Coming in August – New Works by Fernando Chamarelli ‘Secret Code’

Fernando Chamarelli

Fernando Chamarelli – Secret Code
August 15th – September 5th, 2015

Thinkspace (Los Angeles) – is pleased to present new works by Brazilian designer, illustrator and artist Fernando Chamarelli in Secret Code, the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Chamarelli combines diverse graphic and cultural references to produce stunningly dense acrylic paintings. His distinctive use of line work and color reflect an eclectic graphic sensibility informed by everything from design, tattoos, street art and ancient history. Schooled in graphic design, Chamarelli creates complex mosaic like surfaces, filled with hybrid imagery and symbolism he has drawn from the varied aggregate of aesthetics, visual cultures and philosophies that inspire him. Recurring references in his works include Brazilian culture and music, astrology, occultism, and ancient pre-Columbian cultures. He creates an immersive and storied visual world that with each revisitation offers a new discovery. By merging contemporary influences with ancient and historical elements, Chamarelli creates a visual language that suspends past and present.

Inspired by his Brazilian heritage, Chamarelli channels the disparateness of his cultural environment through his work, tapping into his country’s rich history of contrasts and coexisting diversities. He incorporates elements of Brazilian folklore, carnival, indigenous costume and myth, while borrowing imagery from Aztec, Incan and Mayan histories, among others. Fascinated by sacred geometries and the symbology of ancient cultures, Chamarelli builds beautifully anomalous and surreal iconographies with hidden meanings and intersecting significations. By drawing from different philosophies, and seemingly divergent aesthetics, he creates something entirely transformed from the appropriated parts of existing traditions.

Chamarelli’s works are filled with mystical creatures, organic flora, totemic animals and geometric motifs, knit together in dense interconnected compositions that are brought to life with vibrantly psychedelic color palettes. These compositions are thick with visual information, line, shapes, geometries and figures. Their individual parts, however, are completely absorbed and integrated into the whole of an indivisible design. Incredibly stylized and optically intricate, the work at first reads as seamless overall pattern until, upon closer inspection, the elements are disentangled and individuated by the viewer. Chamarelli successfully unites several stories and traditions into a single image, encouraging a multiplicity of tangential readings and discoveries.

As the exhibition title, Secret Code, suggests, Chamarelli’s works present hidden narratives and mysteriously adapted iconographies. Like intricately constructed tessellations, each minute element in each composition is an integral piece of a larger puzzle. The cryptic symbolism of these works feels somehow infinite and universal; simultaneously contemporary and ancient, historical and yet entirely new. Chamarelli offers us a dense and evasive world of appropriated histories, and inventive new ones, all held together by the harmony of beautifully continuous and uninterrupted lines.

Interview with Nosego for “Along Infinite River”

Nosego Murals LBMA

Nosego working on his mural for ‘Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape’ at Long Beach Museum of Art. 

SH: What inspired your new work for “Along Infinite River”?
NG: There’s a good bit of inspiration from all over the place but ultimately it was based around the idea that we’re all apart of something bigger. The fact that we all have living organisms and communities of bacteria that are apart of us is as if we have little worlds that make us complete. Simultaneously we live in a world amongst other worlds or the possibilities of other worlds. Either way this idea intrigued me and pushed the work forward.

SH: How did your signature creatures come into fruition? When did you feel you developed your artistic voice?
NG: I’m actually not sure what creatures of mine are signature ones, but the inspiration to create them can come from anywhere.

SH: Your work keeps evolving with each new show. It seems you really push yourself whenever you sit down to create. Was there an exceptionally challenging piece in “Along Infinite River”?
NG: I usually notice my flaws in prior work so I try address the things that I think needs improvement in the following work. Ultimately I just want the work to have a feeling. Yeah every piece has a personal challenge I don’t enjoy the work if it comes easy I feel that I learn from the challenges.

Nosego Painting Welcoming

SH: Are you on team provolone or cheese whiz for your Philly Cheese Steak?
NG: Provolone, but I’m not a huge fan of Cheese Steaks*.

SH: Which Ninja Turtle has the most presidential candidate potential?
NG: I would say Michelangelo for president and Donatello for vice.

SH: What do you do when self-doubt or inspiration dry spells hit you?
NG: Keep painting! Only way to get through it.

