Interview with Alvaro Naddeo for “Not Forgotten”

Thinkspace is proud to present Not Forgotten from Alvaro Naddeo in the Project Room opening September 30th. This is Naddeo’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, only months after exhibiting a few works in the Thinkspace Gallery office. A rotating area of the gallery featuring works from new artists to the Thinkspace fold, or returning pieces from group exhibitions across the globe. Naddeo is a self-taught painter whose works explore various urban environments and the objects found in them that have shaped his memory and imagination. Autobiographical in nature, the compositions contain symbolic references to his own nomadic past and his transition through the landscapes of several different cities and countries. We interviewed Alvaro Naddeo for “Discarded” back in March where we deep dived into his creative process, today we explore more of the artist.

SH: You recently showed in our office space in March, and now a solo in the project room, what can we expect from this new body of work?
AN: This new body of work is, in my opinion, an extension and an evolution of what Thinkspace showed at the office space earlier this year. The theme, tone, voice, and medium are the same, but the ideas got pushed further and the exploration was broader. I like this new series a lot more than the previous one (which I like too!). I believe the composition of these paintings is cleaner and the concepts are clearer. I’m very happy with this body of work.

SH: What do you think is the role of the artist in society?
AN: I believe the role of the artist in society is to provoke, question, raise concerns and share thoughts about the society we live in. Most artists are very good at making observations on what’s going on in the world, pass those observations through a personal filter, and then put them back out there by sharing them with society. All of that while celebrating aesthetics.

SH: How do you approach each piece in a new way that challenges you as an artist, and motivates you to push your artistic voice?
AN: Each piece is more challenging than the previous ones because I’m looking for new ways to express a similar thought. I always want the recent pieces to look better and fresher than the previous ones, so that’s another challenge.

My motivation comes from the desire to express myself. I’m a shy person but I do have an opinion and I like to share it with others and since I don’t do it much verbally, I feel motivated to do it through painting. I’m also motivated by the connection that is formed with people who like what I paint. I feel that the group of people that my paintings connect with are really interesting. It seems that they are a very small fraction of the general public, but they are very engaged and intense.

SH: What plays in the background while you’re working on a composition?
AN: I listen to a lot of podcasts from Brazil and the US. Sometimes a little music plays, but mostly podcasts.

SH: Who would you want to collaborate with, dead or alive? The person can be in any area of the arts; film, dance, music etc.
AN: I would love to collaborate with Pixar. I hope John Lasseter has a google alert for every time his name appears somewhere and he receives this interview and checks out my art!

SH: How have you grown as an artist in the last 5 years and how do you hope to grow in the following 5?
AN: The improvement I’ve experienced in the last 5 years as an artist is huge, not necessarily because of where I am now, but mostly because of where I was then. I don’t show almost anyone what I was doing 5 years ago. It was clearly necessary to go through that and to paint those pieces to get where I am now. That’s normal. That’s the journey of most self-taught artists. It takes a while to figure out many things. There is so much to learn in terms of technique, composition, color use, scale, etc. In the next 5 years, I wish to grow, even more, improving my technique, learning to draw better, and also to be able to paint more hours than I do now.

SH: If you had a dinner party, who would be the guest of honor? What would be the menu? And what is the one question you’d ask all your guests?
AN: I would have three guests of honor: Kurt Vonnegut, Julio Cortázar, and Stanley Kubrick. Dinner would be whatever they like and sushi for me. The question would be: How would you like to improve as a person?

SH: Answer the question you would ask all your guests.
AN: I want to be able to always and constantly desire less of everything and to continue being grateful for everything good that happens to me.

Join us for the opening reception of Not Forgotten on September 30th from 6 to 9pm.

ALVARO NADDEO Alvaro Naddeo’s “Not Forgotten” Opens at Thinkspace Gallery September 30th

ALVARO NADDEO
NOT FORGOTTEN
September 30 – October 21, 2017

Concurrently on view in the project room is Not Forgotten, featuring new works by Los Angeles-based Alvaro Naddeo. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Naddeo is a self-taught painter whose work explores all manner of objects drawn from the various urban environments that have shaped his memory and imagination. Autobiographical in nature, the work contains symbolic references to his own nomadic past and his transitions through the landscapes of several different cities and countries.

