Interview with Allison Bamcat for ‘Fish Fingers’  | Exhibition September 2 – September 23, 2023

Photo by Birdman

Thinkspace is excited to present Allison Bamcat for Fish Fingers,’ where a menagerie of animals and creatures serve as avatars for the artist herself, assembling a series of surreal snapshots of her own personal journey, one of beautiful growth and also the simmer of trauma. With her candy-coated landscapes, there is an underlying sense of unease, whether through the piercing gaze of a voyeur parrot or in the melting and sinking of her figures. The loss of innocence and a sense of calm-among-the-chaos are feelings works to depict through the use of stark, flat fields of color against her obsessively-detailed brushwork. The velvet finish of gouache matched with her love of wood and paper leave subtle textures for her images to pop off of. She works to hypnotize her audience through her dizzying use of color and detail in her current body of acryla gouache paintings.

Our interview with Bamcat shares what a typical day is like for her at the studio, what show/music she watches/listens to while painting, her most/least favorite part of her creative process, and where she gets her inspirations from.

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

For ‘FISH FINGERS,’ I wanted to continue my exploration of objects as creatures, creatures as ghosts, and other hybridized forms. I have a fascination with biology, especially the failed branches of evolution: the creatures that are extinct (not by human hands but by time). I learned a lot about how many generations it takes an animal to create specialized characteristics in the wild, such as camouflage, developing poison glands, or adaptive features like long tongues for slurping up termites.

Probably once per day, I get hit with the realization that even contemplating existence, or my existence, or the existence of these themes at all is something very unique to my experience as a human living in 2023. Existing at all, long enough to contemplate, is amazing and kind of unlikely given the age of the earth and humans and living things.

The most challenging piece among the group of nine was probably the main piece, ‘Delicious.’ My work is very colorful typically, but I wanted to invite some rich, velvety black stripes and claws to make this painting stand out. Working with acryla gouache, a matte paint, black tends to look very chalky and scratches easily, so I developed an even darker color using several highly-pigmented colors to create what I lovingly refer to as “mud.” Adding a satin varnish to this piece is also something I’ve been slowly experimenting with, as a matte finish does no justice to the richness of the darks versus lights in the piece. It was a fantastic challenge and I’m very proud of how spooky and creepy my character came out (especially his little ring with the fish crawling out of the ocean on it).

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

My days in my home studio are varied: some days the house is a wreck or I need to focus on my diet, so art takes a backseat. Having my brain wrapped around chores and errands puts my creativity into hiding, so I tend to wait for full days of drawing to open up, or full days of painting without distraction.

My working days consist of waking up between 7-10am, grabbing coffee from the kitchen, and I wait until lunch in the afternoon or evening to take a real break. I throw on some music or a horror movie I’ve seen before and clean off my work desk, a big beautiful metal drafting table I got off of craigslist a decade ago. I get up a few times to change out water, but I’m good at staying on task for hours at a time. In the evening, if I want to work late, I’ll crack a beer and keep working until I’m satisfied with my efforts for the day, which could be anywhere from 10pm-2am. But late nights mean late starts, so unless I’m REALLY in the groove, I grab some leftovers and stare at my phone for a bit before bed.

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

Spending a lot of time spacing out is essential for my creativity. I find it difficult to be “creative on-demand,” so oftentimes I get small ideas and write them down, such as a texture or an animal I’d like to paint. I have physical lists and inspiration boards with post-its as well as notes in my phone.

Going on walks and looking at the plants and flowers in my neighborhood is always good for clearing the air in my noisy brain so I can get the ideas flowing.

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

My favorite part of the creative process is watching the last 10% of a painting come together. Bells go off in my head when I feel like I’ve completed something better than what I’ve made in the past. The feeling of leveling up and improving is addicting.

My least favorite part of the creative process is documenting it. While I’m working, I make so many alterations and go over lines many times to get them as crispy clean as possible. I rarely feel like I get the “money shot” of pulling a good line, and honestly I’m not very video-minded when it comes to assembling a video. If I could erase this expectation of social media for artists to also entertain, I’d live with a lot less anxiety, haha. 

Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

I’m inspired by so many artists it’s dizzying. Working at an art store in college, I remember flipping through Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose while things were slow, becoming obsessed with pop surrealism and avant garde forms of art. My mind was especially blown by mural art. When I later got opportunities to see Tristan Eaton, Audrey Kawasaki, Ron English and Marka 27 painting walls, something in me changed at the sight of artists taking on such gigantic (literally) undertakings.

