JUXTAPOZ MAGAZINE PREVIEWS THE SPACE MONKEY RETURNS

“There was a special era in underground art, right before blogs and social media took hold and that monthly magazine that came to your doorstep was your only window into culture. This isn’t a time to wax poetic, but in hearing about Dalek/James Marshall’s Space Monkey 20th Anniversary exhibition at Thinkspace this Winter, it made us think about that time of discovery. It made us think of Murakami’s Mr. Dob, Camille Rose Garcia’s fairytale flourishes or a Shag lounge scene. These are icons that helped shaped the 21st-century art landscape, and the Space Monkey is right there.” – —Evan Pricco

Full Juxtapoz preview here.

Exhibition is open now through December, 23rd, 2017

Interview with James Marshall “Dalek” for The Space Monkey Returns!

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present The Space Monkey Returns featuring new works by North Carolina-based artist James Marshall. Also known by his mutant cyborg epithet “Dalek,” an ode to the classic sci-fi British series Doctor Who. In anticipation of the exhibition opening, Saturday, December 2nd, we have an interview with James Marshall aka Dalek discussing the evolution of the Space Monkey and how he continues to challenge himself as an artist.

Opening Reception:
Saturday, December 2, 2017
6:00pm – 9:00pm

SH: Why do you think the Space Monkey has resonated with people so much?
JM: Maybe because it’s so representational of what is fascinating about humanity. I’d ideally hope that people can see a lot of the humor in it that is part of their own experiences through life. We sort of have to embrace the absurdity of our own stupidity as we stumble through navigating endless nuances.

SH: What is your favorite thing about being an artist? What do you think the role of art / the artist is in society?
JM: I just like making art. It’s fun for me. therapeutic in a way to relay a lot of my thoughts..but more so a way to keep my hands busy and mind occupied. Art/artist have always and will always be important to connect the dots of cultural shifts and the human experience. its connective tissue for the larger organism. that develops and delivers complex experiential layers into clear tangible objects.. how people relate to art is how it connects to their own lives. It gives meaning… it gives a voice… power and so on.

SH: Who has been one of the most influential people in your artistic development? Have they shared any advice with you other artists can apply to their work or journey?
JM: Me…and I only say that in so far as I need to remind myself constantly to stay motivated and push what I’m doing. Sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously…everyone’s journey is different. So I just try to keep focused on whats important to me and my own development as a person, and therefore as an artist.

SH: I know it’s old news, but for many, they were not aware at one point you were a studio assistant for Murakami. One choice story or a bit of wisdom from him that has stuck with you, that you’d care to share?
JM: No, it was a long time ago and hasn’t been relevant to my life in ages. I learned some technical stuff that helped me get organized, but ultimately I modified things to suit my needs.

SH: Who were some of your favorite punk bands when growing up?
JM: Oh man, Minor Threat for sure, The Freeze, Ill Repute, Scream, Dead Kennedys, Agent Orange, The Faction.

SH: How do you continue to challenge yourself as an artist?
JM: I just know I need to challenge myself. I’ve never been cool with going through the motions in any aspect of life, part of why I dropped Space Monkey years ago, didn’t feel I had anywhere to take it given my skill sets. I’ve learned a lot since then and it made sense to revisit it, I got excited by it again and I’m sure it’ll wear thin again…maybe? We’ll see, I just keep trying to teach myself how to paint how to understand color better, just the basics. Maybe once I figure that out I’ll get rolling. Without a doubt, I still feel like I haven’t really learned to paint yet, too many distractions in life and making art just isn’t my main focus. So maybe one day it will be and I’ll crank out some stuff.

SH: Your work really translates a love for color. What is your favorite color, and how many paint colors do you have in your studio? Do you mix them yourself?
JM: Yeah. Just trying to learn color, mixing them helps. I have a couple hundred right now, don’t have a favorite really, they are all good. Depends on the mood, day of the week and so on.

SH: Are you detail-oriented and a geometry nerd outside of your work, or is all the neurosis tapped out on the canvas?
JM: No, I gotta have things certain ways, there is a lot of that in my day to day life.

SH: Do you remember the first sticker you created of the Space Monkey? If so, do you have an image of it you can share?
JM: It was a long time ago… Shepard Fairey helped me make stickers back in 97 or maybe it was 98, anyhow…no photos…not that I have anyways.

SH: Who do you think everyone should look up?
JM: That’s a broad question, they should look up anyone that they want. I could name a million things, relevant to different aspects of what I find interesting in the world. It probably wouldn’t be an artist. Let’s be honest, for all artist do, it’s nowhere near as fascinating as what scientist or people in other exploratory fields contribute to the growth and development of our species.