Much of Naddeo’s work focuses on his societal concern over rampant consumption and waste, as well annexation and poverty, depicting accumulations of objects and detritus drawn from the city. Not Forgotten is Naddeo’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. A 20-year veteran in advertising and art direction, Naddeo has reapplied himself to the creation of his own work after a substantial hiatus. Creating primarily with watercolor on paper, the level of detail he can convey captures the humanity of these inanimate urban remnants with true soul, tinged with a subtle feeling of melancholy and loss.

Interview with So Youn Lee for “Limpid”

Thinkspace is proud to present So Youn Lee’s newest body of work ‘Limpid’ in our project room this Saturday, January 7th. The San Francisco-based artist creates a pastel-colored filled world of whimsy as her character Mango explores Lee’s analys of emotions. In anticipation of her upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with So Youn Lee to discuss her inspiration, Mango’s fruition to being, a day in the studio, and so much more.

Join us at the opening of ‘Limpid’ Saturday, January 7th from 6 to 9 pm. 

SH: What is the inspiration behind your latest body of work?
SYL: Limpid is a body of work inspired by the concept of nostalgia. I was visualizing the emotional perceptions of nostalgia in my paintings. It molds certain moods for the character and color scheme for this body of work. Light green and soft-gelatin like clear textures which reminds me of whimsical time in youth.

SH: Can you explain who Mango is and how Mango came to be?
SYL: Mango is a fruit as you know, and I call my characters ‘Mango’ in my colored works. I got inspired by its color, texture, and taste. When I first started to draw my new character, it looked so weird to me but senselessly cute. It reminds me of my very first encounter with the taste and textures of a Mango. The texture was so foreign but so delicious at the same time.

SH: What is your creative process? Walk us through a day in the studio?
SYL: I have my regular studio time after breakfast Monday to Friday. I go out for inspiration hunting and relax on the weekends. If I have to create new work, I start from sketches on scratch paper to transfer a composition according to the images that I already have in my mind when I think of the concept or subject. It’s like I excavate visual responses from my mind about the subject on a drawing/ painting surface in physical world. When the sketch is done, I transfer it on a painting surface that I love to use whether canvas or panel.

SH: People have described your work as innocent, how do you feel about that description? What does innocence mean to you?
SYL: I consider it as compliment, when I think of the term ‘innocent’ it feels like there’s pure potential to be or to do anything we like to do. So if my work evokes those feelings to the audience, I am happy and I’m glad it gives a positive image and feeling to the audience that sees it.

SH: What is your favorite childhood memory? What aspects of childhood do you think help us to navigate the adult world?
SYL: I use to love spending time in nature by myself as a child, imagining many beautiful and weird things. Those imaginations helped me to become a person to work in a creative field. The freedom that we have had to explore things in our own ways in childhood could influence and mold us as an adult.

SH: How has your artistic style developed over the years?
SYL: I was lucky to have had many shows the past three years, I’ve learned more things about my own desires as an artist. It has affected me to try different mediums and approaches in my paintings.

SH: What do you enjoy doing when not painting?
SYL: Reading, playing with Choco and relaxing when I have a chance.

SH: What do the helmets represent in your work?
SYL: In this show, I don’t have any artwork with a helmet. I paint helmets when figures from two different worlds meet in one space in my paintings. The helmet is a symbol of being open-minded to understand someone or something beyond prejudice and perception or see things from a different perspective.

SH: What excites you about another artist’s work? What makes you a fan and can you share a few people we should look up?
SYL: I admire artists who have very distinctive visions and evoke strong emotional presence in their works. There are so many, and most of them, you must know them already. My all time favorite is Yoshitomo Nara.

SH: How long does one piece take to complete? Do you work on multiple pieces at a time?
SYL: It really depends on the size and medium. Yes, I have a tendency to work on multiple pieces at a time.

