Interview with Rodrigo Luff for Upcoming Exhibition “Nemeta”

interview with Luff

Coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s project room February 27th is new work from artist Rodrigo Luff in his latest exhibition, Nemeta. Luff works with color pencil, pastel, graphite, oil, and acrylic, and has honed his illustrative skills alongside his facility with painting media. His works are both linear and painterly, realistic and expressionistic. He explores a feeling of the otherworldly by capturing his subjects in trance-like dream states, suspended mysteriously in fairytale atmospheres. His nudes are often surrounded by kindly owls or other iridescent woodland creatures, and staged in forests or haunted woods.

Sour Harvest’s interview with Rodrigo Luff covers the inspiration behind “Nemeta”, a day in the studio, and who he’d invite to a dinner party among other fun questions.

Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the upcoming exhibition? How long have you be preparing for the show?
I’m interested in the way we have always sought a connection to the natural world, and how that liminal, mysterious and wild realm reflects those uncharted dimensions within our psyche.
I’ve been working on this show on and off since mid 2014, so it’s been a long journey.

Who are your artistic influences and a few artists you think people should know about?
My biggest influences are Alphonse Mucha, John W. Waterhouse, John S. Sargent, Moebius, Luis Falero, Hayao Miyazaki and Herbert Draper.
I recommend folks check out Luis Falero and Herbert Draper for a beautiful blend of realism and mythological fantasy. I also *highly* recommend “Cannabis Works” by Tatsuyuki Tanaka.

Guardian Rodrigo Luff

You really experiment with pigment mediums and layering to create a desired effect in your work, can you elaborate on a time an experiment failed and another when it was successful?
Yeah this one time I was layering acrylic washes and pencil rendering and it just got too heavy and dark, and the more I tried to lighten it, the more the paper got ruined and completely messed up.

A few years ago, I experimented with blending water, GAC 100 medium, acrylic, iridescent media and crushed oil pastel. I slowly and carefully built up the colour layers and I was surprised at how well it all came together, despite never having tried such a combination or knowing what the hell I was doing!

How did you develop your own artistic voice and visual style, when did it click?
I developed my visual style through blending all the different styles of art I like together, along with my own experiences and ideas. It really clicked one night when I was listening intently to music and realising that all these different sounds and instruments can be harmonised through a song structure. I tried to implement the same concept in my art through the drawing “Owl Song” in ‘12 by working hard to harmonise all my influences, colours, mediums, imagery and style together into one cohesive picture.

Nemetona Rodrigo Luff

Most artists showed or have expressed creativity throughout their life, but committing to the path of a professional artist is a different story; when did you decide you wanted to be an artist and what does being an artist mean to you?
After I finished High School in ‘05, I graduated in the top 0.6% of the state with near perfect final marks. However, I had also won a full-time scholarship to go to the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney earlier that year. I knew I couldn’t do both, so I decided to really commit myself to the artist’s path, despite the pressure to go the academic route through University. To me personally, being an artist means making this commitment every day, to seek learning and improvement and to justify that choice I made after High School.

What does a day in the studio look like?
I get up at around 6-7 am, and get the train to the studio. I’ll check emails and respond on the train so I can paint as soon as I arrive at around 8 am. Strong coffee fires up my neural synapses and I try to get my most concentrated work done in the morning, despite usually posting social media updates and seeing what’s happening in the world.
I usually take a short break for lunch, and then paint as much as possible until around 9 pm. On the way home, I read a book on the train, and think about how many mistakes I made painting, feeling determined to do better the next day. I usually get home around 10-11 pm and finish any emails.

Neon Grove Rodrigo Luff

Your work is steeped in a fantasy ethereal world and could easily be the backdrop to a video game; if you were to create your own video game based on your art what would be the backstory of the protagonist and what’s their mission?
It would be a mix of Miyazaki, Avatar, Greek Mythology and dark European Fairytales. An explorer gets lost in the forest, follows mysterious green lights into a liminal realm full of neon owls that possess some kind of alien intelligence, guided by a beautiful oracle. On the other side of the portal, in the underworld, the explorer communes with the soul of the forest, an ancient tree that has been poisoned by those mining resources of the woods for profit. The explorer must undergo several trials and tribulations to find a way to save the dying forest without succumbing to the same dubious morals as those who poisoned the sacred realm.

Best advice you’ve ever received as an artist? What advice would you give someone who looked up to you?
To work hard, long hours and always try to learn and do better with each artwork. I’d pass that on to anyone who asked, it’s simple but true.