SH: What about other artists’ work excites or fascinates you?
JM: Hard to say..it’s just a reaction.. usually based on whether something is interesting or not.. so much shit in this world is boring and unoriginal.. so i just like people who actually have something striking to say. Honesty always comes through in art or anything really, so if it feels genuine, it’s good. Too many posers out there.

SH: Whom would you want to collaborate with, dead or alive? The person can be in any area of the arts; film, dance, music, etc.
JM: Walt Disney probably.

SH: When not in the studio, what would an ideal day look like?
JM: Hanging with the family, that’s all I like to do when I’m not painting and watch Duke basketball.

Thinkspace Projects Presents James Marshall (aka DALEK) “SPACE MONKEY 20th ANNIVERSARY”

JAMES MARSHALL (AKA DALEK)
THE SPACE MONKEY RETURNS
December 2 – December 23, 2017

(Los Angeles, CA) – Thinkspace is pleased to present The Space Monkey Returns featuring new works by North Carolina-based artist James Marshall. Also known by his mutant cyborg epithet “Dalek,” an ode to the classic sci-fi British series Doctor Who, Marshall is most widely known for his iconic character “Space Monkey,” who first appeared in his early graffiti work in 1995 and was to become a mainstay of the artist’s imagery.

This maniacally unhinged looking ball-shaped cartoon mouse, often seen wielding a blood dappled cleaver, is equal parts avatar, alter ego, and geometric abstraction. The figure became an emblem of sorts for the artist and a recurring protagonist used to convey themes in which he was interested. Space Monkey was a stand-in for the idea of the individual caught in a frenetic landscape of technology and misinformation, an obsequious reliance on tech “progress” Marshall felt would, presciently, it should be noted, reduce us all to “button pushers.” Inspired by Marshall’s affinity for Japanese pop, street art, and punk culture, Space Monkey became a vehicle for the exploration of a variety of ideas and themes.

Marshall’s practice has since evolved into a highly detailed form of neo-geo, or geometric abstraction, expertly executed with hard-edging and endless gradations of color. Each time-consuming panel can take upwards of 150 hours to paint and attests to the meticulous technical facility needed to create them. At times the Space Monkey has reappeared, or at least the kaleidoscopically dissembled suggestion of his parts, but he has been enjoying a prolonged sabbatical, until now, that is. Marshall’s critically acclaimed paintings, murals, and site-specific public projects have also found new expression in recent installation-based works, pushing his aesthetic into exciting, and transformative, new dimensional contexts.

Currently based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Marshall had an itinerant youth and adolescence, displaced geographically every couple of years as the child of a Navy nuclear submarine captain. Having grown up throughout several different cities in the United States, he moved to Japan at the age of 16 and later to Hawaii and Virginia. A constant for the artist amidst all of this dislocation was the sense of community and personal identity he found in the punk and skateboarding countercultures so interconnected in the 80s and 90s. His early style and imagery evolved out of the aesthetics of these subcultures and eventually came to technical fruition after 2001, benefitting from Takashi Murakami’s tutelage while working as his studio assistant.

In 2006, Marshall felt constrained by the iconic avatar that had put him on the map and began moving away from the illustrative Space Monkey character towards more complex and abstract geometric works. He has perfected the subtle transition and graded succession of every imaginable hue, creating at times upwards of 40 tonal variations on a single color, all mixed by the man himself. These fine-spun moments of visual transition contribute to the phenomenal level of depth and optical illusion the artist is able to achieve within a simple set of converging hard-edge forms and planes. The works shift imperceptibly as their dynamic surfaces push and pull, flatten and swell, recede and advance; these tectonic planes feel as though they contain physical light, emitting psychedelic halos of electric color. Marshall’s duality resides in the fact that the work is simultaneously planate and intermittent, like something flat that’s strangely self-animated from within.

Dedicated to the Space Monkey’s unexpected reprieve from a decade-long hibernation, this special exhibition features old, new, and rare works, revisiting the deranged rodent and the extraterrestrial mutant handler namesake that started it all.

The Space Monkey is Back! James Marshall aka Dalek is Coming this December

We’re beyond excited to announce Dalek is coming to Thinkspace Gallery this December. We will be hosting the return of the Space Monkey in celebration of his 20th anniversary. Thinkspace is honored to welcome James Marshall aka Dalek to our gallery for what promises to be a landmark exhibition. An exhibition that is not to be missed! This December we will be showcasing an array of newly created Space Monkey works alongside classics from his archives. PLUS never before shared early works on paper + new screen printed editions & more. Hot damn. I can’t express my excitement about this show properly in words. I’ve known this man for two decades and this is a dream come true. The Space Monkey is back!

This December we will be showcasing an array of newly created Space Monkey works alongside classics from his archives. PLUS never before shared early works on paper, new screen printed editions, and more. We can’t express our excitement about this show properly in words. In the words of our curator Andrew Hosner, “I’ve known this man for two decades and this is a dream come true. The Space Monkey is back!”