SH: Kicking off the year with an exhibition seems like a solid way to start the year, what are a few of your goals for 2017?
SYL: I will continue to do my best to improve myself as an artist and travel more.

Next Up at Thinkspace Gallery : Sean Mahan’s exhibition “Rendered Problematic”

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SEAN MAHAN
Rendered Problematic
October 15 – November 5, 2016

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Rendered Problematic, featuring new works by Sean Mahan. A mixed media painter from Florida, Mahan creates soft and subtle figurative works in graphite and acrylic washes on wood panel. A cultivated nostalgia persists in his paintings, as shadowy images of picturesque and serene children in light pastel and vintage palettes handle records, dated appliances, and classic sewing machines. The wood grain is preserved with a quality of transparency throughout, adding a dimension of warmth and organic variance to the works.

Mahan’s aesthetic conveys a human innocence and captures a strange sweetness, creating a feeling of quietude. His portraits convey an ambiguity of time and place; it’s a world of analog hand making and pre-digital youth, one of childhood simplicity unmarred by adult disillusionment. The consumption, impermanence, and disposable quality of modern culture is far from these idyllic scenes of contemplative pause.

The object figures prominently as both an implement and subject in his imagery, suggesting its primary role in the formation of identity. His works celebrate the outdated and obsolete by representing older technologies, objects, and cultural ideals in an attempt to interrupt the alienating, and dominant, momentums of discard and overuse.

Despite this seemingly idyllic staging in each piece, its stylized omissions point to a more complex set of issues. Mahan is interested in the formation of identity in normative culture, and the reductive imperatives that circumscribe it. Absent are any indications of that prescriptive outside world in his works. The subjects themselves are independent, suspended in an immaterial environment and displaced within the panel in the absence of defined physical space. This spatial ambiguity and sparsity contribute to a feeling of melancholy throughout, as though the images themselves offer an impossible beauty.

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Interview with Ozabu for 彷徨 (Wander)

Ozabu Interview

Next Saturday, Japanese artist Ozabu will be exhibiting her latest body of work at Thinkspace Gallery in the project room. Ozabu’s graphite drawings are highly rendered with subtle line work leaving a weightless ghost on the paper. Our interview with Ozabu for 彷徨 (Wander) is slightly edited to compensate for the language barrier but gives insight into her self-taught discipline and if she drinks coffee or tea.

SH: As a self-taught artist, what motivated you to pursue a life in the arts and what books or techniques did you study to develop your own artistic style?
OZ: My parents are a big influence and introduce me to art. They like drawing and love art, so we’d often go to museums and draw together at the park when I was a child. But as I grew older, I became less interested in drawing. Then about 5 years ago, I suddenly was inspired to try drawing again and realized I did not have the skill to draw as I wish I could. So, I decided to start again from that point on. I’m attracted to the profundity express in graphite and now here I am.

I didn’t use any reference books to learn drawing. I’ve never researched what kind of techniques or tools other artist use. I would just see a piece in person and then analyze it, teaching myself the technique and trying out different tools until I understand how the piece was created myself.

Ozabu Wander 1

SH: What is the inspiration or theme behind this latest body of work?
OZ: I’ve always pulled inspiration from the things that I’ve felt and my experience with a bit of Japanese extract. I experienced the death of an important person in my life around the time I started working on this show. So the pieces in the exhibition include funeral and parting scenes. I felt that the more I drew, that dark place within myself is what was brought up when drawing those pieces.

SH: Many of your pieces involve birds or feathers the elements adding movement and dimension to the work. Are the birds and feathers also symbolic?
OZ: Yes. They possess something that I don’t have. I don’t know why, but they’ve always fascinated me very much.

SH: What are your favorite tools to work with?
OZ: Mechanical pencil and pencil of Staedtler and Pentel

Ozabu Tsuibami

SH: What is a common mistake people make with drawing?
OZ: That they don’t put their emotions into the drawing.

SH: When not working on art, what captures your attention and takes up your time?
OZ: Walking around places full of nature

SH: Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
OZ: coffee, of course!