I’m really grateful to have so many friends in Los Angeles who are artists who are working through the same issues and struggles in their careers as I am, so I really look up to my local crew including The Obanoth, Mister Toledo, Andrea Guzzetta, Sean Keeton, and so many more.

Artists I admire for their strong career, their mastery of their medium, and their trailblazing in contemporary art include my heroes Jeff Soto, Scott Listfield, Kayla Mahaffey, Joseph Gordon, Yoko d’Holbachie, Charlie Immer, Christian Rex Van Minnen, and Baghead. Watching someone foster what they are amazing at is a beacon of light as an emerging artist. Seeing the quality of work these artists produce is electrifying in person and so exciting to see online. They keep me hungry for the next ten and twenty years of my career.

Artists whose work really speaks to me personally are artists like Yoko Kuno (a Japanese painter of sad stuffed animals), Paolo Puck (needle-felting genius), Kaley Flowers (experimental ceramics artist out of Toronto, and Graham Yarrington (Brooklyn painter).

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?

One thing I’d love to be an expert in is figure drawing. Figures and humans haven’t been a focal point of my work for years because I’ve been fostering my menagerie of creatures, but I’d love to work more figures into my work eventually. It seems as if many of my favorite artists have their signature style of drawing and painting people, but I know it took them a while to get there. Maybe I’m ready to try anyways?

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?

It’s my hope that when folks see my art in person, they see something new. While pop surrealism isn’t a new type of art, I love how varied and strange it can be. Have you ever seen a cauldron walking on all fours? Or a monster made of ice cream scoops hanging out in Joshua Tree? Now you have!

But ultimately, I hope that the audience who views my work sees that a human made it, a soft and sad but vibrant and crazy person. I hope they can find ways to relate to the creatures and scenes I’ve birthed in a way that they can interpret through their own experiences. The overall mood or vibe of my individual paintings is the most important thing I try to communicate, but I love hearing others’ interpretations more than my own backstory, typically.  It’s beautiful to see someone get excited about something you made and relate to it in their own way.


How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?

Time outside my studio or my house is rare, as I feel like I’m always trying to keep up with my commitments and what the rest of the world is doing on social media. I don’t really celebrate my work unless there’s a gallery opening, as I’m hungry to keep improving and looking back and digesting is difficult for me. It’s probably not healthy, but if no one’s throwing the party for me, it probably won’t happen. Haha.

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

Honestly, I’d love a chance to design some props or background elements for animation and video games. Conceptual art is so amazing to me, and I’d love to dip my toes in someday, but I’m not sure if that’s something you can just do casually or on a freelance basis.

When I worked in footwear design, it was always exciting to see my designs come to fruition, so being able to work on fashion or product design more often would be great! There are a lot of indie brands I’d love to work with, but it’s thrilling to see your art in a big-box store too.

It would be amazing to see my work in 3D too, as a vinyl toy or a statue or even as a parade float! Or jewelry!


Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

If I could pick five guests for my dinner party, it would be comedian Chris Fleming, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, another comedian Duncan Trussell, my best friend since middle school Stephanie D’Angelo-Early, and the late and great biologist Steve Irwin. We would laugh and drink wine and Steve would pass around cool animals for us to admire and hold maybe.


What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

My musical taste is a bit all over the place, but some of the musicians I listened to the most while creating these pieces are Supertramp (specifically Breakfast in America), The Mars Volta, Alice in Chains, A Perfect Circle (of which I got the title “Delicious” for one of my pieces from), Ghost, Queens of the Stone Age, and Nine Inch Nails. If I didn’t have music on, I put on marathons of horror movies, old and new, to pass the time and keep me awake. I made a point to rewatch “Silence of the Lambs” (a classic banger) and finally watch Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid”, which was a beautiful but anxiety-inducing three hours.

But, typically, I have reruns of the show Hoarders running at all hours when I’m working. I’ve seen every episode about five times.