Radiant Rodrigo Luff

Your last show with us was 3 years ago, what changes have you and your work experienced?
I’ve tried to keep the same surreal blend of realism and fantasy with owls, but enrich the vision with more detailed backgrounds, more ambitious compositional choices and fresh colour schemes.

If you were to throw a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive; who would be on the guest list, what’s on the menu, and what would be the icebreaker question?
David Bowie, Hunter S. Thompson, Caravaggio, George R. R. Martin, Jimi Hendrix, Salvador Dali and Terence McKenna. I’d say a big southern BBQ style menu would be amazing, with lots of booze. Who needs an icebreaker with Hunter to get the party started?!!

Nemeta II Rodrigo Luff

The opening reception for “Nemeta” is Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm and the show is on view till March 19th. For additional information on the exhibit please visit Thinkspace Gallery’s website; if you’d like to receive a preview of the show make sure to sign up for the Thinkspace Gallery mailing list.

Next up in our Project Room – “Nemeta” featuring new works by Rodrigo Luff

Rod Luff_ Nemeta

Thinkspace is pleased to present Nemeta, featuring new works by Rodrigo Luff in the project room. Originally born in San Salvador, El Salvador and now based in Sydney, Australia, Luff creates ethereal figurative works of women and nudes in beautiful dreamlike settings. Inspired by Art Nouveau and turn of the century illustration, his works are ornate and lush, replete with elaborate references to the natural world.

Working in color pencil, pastel, graphite, oil, and acrylic, Luff has honed his illustrative skills alongside his facility with painting media. His works are both linear and painterly, realistic and expressionistic. He explores a feeling of the otherworldly by capturing his subjects in trance-like dream states, suspended mysteriously in fairytale atmospheres. His nudes are often surrounded by kindly owls or other iridescent woodland creatures, and staged in forests or haunted woods.

Luff’s palette is vibrant and his sense of light luminous. At times, his greens and yellows border on neon to exaggerate and deepen visual intensities. The contrasts in Luff’s work are dramatic and theatrical, and recall some aesthetic conventions of the Romantic period. Using chiaroscuro effects, and traditional figurative techniques, Luff creates a world that is simultaneously technical and surreal.

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Saturday, February 27, 2016
6:00 – 9:00pm

Opening Night of Christine Wu’s “Sleepless” & Linnea Strid’s “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

New York-based artist Christine Wu and Swedish painter Linnea Strid packed Thinkspace Gallery on opening night, January 23, for their exhibitions “Sleepless” and “Love Me When I’m Gone”.  The gallery’s main room showing Christine Wu exhibits new work and includes a hanging installation of broken dishes; symbolic of the frustration, satisfaction, and swift remorse gained from such a spontaneous action.

Linnea Strid’s new body of work in Thinkspace Gallery’s project room is a collection of artists who sent in their images submerged or drenched in water for Linnea to paint. A collaborative effort as Linnea did not direct the artists in how to take their photo, many of the artist she worked with on the pieces showed up for the opening. You can read more about her inspiration for the show in our interview with the artist.

Both exhibitions will be on view till February 20th, please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for additional details.

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception


Aaron Nagel in Thinkspace Office

Aaron Nagel’s work is concurrently on view in the Thinkspace office. He was surprised to have come to the show for Linnea and Christine, and find he had his own mini-exhibit in our office. You can view additional photos from the night on our Flickr account and Facebook page.

PRESS + Additional Photos

Arrested Motion: Linnea Strid – “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Linnea Strid’s “Love Me When I’m Gone” exhibition coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s Project Room

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Love Me When I’m Gone, featuring new works by Swedish painter Linnea Strid. Known for her emotive, hyperrealistic paintings, Strid captures minute details with surreal precision, creating a world that feels uncannily amplified.

In this new series of works, Strid continues to explore imagery with water. Expert at capturing its reflective movement and depth, her paintings are filled with refracted light and distortions. Her subjects are presented in varying states of submersion and vulnerability, as her watery portraits take on a meditative dimension. Suspended somewhere between an unsettling and eerie calm and a foreboding anticipation, Strid arrests time.

In this series, Strid celebrates, and sensitively portrays, the artist’s struggle with anonymity, under-recognition and self-exposure, and the passion that nullifies the rational avoidance of this price, in a tribute to friends and artist peers. Recognizing that the work of many artists evades validation and economic success in their lifetime, the exhibition title expresses the delayed validation and expected sacrifice that comes with dedicating one’s life to art.

