“DUO” Interview with Jana and JS

Jana and JS Banner

A duo working out of Austria, Jana is from Salzburg, and JS is from France, near Paris. A couple, their work is stencil based, incredibly precise, and inspired primarily by their personal photographic work. Interested in combining the figurative with architecture, their outdoor pieces are primarily found in major European urban centers and tend to vary in scale. They work with a variety of media to create detailed stencils, using acrylic, ink, pencil, and spray paint on architecture, wood, glass, metal, canvas or paper. Creating these interventions in a variety of contexts, they have been known to use everything from trees in forests and railway tracks – to all manner of found materials. Often portraying people in pairs, their work is about intimacy and human connection, capturing a sense of vulnerability in the passing of time.

Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos. The following is an exclusive Sour Harvest interview with Jana and JS. 

How did you two first meet and decide to collaborate together?
We met in Madrid in 2004. We were both spending a year in Spain and at some point we happened to live in the same apartment. Around this time, Js discovered the stencil technics by seeing many in the street of Madrid. When Js later came back to Paris he discovered more about the street art and stencil scene in Paris. He met Artiste-ouvrier who shared with him his unique technic and founded the WCA collective. Back in Austria, Jana also started to cut some stencils on her own.

We started to work together when Jana came to live in Paris. That is when we started to develop our actual work, inspired by our photographs, interest in urban architecture and portrait.

JS in Studio

What inspires you or where do you find inspiration?
We find our inspiration in our everyday life, our personal story, our travels, places we are exploring,…

Jana and JS street art

How do you two work through conflict when creating a cohesive vision?
Sometimes we don’t have the same idea or the same vision, but we are trying to slowly build something together. Conflict is often a part of our creative process. We think of it as something positive and the best way for us to work through it is to trust each other.

Jana WIP studio

What is your process for collaborating, does one artist do XYZ and the other ABC? Please elaborate.
At the beginning, we did not have any exact division in our collaboration; from deciding what image to use till the realisation of the painting – we were always working together. Things changed after having two children together and we started to divide our working process a little bit more. Nevertheless, there are some parts of the process we want to do together, for instance looking for new ideas, taking photos and cutting the stencils. The execution of the artwork happens in more separate ways, Jana is more into painting with brushes and acrylics, js with spray cans.

jana and js field work

Do you remember your first wall? Or have a good story to share of when you were doing a mural together…
Yes, we remember. Our first wall was in Paris. It showed the portrait of a photographer with an old industrial building from Paris we were fascinated by. It was in the street where we were living at that time. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but we were really excited about painting something together!

Jana and JS muralist

If you could live in a movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or a specific character?
We’ve recently watched “Only Lovers Left Alive” by Jim Jarmusch and we really loved it. We loved the ambiance, the decor, the symbolism.

Anything else you would like to share? Next big project?
We are very excited to show more of our work in the US, in Los Angeles, with Thinkspace Gallery and in April in Chicago at Vertical Gallery. We are also so happy to have our first solo show in London coming up this year!!

Jana and JS wall art

View new works from the duo Jana and JS during our opening reception for “DUO” Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm. 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.

“DUO” Interview with Nevercrew

duo interview nevercrew

Nevercrew is Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni, Swiss artists based in Ticino, Switzerland. Interested in the tension and back and forth of being a collaborative duo, tangential relationships are very much a part of their aesthetic and process. Interested in systems and the inner working of living things, they create pseudo “machines” or “living structures,” to explore the systemic and conceptual interactions among individual parts. The works combine fantastic pairings of realistic animals and fictional mechanical systems to create a surreal universe of weirdly bionic hybrids. At the heart of these colorful, large-scale murals is a concern for the increasingly tenuous relationship between man and nature. Mixing realistic painting styles with stencils and phenomenal graphics, their works, though seemingly playful, are thought provoking metaphors for social and political relationships.

Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos. The following is an exclusive Sour Harvest interview with Nevercrew. 

How did you two first meet and decide to collaborate together?
We met at the art school, when we were 15 & 16 years old. We used to have similar tastes in many fields and a way of thinking on the creative side. We both used to like to build things and so we started to work together for school projects, doing videos, set models, comics and other things. In that period (the ’90) the hip-hop culture was really important in our region, south of Switzerland, and the idea of graffiti was around us. So in 1996 we realized our first painting together.