Welcoming Along Infinite River

SH: What is your process? How long does it take you to finish a single piece?
NG: It varies from piece to piece.

SH: What are your favorite artists at the moment?
NG: Too many to name

Home Nosego

SH: What advice would you give a fledgling artist who looks up to your work?
NG: Enjoy your work and share the work you enjoy.

SH: What is your spirit animal?
NG: I’m still searching.

*Nosego prefers sushi

Sharing Light Nosego


New works by Nosego will be on view at Thinkspace Gallery July 18th – August 8th. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6pm. Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for more information and to view all available works from ‘Along Infinite River’.

Interview with Drew Leshko

Drew Leshko Rusty Icebox

New works by Drew Leshko will be on view at Thinkspace Gallery July 18th – August 8th. The opening reception for Drew’s work along with artists Nosego and Brian Mashburn is from 6-9pm on Saturday, July 18th.

SH:  What is your process?
DL: I’m a sculptor that works mainly with paper so a lot of the process is knife work with a variety of X-acto blades. For the Dumpsters and small works, the process begins with a large sheet of hot press illustration board. I like hot press papers for their smooth textures and use illustration board as it accepts paints and pigments very well. By making a series of cuts and scores on the flat sheet, eventually the dumpsters fold into the desired shape. At this point, I’ll use some PVA glue to set the forms. Once dry I’ll fill all of the seams with plaster, then sand clean. Very heavy-handedly, I’ll apply enamels to the dumpsters, one side at a time allowing the paint to pool a bit so that they dry without brush strokes – I try to achieve the look of a real dumpster which most likely was sprayed with wet paint from an air gun. Once dry, I’ll start adding on the details — handles, wheels, hinges, lids, etc.

The most difficult part of the dumpster works is prepping the wheat pastes. I have them printed on a nice heavy, acid-free Matte photo paper so that the paper receives the ink nicely, but the scale of the paper is all wrong. It’s way too thick at this point, so I peel layers of the paper apart trying to isolate a very thin top layer that I then distress that with sandpaper, and manipulations by hand. This takes time and a whole lot of patience.

SH: How long does it take you to finish a single piece? For example, a dumpster and a small two-story building.
DL: The buildings are large undertakings. Even a small two story building takes me about a month, and I work around 40 hours a week in the studio… A lot of the work is the preparation of the paper building materials. Cutting, painting, and gluing bricks is a slow grind. Nothing is prefabricated, so everything is sculpted from a stack of blank papers and wood. In a way, each component of a building is worked on as an individual sculpture, then applied to the custom panel (building shaped) similar to a collage.

Dumpsters and small works are created in downtime while I’m waiting for glue or paint to dry on the big projects but are typically completed over a week or two. I like to have a couple different projects going at the same time so that i can bounce between them. My work involves a lot of very delicate and precarious glue joints, so I’ve come to terms with stepping away from them at certain points to protect the work I’d just put in. As the work is mainly paper, stray glue can be devastating and really wreck what I’d been trying to accomplish.

SH: Do you work from your own source photography?
DL: Yes, I photograph all of the buildings myself for reference images. There have been a couple of projects where artist friends have shared photos they’ve taken for me to use.

All of the wheat pastes are photographs that I’ve taken while wandering Philly. Most of them are from right in my neighborhood.

Drew Leshko Yams

SH: Who are your favorite artists at the moment?
DL: Alex Lukas, Jen Stark, and Erin M Riley

SH: What is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
DL: I’m not sure what the biggest misconception would be, but i know its not an easy lifestyle. I’m not able to make my living just off of my artwork, so i have to balance between studio work and work-work. So when i say that i work 40 hours a week in the studio, thats on top of the 30 hours a week i work to pay the bills. For an outsider it seems kind of crazy, but after doing this for almost a decade, it just is what it is.

SH: What is the most fulfilling part of being an artist?
DL: The most fulfilling thing for me is when someone really connects with my sculptures. I love to watch people getting excited about the work, but also getting confused about the materials being used. In particular, Swizz Beatz was really blown away by my buildings and the attention to detail. He said to me that he really connected to the work, as the building reminded him of his roots in New York. Though none of the buildings were from NYC, the architectural styles are mostly the same through Northeastern cities…. So by working with an architectural style like “Colonial Revival” or similar, the buildings tend to be more ambiguous and less Philly-centric.