SH: Who are a few of your favorite artists right now?
OZ: Esao Andrews,Dan Quintana,Ito Jakuchu,James Jean,Jessica Joslin,Katsuya Terada, Kikyz1313, Kent Williams ,Gakkin, Fuyuko Matsui, Vania Zouravliov and more!

SH: Are you left or right handed?
OZ: Left handed but pencil is right

Ozabu Kitsune

The opening reception of Obazu’s 彷徨 (Wander) is Saturday, September 17th from 6pm to 9pm. Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for more information.

Upcoming Exhibition at Thinkspace Gallery – Ozabu’s ‘彷徨 (Wander)’

Ozabu Postcard

Ozabu
彷徨 (Wander)
September 17, 2016 – October 8, 2016

Thinkspace is pleased to present new works by Japanese artist Ozabu in Wander. Her drawings are staggeringly detailed, stylized and yet lifelike, rendered with incredibly subtle line work. Created with minimal media in pencil and graphite on paper, her ghostly hauntings of paper flesh range from the comely to the macabre.

Aesthetically inspired by the visual cultures and mythologies of Japan, Ozabu’s emotive figurative drawings often incorporate animal symbolism and references to the natural world. Preferring to allow the work to speak for itself, Ozabu often avoids comment on her imagery, hoping the viewer will shape personal readings themselves.

Sensual, dark, and at times ominous, the open-ended works reveal moments of a larger narrative and plot beyond the frame. Characters appear with symbolic aegis under the cover of wings, bird’s heads, insects, and lush flora, like woeful apparitions or powerful augurs. Ozabu’s world is a mysteriously beautiful shadow land.

Ozabu New Wors

Ozabu New Works

 

 

 

 

Interview with Troy Lovegates for ‘Tales From The Riverbank’

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Troy Lovegates wanders the world with eyes wide open absorbing his surrounding and soaking in inspiration, his brain firing with ideas faster than he can record them. We’re excited to be showing Lovegates latest body of work ‘Tales from the Riverbank’, opening Saturday, June 25th. Our interview with Lovegates covers the days before the internet, his creative process, and what the life of this artist looks like.

SH: What is the inspiration or narrative behind the latest body of work?
TL: It is hard to say, every little piece in the show is something different i think … trying to express one separate thing. I don’t really have a blanket inspiration or narrative. Consider the body a variation of all the trials and tribulations of the last 6 months.

Troy Lovegates Tales from the Riverbank

SHWhat does being an artist mean to you?
TL: Here in San Francisco it is very strange to be an artist. I work on an odd schedule comparatively to the 9-5ers, most of my days are searching for frames and wood and wandering. Looking for references and ideas out on the streets to incorporate into my work. To me wandering is a huge part of being an artist, just getting on the train to a different part of the bay area and wandering up mountains and thinking alot. I find that all the parks and hills and lakes and streets are dead in the day everyone is on a hard grind here to afford SF, so i experience a weird quiet shell of a city . Then i usually work all night, I don’t know i guess being an artist to me is thinking way-way too much.

SH: What is your favorite and least favorite aspects of being an artist?
TL:  (favorite) Painting murals on the street is amazing because you meet people and they want to know what you are up to and engage with you and give you feed back …. painting in the studio can be a really lonely experience

Travelling for exhibitions and murals … new places … really the most inspiring thing is a fresh view and new faces and energy

I can and have moved anywhere as my work can be created wherever.  It is not dependent on one-time zone or one office or city; therefore I have lived in Toronto, Montreal,Vancouver, Victoria, Berlin, Taipei, Buenos Aires and now San Francisco

(least favorite) Getting the funding to make the work you really want to be making. I find it hard to truly 100% concentrate on what I want to be doing as an artist because shit like rent, food and the money you need to make get in the way.

I spend so much time applying for grants and sketching proposals trying to get big projects on the go and 95% of the time it never comes to be. Actually, some of the drawings in this show are rejected murals.

