Alvaro Naddeo’s Studio Tour for ‘IndigNation’

Tour Alvaro Naddeo’s studio while he prepares for his exhibition ‘IndigNation‘ showing at Thinkspace from September 19, 2020 – October 10, 2020

The inspiration behind ‘IndigNation’: The inspiration behind this latest body of work is the political place that our society finds itself at. It’s about our present days and the marginalized, the minorities, the revolt and the voices that need to be heard.

View Works from ‘IndigNation’ here: https://thinkspaceprojects.com/shows/alvaronaddeo-2020/show-pieces/

Interview with Kobusher for ‘Come Out and Play’

Thinkspace is proud to debut North American solo exhibition ‘Come Out and Play‘ from pop artist Kobusher.

From sculptural editions to screen prints, Kobusher continues to explore new avenues of expression on a regular basis. For his North American debut, the artist has delved heavily into the memories of his youth and the new body of work is a celebration of pop culture in all its many forms.

In anticipation of ‘Come Out and Play‘ our interview with Kobusher discusses his inspiration behind the show, how growing up in the ’80s informed his creativity, and a silver lining outlook.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

I almost wanted chaos. Random characters and not a well-structured theme. A direct reflection of what’s happening in the world right now wherein most of our best-laid plans can go up in smoke in an instant. And with that randomness, I’m hoping people can serendipitously discover my work.

When working, what are you listening to in the background?

Most of the time I listen to all types of music. I also listen to Joe Rogan if the guests and conversation is interesting. I rarely work without any sound in the room.

What is your least favorite part of the creative process?

Whenever I hear a small voice whispering to me that this is not my best work

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?

Each painting has its own challenges, so I won’t be able to choose one specific piece. I see my paintings as kids with different personalities so you have to deal with them in different ways.

If you could download any skill or subject into your brain, Matrix-style, what would it be?

I’m pretty satisfied with what I have right now but gun to the head I choose a high tolerance for physical pain.

When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

Composition. I don’t get inspired by other artists’ work but I’m more interested in their insights.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time?

This pandemic is the “silver lining”,  it is teaching us to strip out what’s superficial and focus on what’s really important in our lives like family, friends your significant one, and doing what you really love. 

What pop-culture item; music, movies, tv, incident etc.. that has shaped you creatively?

Each generation has its own pop culture influences, but for me, it is how you obtain or consume it. Like I was a kid in the ’80s and unlike kids today where literally everything is at the palm of their hands (music, movie, fashion, etc.) on the other hand I had to find ways to get it. Imagine, just to see a poster of my favorite band I needed to first go to a bookstore selling the poster and then wait for my turn because someone is already there perusing through it. Or one of my friends would buy an album because he’s the only one who can afford it and with a record player. He would invite all of us to listen to it over and over again just to appreciate each song.

I have nothing against any generation or particularly this current one, but what I’m saying here is that all those challenges and not having everything when I was a kid has somewhat taught me and shaped me to be creative in obtaining and creating things for myself. Not having everything triggers imagination and goals which is congruently equal to inspiration.

If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

“WTF”: Strawberry, rootbeer, vanilla, crushed macadamia nuts, and banana

Interview with Alvaro Naddeo for ‘IndigNation’

Thinkspace is proud to present IndigNation featuring new works by Brazilian born and Los Angeles-based artist Alvaro Naddeo.

Naddeo is interested in the study of castaway objects and the subtle graphic nuances of urban detritus gleaned from the city sphere, the artist combines its textures and edges in compositional amalgams. His interest in the life of the unassuming object extends to billboards and signage, cast away containers and boxes, and domestic and industrial spaces, conjoined and superimposed in unexpected mashups, or cultural relics that speak of use and disposal in the contemporary city. 

In anticipation of IndigNation our interview with Naddeo explores his love of watercolors, the process of composing a piece, and the motivation derived from seeing beautiful work.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

The inspiration behind this latest body of work is the political place that our society finds itself at. It’s about our present days and the marginalized, the minorities, the revolt and the voices that need to be heard.

How do you approach your compositions? Is there usually a central object that inspires the piece, or does a collection of source material come together and determine the direction?

