Scott Listfield Studio Visit for ‘This is America’

Our studio visit with Scott Listfield in anticipation of ‘This Is America‘ takes us into his space where his works were developed, and a peek into the mind of the artist who creates such complex and serene dystopian realities.

Join us for one of our virtual showings of the exhibition or set up an appointment to view the show for our closing party.

Saturday, May 30 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post our professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, May 30 from 1-2 pm pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions + we will have all the artists on hand to briefly discuss their new shows

Sunday, May 31 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, June 1 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks

Saturday, June 20 from 4-8 pm we will have a closing party via timed visits (scheduled online) that will be strictly monitored for everyone’s safety. No more than 4 patrons at one time, in one group (all must know each other and arrive at the same time). Masks will be required to enter and worn at all times. No exceptions. More details shared soon.

Interview with McKenzie Fisk for ‘Good Luck Don’t Die’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Good Luck Don’t Die’ featuring new work by McKenzie Fisk.

Los Angeles-based artist McKenzie Fisk’s work is a pop surrealist interpretation of the raw and unfiltered view of the childhood experience. Painting children and animals together, Fisk strips away the weight of adulthood and the accompanying overwhelm of an unending list of daily tasks, by capturing the slices of life that remind us of childhood and the joy of small everyday moments.

In anticipation of ‘Good Luck Don’t Die,’ our interview with McKenzie Fisk discusses her creative process, snack foods, and the inspiration behind this body of work

Join us on May 30th for the virtual opening of ‘Good Luck Don’t Die.’

Full schedule of events after the interview

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

MF: When I was little, I used to draw famous paintings to get out of chores. When I went to college, I got a double BA in Microbiology and Fine Art, with a minor in Chemistry. I went on to complete a Masters in Physiology at Columbia University in NYC. After a year of planning in NYC, I launched my own art-unrelated company. After that year, I sold that business and suddenly found myself with some extra cash and free time. So I painted. A lot. Even though I have an art degree, it was basically during this time that I finally had the confidence to give in to what I really wanted to do and give it a real go. That was a little over 10 years ago and I never looked back. I get to satisfy my inner science geek on the daily by listening to science or history podcasts, books on tape, or anything I care to learn about while I paint. And I usually base my work on scientific studies, things I find useful to remember, or other things I find interesting. 

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

MF: My show is called “Good Luck Don’t Die”, featuring animals that are critically endangered for one reason or another, where there are either no conservation efforts or the conservation efforts in place are ineffective. In one piece, the manatee, they’ve been rehabilitated to the point where they’ve been removed from the critically endangered list and, therefore, also removed are the efforts and regulations enforced to stop their population decline (which will cause an immediate relapse of population decline). 

I think it’s important to see how integral human interference is in causing the degradation of whole species. And that only human intervention and policy will stop it. The pieces are meant to start a discussion about the plight of the individual animals more than point a finger at any one particular institution. There’s no perfect solutions, but hopefully there’s a willingness to learn and broach the hard discussions necessary to save these species. 

I try to create beautiful images that don’t slap the viewer in the face with their narratives, but at the same time I hope people will delve a little deeper into the details and that they will spark those discussions. 

SH: What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

MF: The orangutan piece.

Capturing this moment of childhood was important, and fit well with the narrative I wanted to relate on how the palm oil industry is killing off Orangutans. But doing both justice at the same time was a challenge.

For the first part: the ability to cook and prepare meals is tied to joy in everyday life. As a kid, putting the tastiest things together should result in something even tastier, right? I wanted to portray that, as a kid just learning, that seems logical. 

For the second part, depicting how ingrained palm oil use is in so many products it’s almost impossible to avoid, even if you are willing to read the ingredient list/ know the different names under which palm oil hides. The Cadbury creme egg is a really good example of its parent company, Mondilever (its underling being US Cadbury), because it is simply listed under “vegetable oil” in its ingredient list. For those trying to avoid palm oil, it’s an unfair delineation. But should you avoid palm oil? it’s not that simple. There are farmers that rely on their palm oil plantations. There are now “sustainable” sources of palm oil -though that falls on the back of having first created the fields through fire and in an unsustainable way. It’s history is rooted in deforestation. Farmers treat the orangutans as pests and try to dispose of them. But a whopping 50% of shelved products in our grocery stores have palm oil – what is the best way to satisfy both the farmers, the food industry, and the orangutans/ other animals in that area that rely on forest habitats? As an exercise, name your 3 favorite snack foods. Palm oil is likely in all 3 of them! 