Interview with Priscilla S. Flores for ‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin’ | Exhibition September 2 – September 23, 2023

Photo by Birdman

Thinkspace is excited to present the first solo show of Long Beach based painter Priscilla S. Flores Where the Spirit Meets the Skin.’ By drawing from memory and personal experiences with sensuality, Flores converges reality and fantasy of external and internal relationships she has with the world around her. The expression ‘the spirit meets the skin’ is borrowed from the song ‘Living Room’ by ambient band Grouper. Through various paintings and a few small graphite drawings, Flores allows the viewer to gaze into her world.

Our interview with Flores explores which piece was the most challenging for her and why, which skill she would choose to download in her brain and her creative influences and inspirations.

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging? 

I really wanted to dive into the theme of time and memory. I think of certain experiences (relationships with people and or situations I’ve been in) that present a lot of change and emotion are what also construct our perception of the things around us. Narration is a big part of my work, even if I’m focusing more on the feeling than memory, it helps me understand myself, like being vulnerable, conscious of what my body and mind can hold. A painting I kept going back and forth was ‘Angel From the Coast’ because it was telling more of a feeling inspired from a memory. I didn’t want the viewer to only focus on just the impressionistic made up scene. I wanted to focus on the idea of a separation/divide, the symbol of the bird beaming through, highlighting the separation of the two figures. The background figure stands as unknown yet engaged while the frontal figure is staring off uninterested and unsatisfied. I also kept changing the landscape but overall I just really wanted a straight forward environment with big and bold colors. 

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

I have a full time job so my structure is constantly changing. For this show I worked at my job throughout the day and would do 3-4 hours of studio time afterwards. I mainly spread it out and paint only 2-3 times a week after work and then dedicate a whole weekend of studio time. There have been times where I’ve worked in the studio after work consecutively but I don’t do that often because I do not want to burn out. I took time off in the summer so my days were looser, I’d have my breakfast and head into the studio late mornings and work for 5-6 hours straight and that was mainly painting but also mapping out ideas, cleaning/organizing; all that fun stuff.  

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

Definitely listening to music! It has always served as a warm up for me before starting anything. I like tapping into my mood and vibing out to songs I’m in love with at the moment. I think of it as a soundtrack for the day and what I’m working on. I also like to go on walks, fresh air always clears my mind and gets me settled into work mode. 

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

My favorite part is definitely seeing the work coming together, theres a point where a painting just starts feeling right. My least favorite part is when it feels off, mid way into it can feel like you’re working on whole other thing. Thats when you have take a few steps and rework it. 

Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you? 

I’m currently influenced by Larry Madrigal who paints himself and his family. He’s real for sharing his life in a very embracing and intimate way. It’s reassuring to know that we as artists can paint anything and everything. Another influence would have to be Kerry James Marshall, he’s the GOAT. Almost anyone I know painting right now is definitely influenced by him. Salman Toor, for his vulnerable and again intimate paintings, Nauldine Cluvie Pierre’s work creates these worlds of characters that symbolize emotions and identity. I have many more but they come to mind right away. Their compositions inspire me to have fun with the environments I want to create in my own work.

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?

Printmaking for sure. It was always something I wondered about because of the long process. I’m a painter and so my process can be all over the place sometimes so a skill like printmaking could definitely rewire my brain for the better. I’ve recently got acquainted with silk screen, thanks to a homie who helped me bring a drawing of mine to life on a t-shirt. He shared his process and knowledge on silk screening which I really appreciate. Shout out to Eduardo Muñoz! 

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?

I hope they would experience a sense of closeness to it. The take away being that time passes but memories sit still. All our thoughts and emotions are valid. 

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work? 

Oh yes. I go out dancing or do karaoke with my friends. I like to be social so I like going out and just talking to people. I also like staying home too, a favorite thing of mine these days. 

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

I would collaborate with my friend Abner who is a musician and has put out music as Mojave Airport. I could really see us starting a band with my other close friend Tania who’s DJ name is Tan Tan Club (a nod to Tom Tom Club). We like a lot of the same music so I could see us making music that ranges from electronic to shoe gaze. 

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

You mean dream blunt rotation? haha just kidding. I would definitely invite André 3000, Jonathan Richman, Amy Winehouse, Jesus Christ and Joan Baez. Menu would probably be some shrimp tacos and ice cold mexican cokes. I wouldn’t even know an icebreaker question honestly! 

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

Oof there was so much. I definitely listened to a lot of Y La Bamba, The Drums, CCFC, Angel Olsen, Tony Molina, Smashing Pumpkins, just to name a few.     