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Work in progress from Linnea Strid’s exhibition “Love Me When I’m Gone” 

Coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s Project Room in January, Linnea Strid “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Swedish artist Linnea Strid’s new solo exhibition ‘Love Me When I’m Gone’ opens January 23 in Thinkspace Gallery’s project room.  Here are few work in progress shots of the pieces that will be on view. Please join us at the opening reception, January 23 from 6 – 9pm.

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Interview with Joanne Nam for “Hiatus”

Joanne Nam Hiatus

We (SH) interviewed Joanne Nam (JN) for her upcoming solo exhibition HIATUS on view in Thinkspace’s project room this October. Please join us during the opening reception this Saturday, October 10th from 6-9pm.

SH: What is your inspiration behind the work in your upcoming exhibition? Are there specific themes you were exploring?
JN: The paintings I prepared for the show represents my unconscious emotions that I would feel uncomfortable to show to the public. Personally, art has been a sort of a constant observation to the world outside and myself. I wanted to focus on the deep inside of my mind more than before and how it changes over time and situations. These emotions don’t appear on a person’s face easily, but it always shows in the air. That’s why I titled the exhibition Hiatus.

SH: It seems there has been a shift in your color palate from very light colors and highly render backgrounds that communicated a sense of frailty to a bolder palate and a looser background that is more defiant, does this shift in style reflect a shift in you as an artist as well?
JN: I spent lots of days this year thinking about my art and its direction. “Does my art represent myself?” has always been a big main question that I asked to myself constantly. The reason of the question was because of my painting’s identity. For this show Hiatus, I wanted to let things flow, and decided to represent a bit of my strong and unstable emotions such as fear, anger, and disappointment. Which was a new thing for me because I don’t really feel these emotions often from my usual days. I sometimes even had to make myself angry intentionally, just to hit the canvas with a brush in a right motion. Making myself angry was actually quite hard. I was surprised that I didn’t know how to do that at first. Also, it was interesting to watch how my mood changed the air around me. I wanted to focus on that more than anything. I wanted to focus on things that I cannot see but definitely exist.

Joanne Nam Red

SH: What is your favorite horror movie?
JN: A movie I can think of right now and want to watch again soon is an old Korean horror movie called Ol-Ga-Mi. The film was made in 1997 and it is about a crazy obsession of a mother. In the movie, a gorgeous looking single mother raises her son and they are happy together until her son gets married. When the mother’s ugly obsessions over her son goes out of a boundary, she numerously tries to kill her daughter in law because the mother thinks that her daughter in law is stealing her son away. It is a great movie that has illustrated the crooked emotions very well. I think complicated human minds are scarier than unknown phenomena.

SH: If you had a day with yourself as a child, what would you tell her and what would you two do together?
JN: If I had a day with myself as a child… I want to tell her I’ll live a very very interesting life with a very very confused mind. There wouldn’t be much to do together. When I was living in a forest, what I did was climbing up to the mountain, feeding fish at ponds, and collecting wild berries and vegetables to play and to eat. My grandma taught me what to collect in the forest. I used to like being outside. Nowadays, I realized I had a pretty funny childhood. I didn’t know it until I became an artist.

One thing I just remembered is that there was a sweet potato field that I made for my school project when I was in elementary school. After my 32 classmates came over and planted their own sweet potato vines in the field, somehow I was responsible to take care of them. It was hard work to a child, but I couldn’t stop working at the field because everyone asked me how’s their sweet potatoes doing every morning I went to school. I think I would help myself to stop being obsessed with the field and let the potatoes go because they died soon anyway.

Joanne Nam Lost Drawing

SH: What do you listen to while you’re painting?
JN: I listen to classic music, opera, and some sound effects that made for horror movies. Sometimes, I play random movies or documentaries next to my easel and listen. I love documentaries about nature, serial killers, anatomy, and healthy eating.

SH: Based on past interviews, you seem to be very acutely attuned to your emotions, either pulling them from the past or capturing them in a little bubble to be used for inspiration for your work, does using your emotions as inspiration for your pieces help you process them?
JN: If my emotions change too much when I work, I can’t concentrate. I would rather go to sleep without doing anything to my painting. One thing I realized throughout out my artist career is that my mood somehow shows up in my painting. If my emotion changes too much, my works would be looking like they have no subject and unplanned. Which I think it might be interesting to see, but I wouldn’t like that yet.