Nevercrew New Delhi

What inspires you or where do you find inspiration?
In years we’re carrying on a continuous discussion between us, and this is part of our lives and touch everything that’s around us. In this way we’re inspired by everything we do and we see, but we focus especially on the idea itself of relationship and comparison. So it’s something related to the connection between everything, between mankind and nature, it’s connected to society and politics, but also very connected to emotions.

Nevercrew Urban Canvas Mural

nevercrew urban canvas mural

How do you two work through conflict when creating a cohesive vision?
We’re used to discussing everything together and there’s no need to have aggressive conflicts about what we do. We’re always working on a way to create with two heads and to connect our ideas instead of letting one win over the other. We usually try to understand each other part and vision, talking a lot and explaining, if this does not happen automatically.

Nevercrew Colosseo Torino

Nevercrew Colosseo Torino

What is your process for collaborating, does one artist do XYZ and the other ABC? Please elaborate.
There’s not a specific partition in our work. We could say that we’re interchangeable. We start with a long exchange of ideas and then we just decide together how to realize them. Of course for practical reasons sometimes we have to decide who does what, but this depends more on the specific needs of the moment and not by preassigned tasks. Occasionally we have to divide the work into two parts, but over the years as we’ve worked together and merged our visions and techniques, these parts would be in a way equally realized by both of us.

Nevercrew Miami

Nevercrew Miami

Do you remember your first wall? Or have a good story to share from when you were doing a mural together…
Yes, of course, we remember our first wall. We probably remember all the walls we did and if not we for sure have the pictures!
Since it was our first time with spray paint we did something indoor, very ambitious and detailed, with many colors, subjects and trees in the background. We took our Sparvar cans and we barricade ourselves inside for two days, working something like 12 hours per day without stop… and without masks. We probably each lost 20 years off our life for what we breathed in during that situation, but it was very funny, inspiring and satisfying and it told us to continue. After that, each wall we did was a new experience. Working on the streets has always been intense for many reasons and it’s still like that now.

Nevercrew New Dehli

If you could live in a movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or a specific character?
Interesting question, it’s something that we don’t consider lately, but it make us think about childhood dreams: when we were really young we probably wanted to be inside movies like “Explorers” (Joe Dante, 1985), where a group of young kids discovered (from a strange collective dream) how to build a spaceship with their own skills and parent’s basement stuff. So we think that in the same way today we wouldn’t desire to become someone else, but more to have the opportunity and the means to realize everything that could appear in our minds, to discover something that’s still hidden. Nowadays it would sound a little bit as the architects in “Inception” (Christopher Nolan, 2010), but more hand-crafted.

Nevercrew Rochester NY

Nevercrew Rochester NY

View new works from the duo Nevercrew during our opening reception for “DUO” Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm. 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.

“DUO” Interview with Telmo Miel

duo telmo miel banner

Telmo Miel are muralist and image-making duo from the Netherlands, Telmo Miel is Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann. They have worked together since meeting at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2007, officially becoming Telmo Miel in 2012. Their murals are both surreal and realistically rendered, with a tremendous amount of detail and vibrant color. Able to work fairly seamlessly, their styles have combined to such an extent that they’re able to execute multiple areas in tandem, exchanging places and completing each other’s work. They often execute their pieces on a monumental scale, creating huge architecturally sized spray-paint paintings on building façades. Combining multiple elements in a single composition, they layer references to the human and animal worlds to create complex creatures and fantastic scenarios. With positivity, humor and a touch of the romantic, their work is arresting and epic.

Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos. The following is an exclusive Sour Harvest interview with duo, Telmo Miel. 

How did you two first meet and decide to collaborate together?
We met each other on the first day of the academy in Rotterdam in 2006. Both being kind of quiet guys, we found each other quite fast and got to talking about art and painting. I (Miel) was painting graffiti for a couple of years before the academy and suggested Telmo to paint a wall together to see if it would work. We painted a first collaborative mural in Amersfoort (Holland) and from that point forward we started working together on almost every wall, growing more in tune with each other each passing year.

mural telmo miel

What inspires you or where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in fighting the idea of being alive without a certain purpose. If I don’t paint, I don’t feel like I’m alive. Painting makes the mind escape into process and gives it the opportunity to evolve. Without practice nothing evolves, so the need to paint never stops.