Interview with Clémentine Bal for ‘Magic Friends’  | Exhibition August 5, – August 26, 2023

Thinkspace is excited to present Clémentine Bal for her debut U.S solo ‘Magic Friends,’ which welcomes viewers into her world of characters who proudly embrace their uniqueness and vibrant colors, filling Gallery II of Thinkspace Projects for her debut U.S. solo exhibition.

This body of work explores slightly strange, quirky, or even truly bizarre characters and a joyful luminous ensemble fueled by gradients and contrasts. Each subject was designed to celebrate their own individuality, even as some of them still struggle to accept themselves as they are. They form a magical entity that can transform at will. With their simple, clean lines, it’s as if they just came out of a drawing, evoking a childlike wonder and even a disconcerting naivety.

“I truly enjoyed bringing these characters to life, aiming for them to be light-hearted, kind, and funny, like friends.”

Our interview with Bal reveals her creative inspirations, what she would choose if she can download any special skill, about her dream collaboration and more!

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

I wanted to work on original characters, giving them sometimes strange shapes. I also wanted to make wall sculptures, so that they take a little height. I wanted to give them confidence, to impose their strangeness and take us into their magical world.
I wanted to work a lot more with colors for this body of work. I wanted to create a very colorful set, in line with the more playful temperament of these new characters. I had a great need for joy and gaiety.
The work on certain sculptures was particularly long and difficult. The large wall pieces with complex shapes in particular required months of work. Days and days of sanding, finishing and handling difficulties. It’s all the more rewarding when the job is done!

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days? Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

I have very conventional working days because they are based on my children’s schedules. I am in my studio from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I sometimes go back a bit in the evening but I generally take this quiet time to do little drawings. In general, I plan the day before my goals for the day. In the morning I start with what I prefer to do, listening to audio books. In the afternoon, I advance on what is necessary, with music. It is rather well structured and it helps me to be well concentrated.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

I have lots of favorite moments! First of all, I love the beginning, throwing myself into building something. But I also like to realize the details, and to see these forms which become characters.
What is most complicated is the end. The final touches, often endless, and the photos, which closes the process. There comes a time when you have to accept that it’s not perfect, and move on to try to do better!
The discovery of Mark Ryden’s work was a big crush for me, I loved the distorted naivety of his characters, the link with the world of childhood.
I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, these masterpieces with all these extraordinary characters.
In literature, Murakami is truly one of my favorite authors, with his fantastic creativity.
And then there are these contemporary artists whose work I admire like Otani workshop and Klara Kristalova with their characters of great sensitivity. Nicolas Party, whose work with colors I particularly admire. Ob with all its delicacy. Roby Dwi Antono and his incredible artistic path. David Shrigley and his humor. And of course so many others…

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?

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?
So what I would like (maybe it’s more of a magic power than a skill) would be to be able to talk to the animals. I could tell them how much I love them, and how sorry I am for all the harm done to them.
But concerning my work, I believe that it would be better to remove things from my brain. With less expectations, control, fear, I could gain spontaneity. I work on that!
If my sculptures can give people a sweet, inner smile, then my job is done!

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?

When I’m not in my studio, I take care of my children, my animals, my family. And when nobody needs me, I go back to work. It is both physical and cerebral activity. I like feeling tired after a hard day’s work.
I don’t celebrate anything at all! Of course, I can be satisfied with the work done, but I immediately think of what’s next. There is continuity and each completed work calls for the next.

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

I would like to collaborate with a designer, and create everyday objects that would take on eccentric shapes as if they were transformed. It would amuse me a lot!
What might also interest me would be to see my characters in stop motion, I find certain film aesthetics magnificent.

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

There are obviously plenty of people whose work I admire, but for a dinner, I prefer to invite those with whom we are going to have a good evening.
I invite Laure Calamy, brilliant French actress, super funny. The kind of personality opposite of me, I adore.
I invite Marion Peck and Mark Ryden, because they are so inspiring!
I invite Totoro (I allow myself! ), Because if I had to worship a god, I would choose him. And I would love to give him a hug.
And I invite Ricky Gervais, he really does me good.
Regarding the menu, well, I hope my guests won’t have too many expectations about it because gastronomy is clearly not one of my passions. It will be vegetarian, and above all we will drink a good little wine because I will be very intimidated by everyone!
And I’m really not very good at sociability, so icebreaker questions usually come the other way around!