I approach my compositions sometimes with a central object as a starting point, like the shopping cart or a file cabinet and some other times I approach it as a “collage” of elements that share something in common, like a specific decade for example, or a specific personality.

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?  

None of the pieces on this show were more challenging than the others, I believe that the larger bigger pieces are the ones that are more challenging for me, I need to spend more time with them and I may end up losing some of the excitement over it. Bigger pieces for me are like a 4 hour movie, even the best movies if they last too long you wish them to be over. Having learned that, I chose doing what brings me more joy, so I stayed with medium pieces that I can finish while still being entertained and excited about them.  

When working, what are you listening to in the background?

I have a couple of good playlists that I keep repeating and also a lot of podcasts. More podcasts than music.

What aspects of watercolors make them your favorite medium to work with?  

The organic aspect of it is what excites me the most about watercolor, the big range of effects you can get just by dosing differently the amount of water you mix with. You can go from extreme control to chaos and randomness. That’s what I love the most. I like that it dries relatively fast, I like it’s bright colors. Even watercolor’s worst aspect, which is the fact that you can’t redo or paint it over ends up having a good side to it. It  forces me to be careful, to take it seriously and to always move forward, if I don’t like something I’ll do better on the next one. I can’t endlessly work on an area or painting.

When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

I enjoy seeing great art work a lot, it deeply excites me and motivates me. I see something beautiful and I wanna do something beautiful, my version of something beautiful. I come from the advertising world where there is a lot of competitiveness and envy and I love how different the artworld is, at least the artworld I see. I only find encouragement and motivation from other artists and from seeing other artists’ work.

If you could download any skill or subject into your brain, Matrix style, what would it be?     

Skateboarding. I’m so bad at it.

Who is the first artist or work of art that made a significant impression on you?

Frank Frazzetta and Norman Rockweel, those were some of my dad’s favorites and the ones I probably saw first.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time?

Personally, I have had worse days, so I don’t complain much now. I hope everyone can stay healthy, this will be over someday. I hope we learn something and change for the better.

If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

It would be the Moo-lotov, made with Milk (for the moo), corn (for the pop) and rum for the explosion.

Interview with Josh Keyes for ‘Inside Out’

Thinkspace is proud to present new work by Portland-based artist Josh Keyes for his latest exhibition ‘Inside Out‘.

Keyes’ highly detailed narrative paintings have evolved from their earlier iteration as closed systems, or quasi-scientific specimens drawn from some post-apocalyptic natural history museum to less confined and formulaic expressions of an imploding natural order.

We continue our conversation with Keyes and dive deeper into answers from previous interviews, how he is coping with the current pandemic, and great Sci-Fi recommendations.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

I used to imagine and speculate what was coming, how the world and society was shaping and changing with technology, social media, and our impact on the environment. My work and visions at that time were always a bit exaggerated to the extreme, the fall of civilization, civil war, and environmental collapse and the world after. Not exactly a Thomas Kinkade utopian vision. My work has always arrived through personal catharsis, a way of working through ideas, and mostly feelings of anxiety and melancholy about the state of the world.

We have always lived in a world of uncertainty, and challenges, but it seems like we are really at the edge of unprecedented traumatic change, with moments and glimmers through the storm of a brighter future. My new work and path still has echos of the anxiety and desperation, manifested in a dystopian or post-human world, but instead of an intentional preachy warning of what’s to come, I am moved by exporting what possible beauty or poetry might be found in a world left behind.

With everything going on, coronavirus, social distancing, political and racial tensions, the post protest mayhem ending up looking like the horrific opening scene from the film Gangs of New York. I feel myself, the world turning inside out, there is no place to hide from oneself. All of our shadows and demons are running wild. I fear for the end of our humanitarian nature and the end of or a drastic change to mother nature.

In a previous interview, you mentioned your professor, Lynn Book, and how her world view helped to break down yours at the time. Can you share some of her wisdom with us?

She was living in the moment, long before the Power of Now movement evolved. She saw, perceived, acted outside social codes and norms, almost as if she was just visiting this reality and joining the dance. She trusted her inner voice and was quick to question political or social patterns. The ones that we have to learn how to unlearn. Deprogram what our parents and society has taught us in order to discover our true self. To seek out awareness and acceptance of the immediate moment without preconceived judgment.

