We’re thrilled to continue to elevate and celebrate the artists during the opening reception, and we thank those who helped to make the evening an experience. Those in attendance could partake in a delicious taco stand, engaging light projections, live painting by Angel Once, and merchandise booths from local artisans and Timeless Vapes. And bringing the work of The Perez Bros to life, a few polished lowriders were parked in front of the courtyard providing additional eye candy for guests as they walked between the two gallery spaces.
STRAAT is proud to announce SHARED EXPERIENCE, a two-person exhibition at STRAAT Gallery featuring American artists Kayla Mahaffey and Carlos Ramirez, co-hosted by Los Angeles-based Thinkspace Projects.
SHARED EXPERIENCE highlights the ongoing racial pressures and class separation still rampant in the United States and how Kayla Mahaffey (b. 1994 on Chicago’s South Side) and Carlos Ramirez (b.1967 in the Coachella Valley of Indio, California), even though decades separate their formative years, each faced many of the same obstacles growing up and still do to this day, simply for being a person of color in America.
This exhibition celebrates one of the museum’s ongoing and long term aims; to show the diversity and popularity of our worldwide street art and graffiti culture.
The opening reception for SHARED EXPERIENCE is Saturday, August 20th, 2022 from 5-9 PM, and will feature refreshments and live DJ’s. Both artists will be in attendance along with the curator, Thinkspace’s Andrew Hosner.
STRAAT NDSM-Plein 1 1033 WC, Amsterdam The Netherlands
KAYLA MAHAFFEY Kayla Mahaffey is a contemporary artist and muralist specializing in illustration and fine arts. Her style being a mixture of pop art and Afro-surrealism, makes for a bright and colorful experience that packs a punch and sends an important message with each piece.
Born on the Chicago South Side, she has a strong sense of resilience and community that is displayed in her art time and time again.
She studied at the American Academy of Art in downtown Chicago, taking some classes, before leaving in 2017 to pursue art full-time
CARLOS RAMIREZ Carlos Ramirez’ painting and sculpture work often speaks of the inequalities within Mexican American communities and champions the common man as underdog.
Snakes, spiders, scorpions, and other bits of nature from his former life as a date farmer in the Coachella Valley in Indio, California, appear mixed in with Catholic symbolism, aliens, gang members, pop-culture references, and commercial imagery, giving brand logos and religious icons the same attention and placement.
Carlos’ work is tremendously resourceful, scavenging for creative materials within various abandoned desert locales.
As a former member of the seminal street art duo ‘The Date Farmers’, Carlos’ paintings continue to evolve, becoming denser and more meaningful while remaining alluring and magical.
Thinkspace is pleased to present Chicago artist Dredske showing new works for his exhibition “Grind.”
Dredske’s work is an amalgamation of his artistic influences and exploration of mediums to give the viewer a glimpse into the artist’s life and the iconography that marks this moment in time. The work expands on the concept of the self-portrait, exploring instincts within the encapsulation of lifestyle.
Our interview with Dredske discusses the tenants of cultural icons, creative influences, and desired expertise.
For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I am an artist working in Chicago, born and raised on Chicago’s south side. The main focus of my artistic practice is fine art acrylic painting. However, it’s important to my process to experiment with other mediums and techniques which makes most of my works mixed media pieces. My particular perspective is based on my background in graffiti/street art, traditional drawing and painting, digital art, and illustration.
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
The latest body of work is inspired by my everyday life. It’s an attempt to give viewers a lil more of a glimpse into me as a person and the lifestyle I lead. Past bodies of work focused on so many things and ideas outside of myself (intellectualism); with this new body of work, I wanted to present something more from within (instinct).
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
The most challenging piece was probably the Grinder piece. It was my first time attempting to paint a grinder..it definitely help improve my focus and attention to detail.
What would you deem are the tenants of a distinct cultural icon or iconography?
First, I think, is sincerity or a sense of genuineness (truth). Next, some kind of iconoclast nature..something new/different about it that challenges the old way. Finally, it has to be relatable. People have to be able to see themselves in it/through it.
What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?
Getting to the studio as early as possible and having a smoke and then painting all day and night.. sleeping on the floor… wake up…repeat.
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
Music, weed, watching skate vids, reading, doodling, and making notes in my sketchbooks help to get the gears turning.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of the creative process?
My favorite part is making marks with the paint and seeing what it does. My least favorite part is mixing colors.
Who are some of your creative influences?
There’s a lot. But to name a few: Bjork, James Joyce, Dj Spooky, Robert Rauschenberg, Mode 2, Shirow Masamune, Aphex Twin, Wesley Willis…people like that.
If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do/ be an expert at?
Kung fu and getting bitches..lol
If you could throw a dinner party for five people dead or alive, who would be on the guest list? What would be on the menu? What would be the ice breaker question?
Guest list would consist of: Jiminy Hendrix, Sun-Ra, Henry Miller, Bjork (again), and Sonic Youth (counting whole band as one guest). I would have Red Lobster cater, and the ice breaker question would be, “who wants to smoke some weed?”
The ‘Grind‘ opens on August 6th with a reception from 6 PM to 10 PM.
It will remain on view until August 27th at Thinkspace Projects