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

I usually listen to a bit of everything, classical, rock, electro, it’s very varied. But the last few months, it’s been very hip-hop. Working on large pieces can be very physical, and music is a great help in maintaining pace and motivation. Thank you Eminem and Dr Dre, you have been a great help to me!

Interview with Yosuke Ueno for ‘Beautiful Noise’  | Exhibition September 2 – September 23, 2023

Thinkspace is excited to present YOSUKE UENO for ‘Beautiful Noise‘ our sixth solo exhibition together with the artist. His new series of works are inspired by the reborn aesthetic of the Japanese art of “kintsugi,” which refers to repairing broken pottery by mending the breaks with powdered gold. Ueno explores the Japanese tradition of admiring beauty in the incompleteness of objects, acknowledging breakage, damage, and noise as proof of existence. ‘

Our interview with Ueno shares his rituals before painting, his creative influences/motivations and about his fantasy dinner party.

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

Our brain cells are replaced every day, but we sometimes stay where we are. That sound unnatural to me. I always want to erase myself of yesterday. Scrap & build. The highest point of yesterday is just a new starting point today.

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

Usually go to bed around 9pm and find myself at my studio 4 in the morning. I keep painting until get tired.

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

For me, things like rituals and motivations are not necessary. If I take any of these into my creation, I wouldn’t be able to keep on by losing them. No one needs motivation to brush teeth, painting is just the same natural thing to me.

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

I have image in my mind. First I try to paint it out on canvas. However that eventually makes me bored because I already see it myself. At some point, I start breaking the image and then something comes up which makes me trembled. This is exactly when I feel alive.

Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

When I paint, I think of my friends who’ve passed away or who’re fighting with sickness in hospital. All the time I think about them, it tells me all I have to carry through my artworks is positive messages.
GOOD VIBES ONLY.
That’s it.

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?

I feel that everything we need for life had already been installed when we were born. Also we were born, knowing what’s important. Perhaps we sometimes forget that in the middle of things surrounding our life. Through our experiences, the older we get, we remind ourselves of how to access or use these fundamental utilities within us.

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?

All of my artworks cerebrate being alive. No matter what or how I paint, message of my creations shout out to you is “Go alive!” In addition, I would be happier if you can enjoy and feel the happiest to see my artworks.

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?

Time with my wife. I’m with her except for the time when I’m alone. Feel comfortable to talk, and also just to be with each other.

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

I will invite those who bought my artworks long time before when no one knew about me. Some of them passed away. I want them to see my latest works. I just want to thank them that their words made my artworks pushed forward to here I am. My dinner party would be like, in my studio, put my artworks side by side, have take-out hamburgers peacefully.

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

I always love straight-worded lyric music which teenagers like to hear.
Music for challengers.
Music spirited with not giving up, seeking and struggling for dreams. True and straight words of those music have been cheering me up since I was a teenager.

New print from RYOL available this Friday September 15, 2023

‘Rain’ (standard edition)

Watch for two new print editions coming soon with RYOL (aka Ryo Laksamana). Both works were originally featured in the artist’s sold out ‘Caught In The Art’ exhibition with us earlier this year.

Rain‘ will be the first print published this Friday, September 15, followed by ‘Caught In The Act‘ on Friday, October 20. Details shared soon on ‘Caught In The Act.’ 

RYOL (aka Ryo Laksamana)

‘Rain’ standard edition

Giclee print on 290gsm paper

Deckled edges

57.1 x 45.7 cm

Signed and numbered by the artist

Printed by Static Medium

$250

Available this Friday, Sept. 15 at 10am PST / 1pm EST via our web shop.

Shipping costs are additional and will be calculated during check out. Any customs or duty fees incurred, are not the responsibility of the gallery.

Sorry, no pre-orders are available.

‘Rain’ (deluxe edition)

RYOL (aka Ryo Laksamana)

“Rain” deluxe edition

Giclee print on 290gsm paper

Deckled edges

Large Format Deluxe Edition of 30

30 x 24 inches

76.2 x 60.9 cm

Signed and numbered by the artist

Printed by Static Medium

$400

Available this Friday, Sept.15 at 10am PST / 1pm EST via our web shop.

Shipping costs are additional and will be calculated during check out. Any customs or duty fees incurred, are not the responsibility of the gallery.

Sorry, no pre-orders are available.