearly done, then spend weeks on the finishing touches as I work on others.

SH: What motivated you to choose the life/career of an artist?
SA: My parents have always been very supportive. They both moved to LA to become actors, so they understand the whole “do what you love” mentality. I’ve always been drawing and painting, so as I was finishing high school, there wasn’t any kind of deciding moment, it just seemed like the natural next step.

SH: What do you know now, that you wish you would have known when first embarking on your artistic career?
SA: I still don’t know shit, so don’t worry about it.

thewrestlers

SH: What creative person; artist, musician, director, family member etc… has had the most influence or inspired your own artistic voice?
SA: One of the most significant people to influence me at a younger age was probably my high school art teacher, Mealiffe. She was the best. Incredibly supportive. A lot of kids from her class went on to careers in the arts.

SH: If your could invite 5 people dead or alive to a dinner party, who would be on your guest list and what’s on the menu?
SA: Ben Franklin, Elvis Presley, Leonardo Da Vinci, Brigitte Bardot, and Teddy Roosevelt. Spaghetti with meat sauce.

thefalconer

Arrested Motion interview Jacub Gagnon

Jacub Gagnon 'Cakes and Ladders' - acrylic on canvas

Arrested Motion just posted their in-depth interview with emerging Canadian artist Jacub Gagnon as he prepares to make the trip down to LA for his big ‘Elements and Oddities‘ show which opens this Saturday alongside new works from Japan’s Yosuke Ueno.

“I feel as though there is more to life than we know and this will always be so. I think there are connections and streams of consciousness tying us together in unimaginable ways. In my paintings I try to make these ‘unlikely’ connections, the unimaginable, imaginable, bringing what might seem like unconnected or unlikely paths of life together under a new light.” – Jacub Gagnon

Check out Arrested Motion’s full interview with Gagnon here:
http://arrestedmotion.com/2011/04/interviews-jacub-gagnon/#more-99954

Check out pics from Gagnon’s studio along with a look inside Ueno’s studio here:
www.flickr.com/photos/thinkspace/sets/72157626042350439/

‘Elements and Oddities’
New works from Jacub Gagnon and Yosuke Ueno

Reception with the artists: Sat, April 30th 6-8PM

On view April 30th – May 14th

Thinkspace / 6009 Washington Blvd. / Culver City, CA 90232 / Wed-Fri 1 to 6PM and Sat 1 to 8PM
www.thinkspacegallery.com

Juxtapoz interview Timothy Karpinski

Timothy Karpinski 'It's Complicated' - acrylic and graphite on hand-cut paper

View Timothy’s full interview with Juxtapoz here:
www.juxtapoz.com/Features/back-talktimothy-karpinski

‘This Is Forever’ featuring new works from Dan-ah Kim and Timothy Karpinski
+Split Ends’ featuring new works from Eveline Tarunadjaja in the project room

Both exhibits on view through April 23rd (FINAL WEEK)

View the works featured in ‘This Is Forever‘ via our digital preview:
www.thinkspacegallery.com/2011/04/works.php

thinkspace / 6009 Washington Blvd. in Culver City / Wed-Fri 1-6PM and Sat 1-8PM
www.thinkspacegallery.com