SH: Do you have a favorite plant or flower?
JN: I don’t have any specific plant I liked because I usually love all the plants and find them very interesting. I even love dried, dead, and rotten plants on a random street. However, I don’t really like bright shiny tasteful looking flowers because, personally, I feel like they are lying to me to get my attention. They crave for my love and I really hate that kind of attitude. Their bright colors yell at me and it hurts my eyes. I also hate their fragrances. I know those fancy flowers are also from nature just like wildflowers but they still feel so intentional and fake. I always want to tell those flowers to leave me alone.

Joanne Nam Paranoia

SH: Are any of the subjects in your work informed by you or, in a way, represent anyone you know?
JN: The people I painted are basically nobody to me. I don’t want to make them look like someone, but I want to make my audiences feel like they’ve met my characters sometimes at somewhere in their life before. I use myself or my friends as models to inform myself about a certain forms and shadows, but I characterize or even simplify figures too. My work never looks like my reference photos but somehow they are. I like to stay in between reality and surreality.

SH: If you were to throw a dinner party for a few people who inspired you the most, who would you invite, what would be on the menu, and what is one question you would ask them all?
JN: Lucien Freud is one of my all-time favorite artists. If he actually decides to show up to my dinner party… I wouldn’t be able to think of anything else when I see his face in front of my door. I would laugh and black out and then happily die knowing that I breathed the same air with him in a very same room…… Then he could grill my flesh after I’m gone.


Interview with Carl Cashman for ‘An Edited Version of Life’

Carl Cashman I

We (SH) interviewed UK artist Carl Cahsman (CC) for his upcoming project room exhibition “An Edited Version of Life” at Thinkspace Gallery. Unfortunately, Cahsman will not be in attendance at the opening this Saturday, August 15. Yet, make yourself a cup of tea and plate a few biscuts while you read over our quick chat with the artists on the rise.

SH: What is the inspiration behind “An Edited Version of Life”
CC: I see my work as a biography, documenting moments in my life. My previous show ‘good things comes to those that paint’ marked the point of falling in love with ‘the one’ sadly that lasted about as long as the show.. which is reflected in some of the titles in this body of work.

SH: Do you ever ‘unplug’ (outside of going to bed) and step away from the internet and cell phone etc.
CC: I’m pretty bad at that, I was pretty lost for a while in terms of where my life was going.. I feel like I have to make up for lost time so stepping away from painting is something I struggle with. I’m off to Australia in September for 6 weeks to see my oldest and best mate, that will probably be my first real break in 5 years.

Carl Cashman II

SH: There seems to be a fine line between a graphic designer and an artist, do you think there is a difference between the two?
CC: I’m not sure there really is much difference, especially now days which you see people making a great career from prints with things like movie related artwork.

SH: What is your creative process? What do you do when you feel stuck or uninspired?
CC: I only work from a sketch book, im not really into designing on a computer.. my thoughts are that if I cant realise a concept with just my brain and a pencil then its not for me. Im probably holding myself back to a certain extent, but in doing so I’mm improving my draughtsmanship which is obviously a skill in its ownright. If I get a block, I tend to consume gin with one of my mates that live close by… 1 or 9 gins later the ideas usually start to flow

Carl Cashman III

SH: If money were no object, what would be your dream project?
CC: I really want to get into installations, the closest I get to that atm is helping out at festivals such as Glastonbury. Luckily someone else has a budget for that, I just have to help spend it

SH: When did you decided you were going to make “artist” your full-time occupation?
CC: Id never considered that being an Artist full time was an option, but after helping out at the first moniker event in 2010 I decided to give it a go. Ive never really had the normal 9-5 mindset so im quite lucky it kinda fell in my lap. Sven Davis gave me my first break in terms of a career in Art potentially being an option.

SH: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice would you give an artist who looks up you?
CC: Ive never received advice as such, but coming at this as a collector.. having my Art heroes such as josh keyes and mark dean veca being genuinely interested in what I do was mind blowing. My first ‘proper’ show was over in Portland Oregon, where I met them both. I was running around collecting autographs, while my work was hanging next to some of the biggest names in the scene.. the whole experience was pretty surreal. The only advice I can offer is to keep making Art and oushing yourself, with social media opening up the world.. you never know who s watching or where that break will come from.

Carl Cashman VI

SH: What were you listening to while creating this latest body of work?
CC: I listen to a lot of boiler room sets and the joe rogan podcasts, they are both quite long which helps me switch off.. a normal bands album tends to be around a hour which makes me more conscious of how long ive been working.

SH: Do you have a favorite brush or brand of paint you use?
CC: I mainly use fluro based system 3 acrylics, I keep trying to convert to liquitex but keep switching back to the more basic paint

Carl Cashman V

Please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for more details on Carl Cashman’s “An Edited Version of Life”