Thematically we choose to work with subjects like children, who represent a certain innocence and playful view on their new world; which is also something we as painters we try to maintain in creating.

But we never stick to just one subject or theme, as we find beauty in almost every aspect of the world, within reality and the surreal.

telmo miel wip

How do you two work through conflict when creating a cohesive vision?
Exactly like that, we work through it. Working in duo form only functions if the egos aren’t too big and if you can explain your personal vision well enough to the other artist/partner. I think Telmo and myself have that aspect almost down to perfection. We can have big discussions on why something works or doesn’t, why something is good or isn’t. But in the end, it’s about making a choice at that moment in time, believing in that choice and both being happy with that choice. If it doesn’t work in the end, there’s always the next one.

telmo miel mural II

What is your process for collaborating, does one artist do xyz and the other abc? Please elaborate.
We are both able to work on every part of every piece. On murals we will switch places a bunch of times and then switch back if we want to. We’ve been working together almost 10 years now and our styles and technique have come together a lot. Though this doesn’t take away from the fact that we still have our own flavor and opinion. We have room for that freedom of thinking and developed a multi-layered style that allows us to work together on one piece, but still are able to put in our own individual vision in one of the two layers that makes up our final piece. Sometimes we use this in the form that I explained, sometimes we use it to our individual advantage in painting canvases. As a lot of the canvases we do are individual pieces.

telmo miel studio

Do you remember your first wall? Or have a good story to share from when you were doing a mural together…
The first wall was the one in Amersfoort I spoke of before. We went to the free wall spot near the tracks and started on a grey/red graffiti wall with characters and styles. It was a great first test and a lot of fun. But a good story… ehhh Telmo?

A wall that we will never forget for sure is the one we did in Loose Creek, Missouri for the Robertson’s Family. Most walls we did were in cities, but we ended up painting a barn in the middle of nowhere. A great quiet scenery with the smell of wet grass and turkey poop.

Painting a mural was a bizarre thing to do there, so everybody had to come by and have a peek. After a few days we met them all; cops, pastor, local newspapers, school kids, teachers, neighbours, the family of the neighbours. And don’t forget the Robertson’s with just 14 grandchildren!

telmo miel mural

If you could live in a movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or a specific character? 
Miel: I would be a zookeeper at Jurassic Park for sure, can’t say otherwise.
Telmo: STAR WARS for sure! I still would be doing murals in the streets but in a galaxy far, far away…

telmo miel canvas

Anything else you would like to share? Next big project?
We’ve got a couple of things on schedule, like painting a whole subway station in Norway in April. Some very cool mural festivals in Ukraine, France and one really nice wall in Portugal that we will paint with our friend and graffiti artist Pariz. Besides the murals we’ll be spending a bunch of time in the studio working on new paintings and concepts for upcoming exhibitions.

Telmo Miel Studio WIP

View new works from the duo Telmo Miel during our opening reception for “DUO” Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm. 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.

telmo miel duo wip

Next up in our Main Room – ‘Duo’, a group exhibition presented in collaboration with Urban Nation

Duo Press Ad

Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos: Best/Ever, Cyrcle, Jana & JS, Nevercrew, Snik, Telmo Miel, and Yok & Sheryo. These monikers are recognized the world over as belonging to some of the very best Muralists in the contemporary art scene. Each namesake represents a pair working collaboratively to create inspired, site-specific works across a variety of styles and techniques. The artists will be represented in DUO by two to four new works each, and the exhibition will also feature a site- specific gallery installation and mural by Brooklyn’s Yok & Sheryo.

Best/Ever
A duo hailing from Dorset England, Best/Ever is Neil Edwards and Hadley Newman. Their mural style combines elements of photorealistic painting, anatomical drawing, and loose painterly improvisation. Known for its darker and more disturbing portrayals of the human form, their work pairs anatomy with decisive graphic lines and abstracted areas. They often combine figurative and representational elements to create surreal composites; bodies and bones overlap and faces seem to merge. With an emphasis on hands and face, their work strives to capture the emotive and expressive potential of the body in a variety of psychological states, dissecting it formally to an almost surgical extent. Using a stark palette of muted grays, ashen whites, and dark contrasts, their evocative works are ghostly and at times melancholic.