Drew Leshko Counter Punch

SH: Dream project, if time and money were not an issue?
DL: The Divine Lorraine Hotel here in Philadelphia. Its massive and has it all — the architectural details, various states of decay and preservation, and a rich history. I think it would take me 2 years to sculpt it and it would probably be about 12 feet tall, so i’d need a bigger studio. hahaha

SH: Any plans to spend time in other major cities to help inform future bodies of work, or will Philadelphia be your muse for foreseeable future?
DL: My environment has really shaped my work, no doubt about that. But yes, I’d love to make a trip to LA and start thinking about building a new body of work for my next show with Thinkspace. The only problem is that i don’t know other cities well. My works are capturing a moment in time — buildings that are being torn down, re-purposed, and modernized, so without being a local and really in tune with the dynamics of particular areas, its tough to identify these types of places. I don’t just make buildings that are striking, its more than that.

SH: What do you do when self-doubt or inspiration dry spells hit you?
DL: Yea. self-doubt is a real thing for sure. Most of the time I’ll just put the work away for a few weeks and come back to it. I’ll start something new or different. This Venn-diagram seems about right.

creative venn diagram


Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for more information and we hope to see you out Saturday, July 18th. 

New Works by Bumblebeelovesyou in #WhereWeBeelong


June 20th – July 11th

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is #WhereWeBeelong featuring new works by LA based artist Bumblebeelovesyou. Known for his iconic street art pieces of playful children set in urban contexts, Bumblebee draws from a nostalgic love of childhood memory and its simplicity. Invested in the communicative power of imagery, he brings a poignant vision of innocence to life by drawing our attention to its displacement. Often clad in the artist’s preference for black and yellow, his graphically simple and stenciled characters are harbingers of hope and redemption; reminders of youth and promise in the darkness of gritty urban recesses.

Bumblebeelovesyou began his work on abandoned buildings in the town of Downey in South East Los Angeles County. He has created large-scale mural works and architectural interventions throughout the US, often under the auspices of raising awareness for social issues such as youth homelessness. Preoccupied thematically with the progress of time and change, Bumblebee creates thoughtful works about transition and the coming of age. Hopeful and reminiscent, though at times unsettling, his depictions of youth are set in stark contrast to the urban contexts in which they appear. Nonetheless, his works manage to convey a feeling of incorruptible buoyancy; a remembrance of light in the midst of unavoidable darkness. With an investment and awareness for social and environmental themes, his images remind us of the invaluable gift of beginnings, and the shared responsibility of ensuring continuity.

bumblebeelovesyou teaser

Ariel DeAndrea – Chasing the Current

Ariel DeAndrea studio shot

Ariel DeAndrea – ‘Chasing the Current’
Opening Reception: Saturday May 23, 6-9pm
‘Chasing the Current’ will be on view May 23rd – June 13th

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by Ariel DeAndrea in Chasing the Current. Working primarily in oils on linen, DeAndrea’s paintings are beautifully serene expanses of water, gently travelled by delicate paper birds. By focusing on the recurring symbol of the origami paper crane, a talismanic object she reiterates in several aquatic contexts, the artist emphasizes the power and beauty of its unassuming simplicity. In a precisely realistic and understated style, DeAndrea renders the paper birds in a variety of patterns and colors, and stages them in open fields of rippling water. DeAndrea creates a stunning repertoire of images by exploring the subtle movement and variety in these repetitions. Not unlike hazy dreamscapes, her works feel intensely personal and heavy with meaning, conveying a feeling of arrested calm that borders on the uncanny at times. We are left with the feeling of having witnessed something simultaneously quiet and intensely poignant.

These inanimate objects become vessels for meaning that far exceeds their tangible significance. Vulnerable and beautiful, something ephemeral haunts the impermanence of the fragile paper bird. Finding resilience and beauty in small, humble things is a concept DeAndrea derives from her interest in the Japanese spiritual tradition of Shinto; a tradition that upholds the spiritual value of nature. By placing the little paper likenesses back into a depiction of the natural world, DeAndrea offers a powerful visual metaphor for a spiritual communion with nature.

Ariel Deandre Chasing the Current