I try to maneuver in this way, in my life, but my challenge and work is with an inner dialogue that sees the world falling apart, instead of realizing the cyclic nature of phenomena. Painting my imagery is a way of casting/sifting out demons and finding moments or visions of the quiet in the storm inside and out.

When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

I follow about 7,000 + creative people on Instagram. I would follow more if it would let me. I am amazed by pure imagination and that spark that combines technique, passion, and the unexpected. I like all things made, craft, music, performance, and those that are off the grid living like wild animals. I love the spectrum of human nature and expression. We are so much, so precious, that when you see how destructive and violent we can be to each other, it is like watching someone take a hot poker and shoving it into their own flesh.

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?

The main challenges I had were personal, the onset of corona and quarantine, caring and entertaining a 5-year-old, processing the endless traumatic breaking news reports. This is now a shared trauma we all carry and are processing daily. For me, I had set out to make a specific body of work and many of the images I was dreaming with were too unsettling to show. I feel disappointed in myself that I could not deliver the work I intended, and I apologize to those of you who follow and support my work and to the Thinkspace Gallery. I feel that I am still in incubation mode, processing everything that is going on, the feelings and imagery are very raw and unfiltered and have yet to take form that moves beyond personal therapy.

Who was the first artist (or work of art) that made a significant impression on you?

I remember seeing Morning Sun, a painting by Edward Hopper when I was young. I was drawn to the colors, so rich and vibrant. I could almost feel the warmth beaming into the room. There has always been something about the isolation and underlying melancholy nature of his work that captivated me and still does. I would say most of my time developing a painting or image is in playing with the composition of the image, where everything locks in and moves the eye so that it almost rests in motion.

If you could download any skill or subject into your brain, Matrix-style, what would it be?

An app that would regulate stress and emotions, and math and spelling, and less fart jokes.

As a Sci-Fi junkie, are you excited about the new Dune movie that’s coming out? Any good movie recommendations?

Oh yes, I grew up reading the Dune series and loved the David Lynch version. After seeing the Jodorowsky documentary I am curious to see if the new version, drew inspiration from any of his aesthetic designs. I think the story also hits very close to home with our own political and environmental climate. My go-to watching the last year or so has been, the classic Duel by Spielberg, that movie is such a great metaphor for any unknown fear that plagues and haunts you. Just substitute the truck and driver for any fear you have, like an art show deadline. The masterpieces Get Out and Us by Jordan Peele. Mandy and Beyond the Black Rainbow by Panos Cosmatos are just so bizzare. Hereditary by Ari Aster, made me feel things I don’t have words for and I don’t think I could watch it twice.

Do you have a ritual that helps get you into the creative flow?

Medication and old episodes of Golden Girls. 

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – how are you creating a sense of normalcy or levity for your family?

My wife and I try our best not to talk too much about what’s going on with our daughter, just enough so she is not terrified of the world. It is a challenge to maintain a level of calm and peace and playfulness when almost every moment you feel like jumping to your phone to be freaked out and have a panic attack.

If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

Rainbows End : tear gas, Lime Cucumber Gatorade, whale tears, neon pink sprinkles — melted 🙂

Interview with Nicola Caredda for ‘God Save My Sweet Pusher’

Thinkspace is proud to present the debut North American solo exhibition, ‘God Save My Sweet Pusher’, from Italian artist Nicola Caredda.

Caredda’s dreamlike acrylic works on canvas blend eroded landscapes and structures with playful elements of pop culture and mystical iconography. The paintings capturing a vague narrative ripped from the artist’s subconscious.

In anticipation of ‘God Save My Sweet Pusher’, our interview with Caredda discusses the philosophical impact of the current pandemic, a conflicted creative process, and pop-culture events that have shaped him.

Caredda’s native language is Italian and he graciously provided us with a Google translation of his interview. We have gone ahead and edited the interview to read more naturally while trying to maintain the spirit of Nicola’s answers.  

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

I believe that the current period we are experiencing has greatly influenced my latest production.