Troy Lovegates Tales from the Riverbank

SH: You have a lot of fun with patterns and color in your work? Do you map out how it will be first or just let it flow?
TL: In the last years a lot of my color drawings are like those ink splotch cards that you see in movies, look at this one what do you see? An axe murderer! And this one? A butterfly. I just splootch down some paint and fill in what I see in the various shapes; a lot of them come out just terrible so I leave them on the streets or on the train or wherever. Most of the time when I am doing patterns I just wing it, no outline no color palette, I like things looking off … while i admire the work of people such as say the Low Bros and their ability for perfection i am just way to messy and impatient to focus the way they do …

SH: What is your creative process?
TL: Oh man it is the dance of procrastination. I am the unfocused artist fighting to get something finished. I will have like 5 paintings or drawings on the go at once and be eating and texting and watching a movie and battling someone at scrabble, then take the dog for a walk, then back to painting and listening to a podcast and doing the laundry and scrolling Instagram. I really need a cabin in the woods to escape all the city out there dragging me away from my work

Troy Lovegates Tales from the Riverbank

SH: How do you work through creative blocks and self-doubt?
TL: I have the opposite of a creative block I have too many ideas. Really, I am always thinking down the line to the next thing I want to do and I get really excited. I need to calm down and put in the work on my current painting before I can move on.

Self-doubt is a motivator for me. Nothing is ever good enough, and that propels me to do better or just do more and more until I get it right. But I never get it right and that is what keeps me on and on.

SH: What drew you to painting on trains? Do you have a good story to share from the yards?
TL: Way back in the early 1990s before smart phones and high speed internet, graffiti artists used to trade photos with each other through the mail. Someone gave me one address and when I wrote them they sent me more addresses in the package. Also in these letters would be photos of local graffiti, stickers and sketches of lettering etc. The names and dates of the artist would be written on the backs of the photos. I wasn’t really into painting trains at that time but had done a couple with some friends on nights we couldn’t find good walls. Anyways, this one friend of mine got a package from some writer in San Diego and it had a photo of one of my trains that I had painted in Toronto that he had photographed in Mexico. That was three time zones away and a 24 hour drive south in a country that at that point I had never set foot in. After that I almost only painted trains, the North American train system was like a giant bulky internet sending random messages out to who the hell knows where.

 

Troy Lovegates Tales from the Riverbank

SH: Today it’s more common for street artists to be exhibited in galleries, but when you started there was still a push back. What was that transition like for you? How did you figure out how to translate what you were doing outside to indoors?
TL: I started scribbling on walls way back in 1988-89 it must be so different for a person starting today. People intentionally do street art now as a way to break into the gallery world or mural world. I never imagined I would have turned into an artist from skateboarding around and drawing on walls and trains. These days I try less and less to associate the two things together at all; art outside and art inside are two completely different beings. One is clandestine and quick and fleeting a lot of it is not documented and probably nobody even sees it or if they do, really cares. The other is super detailed and thought out and planned in a safe peaceful environment listening to music and relaxing for an intentional audience.

SH: What would be a perfect day in SF be like for you?
TL: Get up early take the train out to some random mountain, hike with the dog for a few hours perhaps find a train line or a random spot to draw on a bit. Come back down into the city and check some thrift stores on the way back to the train. Then meet up with the wife on the train back home and have dinner and work late into the night, possibly another night time adventure with the puppy. Maybe a beer up in the hills as the fog rolls in or a long bike ride somewhere? swimming? beach walk… San Francisco to me is all about the nature surrounding the city. There are so many different perfect days to have out there!

SH: Congratulations, you get to throw the most epic dinner party for 5 people dead or alive! (Loved ones get an automatic in) Who is on the guest list? What’s on the menu? And what would be your ice breaker question?
TL: Gosh, I think i would like to have dinner with New Order and Richard D James. Actually, I think I would like to get pissed with them. I think we would all forgo dinner as to let the alcohol go right to our heads. Just a night out on the town or something. I think my icebreaker would be wanting to know what music they are listening to these days and what are their favorite bands and groups of all time. Maybe they have some hidden gems that I know nothing about … ( i really need some new music)

Troy Lovegates

Join us this Saturday, June 25th from 6-9pm for the opening of ‘Tales from the Riverbank’ in the Thinkspace Gallery project room. For more information on Troy Lovegates, please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.