Cyrcle
Cyrcle is an LA-based duo made up of David Leavitt (Davey Detail) and David Torres (Rabi). Their collaboration is driven by an irreverent and inexhaustible injunction to tirelessly live and breathe art, in defiance of death and above all else. With an interest in the exploration of the human condition, its duality, and the entropy and chaos that inevitably inform creativity, their projects are varied and at times interactive. They strive to avoid reductive categorization, and work across a variety of media and creative platforms. They have created site-specific murals and street installations, like their huge 11,000 square foot mural “Magic is Real” in Echo Park, but they also take their work to the gallery space, creating installation, performance, and object based projects. Their aesthetic encompasses graphic design, art history, classics and futurism to blur the proscriptive lines of what art can be.

Jana & JS
A duo working out of Austria, Jana is from Salzburg, and JS is from France, near Paris. A couple, their work is stencil based, incredibly precise, and inspired primarily by their personal photographic work. Interested in combining the figurative with architecture, their outdoor pieces are primarily found in major European urban centers and tend to vary in scale. They work with a variety of media to create detailed stencils, using acrylic, ink, pencil, and spray paint on architecture, wood, glass, metal, canvas or paper. Creating these interventions in a variety of contexts, they have been known to use everything from trees in forests and railway tracks, to all manner of found materials. Often portraying people in pairs, their work is about intimacy and human connection, capturing a sense of vulnerability in the passing of time.

Nevercrew
Nevercrew is Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni, Swiss artists based in Ticino, Switzerland. Interested in the tension and back and forth of being a collaborative duo, tangential relationships are very much a part of their aesthetic and process. Interested in systems and the inner working of living things, they create pseudo “machines” or “living structures,” to explore the systemic and conceptual interactions among individual parts. The works combine fantastic pairings of realistic animals and fictional mechanical systems to create a surreal universe of weirdly bionic hybrids. At the heart of these colorful, large scale murals is a concern for the increasingly tenuous relationship between man and nature. Mixing realistic painting styles with stencils and phenomenal graphics, their works, though seemingly playful, are thought provoking metaphors for social and political relationships.

Snik
Britain’s Snik is couple Nick and Laura. Nick began working as Snik in 2005, later pairing up with Laura at the end of 2014. Working in stencil and spray paint, the duo is constantly pushing the boundaries of their medium. Snik will hand cut up to nine layers of stencil at a time, creating the depth and realism for which their work is known, with several overlays and applications of paint and varnish. The level of detail in their work is impressive, and the painterly approach of their technique is unique in its texture and dimensionality. By combining the precision of the graphic stencil cuts with the more chaotic and free application of paint, their works balance chaos with control. The same aesthetic applies to their work on canvas, where they offset the accidental aspects of studio work with drips, bleeds and smudges, with the precision of graphic stenciling.

Telmo Miel
A muralist and image-making duo from the Netherlands, Telmo Miel is Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann. They have worked together since meeting at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2007, officially becoming Telmo Miel in 2012. Their murals are both surreal and realistically rendered, with a tremendous amount of detail and vibrant color. Able to work fairly seamlessly, their styles have combined to such an extent that they’re able to execute multiple areas in tandem, exchanging places and completing each other’s work. They often execute their pieces on a monumental scale, creating huge architecturally sized spray-paint paintings on building façades. Combining multiple elements in a single composition, they layer references to the human and animal worlds to create complex creatures and fantastic scenarios. With positivity, humor and a touch of the romantic, their work is arresting and epic.

Yok & Sheryo
Yok, Australian born, and Sheryo, from Singapore, are a muralist duo and couple based in Brooklyn, New York. They first started painting walls together in Cambodia, where they realized the aesthetic and personal affinity they shared. Known for their twisted, dynamic illustrative style, and their use of stark primary palettes, they often work in red, white and black tricolor. Their hallucinatory murals feature everything from cannibalistic pizza slices to pineapple people and hot dog characters, incorporating the monstrous to the macabre with ample humor and absurdity. Eastern influences and kitschy references to surf and skate culture often appear in the work, and both artists cite 90’s cartoons like Ren & Stimpy as major graphic influences. With a love of gnarly subversive imagery, from grim reapers to deadly piña coladas, their line work is detailed, complex, and a total trip.

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