We have found ourselves, with a very short time, catapulted into a world-wide nightmare worthy of the worst catastrophic B-movies. Unprepared and forced to change our ways of living and how we relate with others. Not only are we changing how we interact with friends, relatives, acquaintances the shift extends  towards those usually one meets only by going shopping. We are distant from each other with a growing fear and distrust of human beings.

Here in Italy, the lock down was very intense. A complete lifestyle change, with the implied demand that our normal behavior would quickly need to adapt to this new situation. I acknowledge the trivial nature of it, but everything one would normally have on hand, the things you take for granted, suddenly became less accessible. From engaging in social relationships to the less important things, but each adaptation marked an important shift in the norm, even meeting a pusher to buy a few grams of hashish was significantly different.

During this time, we’ve had to withdrawal from experiences we never thought we would miss so much. “God Save My Sweet Pusher” is a prayer to protect our drug dealer. A metaphor for all those things that we can’t live without and have missed during this pandemic. Missed like a junkie without his fix. Jonesing to leave the house. Jonesing to hug your friend, your family. Jonesing to attend a music concert. Jonesing to attend an art exhibition. Jonesing just to see the hidden smile of the person talking to you and countless other things that make our human existence and life more complete.

I therefore represented this prayer by creating sacred spaces where we can stay safe, in hiding, and experience all these “drugs of life” in landscapes that are explored within ourselves rather than outside.

So may whatever God he is, protect all or all those who can provide us with these “substances.”

When working, what are you listening to in the background?

Musically I really listen to everything. I have no prejudices, from rap to classical. I listen to audiobooks and I like to listen to films without watching them, maybe glancing over every now and then.

What is your most and least favorite part of the creative process?

My most and least favorite parts seem to be interchangeable. I’m excited for when I start painting, but then while I’m in the process of painting I begin to feel bad because I judge the work and think that I’m not doing well, slightly afraid it won’t be good in the end and turn out how I desire. However, I keep pushing because as I’m finishing it I think about how much fun and less stressful it is to start one. Yet, when I start a painting I think about how much fun and less stressful it is to finish one. I guess I would find myself happiest in the time before I start a painting. However, this internal struggle is what I must like most, even if subconsciously.  

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why?

I can’t think of a single work, mainly the challenge was to think of the whole show as if the whole thing were a single work, a single narrative.

Aside from technical factor and execution times, I would say “red overdose” was significant. The piece is intended as the happy ending of the show, a representation of all those drugs that we have missed and overdose on after ingestion. I was very undecided to go in the direction of a happy ending or not, this time it went well.

If you could have any ability, what would it be?

Definitely being able to talk to animals.

When viewing other artists’ work, what elements get you excited or inspire you?

At a pictorial level, the technique is the first factor to strike me. Not in an academic sense, but more than anything else I observe the freshness of the composition. When I find it in the works of other painters it like a punch in the gut, I can’t ignore the communicative impact and poetic nature of the work, be it painting, sculpture or other.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time?

I take deep breaths, smoke and try to be positive, even if everything around us does not give us much hope. It feels like we’re in a movie, and it’s nice to think that we are in a film where all of humanity would improve and join together in community following such a situation, but the reality is much colder. Man is perhaps the worst animal because he has a conscience, a brain that he often uses in the worst way.

What pop-culture item; music, movies, tv, events etc.. that has shaped you creatively?

I will sketch a thin list, which otherwise would be mileage

Music: Tonino Carotone, Marilin Manson, rap in general, Fabrizio De Andrè, and the opera “L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetano Donizzetti.

Movies: Alejandro Jodorowski, Lars von Trier, Baz Luhrmann, Alex de la Iglesia, Paolo Sorrentino, Luciano Salce and Luccio Fulci.

TV: The Simpsons, Dawson Creek, the advertising of the Miracle Blade knives with Chef Tony and the television religious services

Events: Maradona’s goal at the 1986 World Cup, the fall of the Communist governments in Europe, the death of Lady Diana and the G8 in Genoa.

If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

“Purple Myrtle with Crystals”

  • Sardinian myrtle cream
  • Pan’e saba
  • Chopped fresh almonds

Nicola Carreda’s interview in Italian is available after the jump.

Continue reading Interview with Nicola Caredda for ‘God Save My Sweet Pusher’