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

MF: My favorite part is coming up with the narratives and getting them out and onto a surface.  I really enjoy the rough strokes and accidental play of colors as everything is being blocked in. Least favorite part is the finishing and smoothing.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

MF: Norman Rockwell for his narratives. JC Leyendecker for his use of brushstrokes

SH: If you could download any skill into your brain, Matrix-style, what would you want to instantly learn?

MF: Woodworking and construction. I have all these ideas to create things and spaces and would love to someday know how to build things. 

SH: Would you rather be able to talk to animals or read people’s minds?

MF: Neither! If I had to choose, I guess talk to animals. 

SH: 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? Are you sticking to routines, or making it up as we go? What does quarantine life look like for you?

MF: I’ve mostly been working on this body of work and was fine to not have the social pressures of having to leave the house while painting over the last few months. I’m starting to get stay-at-home fatigue but will continue to stay home anyway to protect the at-risk people I have in my life.

Quarantine life will hopefully mean a little more self-care over the next coming months. Making sure I’m in touch with friends, exercising and having a little more freedom to practice some new skills (painting and otherwise). 

SH: Favorite thing you’ve watched, listened to, and ate in the last 30 days? Or since days don’t matter anymore, since the “shelter-in-place” orders came down.

MF: Watched: I’ve really enjoyed re-watching “The Last Man on Earth”. It’s a series made a few years ago about a virus that kills almost all of humanity (ironically, or prophetically, that hit in 2020). I love how they briefly emphasize art early-on in the series, as some iconic pieces are gathered and still considered prized possessions. And it inspired my need for a full-size dinosaur skull on my future dining table.

Ate: Discovered these frozen chocolate muffins from a company called “Vegetables Made Great”. They’re delicious and the perfect pick-me-up snack when I’m working. 

SH: If you could be on a zoom call with 5 people dead or alive who would they be? What would be the ice breaker question?  

My mom (who passed away in 2017)

Warren Buffett

Malcolm gladwell

Simon sinek

Terry Crews  

And I would ask them: “What is one thing in life you wish you knew sooner, but only found out or really understood in your more advanced years?”

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, May 30 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post our professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, May 30 from 1-2 pm pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions + we will have all the artists on hand to briefly discuss their new shows

Sunday, May 31 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, June 1 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks

Saturday, June 20 from 4-8 pm we will have a closing party via timed visits (scheduled online) that will be strictly monitored for everyone’s safety. No more than 4 patrons at one time, in one group (all must know each other and arrive at the same time). Masks will be required to enter and worn at all times. No exceptions. More details shared soon.

Interview with Scott Listfield for ‘This Is America’

Thinkspace is proud to present ‘This is America’ featuring new works by Boston born and raised, Los Angeles based artist Scott Listfield. The exhibition is a new collection of Listfield’s lone astronaut adventuring into dystopian landscapes inspired by national parks and various landmarks. An ironically poignant body of work given the current pandemic.

In anticipation of ‘This Is America’, our interview with Listfield covers his survival skills, Childish Gambino, and when he knows a piece is finished.

Join us on May 30th for the virtual opening of ‘This Is America.’

Full schedule of events after the interview

SH: For those not familiar with you and your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background in life and art?

Of course. My name is Scott Listfield. I paint astronauts and, sometimes dinosaurs.I was first inspired to start painting astronauts after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time. This was over 20 years ago now, but while watching the film I was struck by how the 2001 I thought I would grow up into – one where I had a robot best friend and a flying car and I lived on the moon – compared to my real life in 2001 – where I was just out of school, working an entry-level job, living in an entry-level apartment, and generally ill-prepared to be an adult. 20 years later I’m still painting astronauts and still somewhat ill-prepared to be an adult. But now I live and work in Los Angeles, and the astronaut in my work has explored a strange and ever-changing world over the span of the 450+ paintings I’ve made in the series. And I still like to think about the disconnect between the future I thought I’d grow up into and the present I’m actually stuck in. Especially as that present has taken a couple of recent turns into some very weird territory.

SH: The artist statement/press release for this show is pretty in-depth and perfectly encapsulates the irony of the current pandemic and the dystopian nature of your work. Could you breakdown the spirit of that statement and of this latest body of work in three words?

Thanks! The show statement I wrote is “Pretty in-depth,” which is a very nice way of saying “super f*cking long.” I’m wordy by nature (enjoy reading this long interview, everyone), so I’m not sure there’s anyway I can cut it down to just three words. I already get stressed out trying to fit something into a Tweet. But the show is titled This Is America. Which, coincidentally, is exactly three words. So there you go.

SH: Can you dive into your inspiration and process for selecting the locations our Mr. Astronaut will be exploring in this exhibition and how you approached their post-apocalyptic appearance?

When Andrew and I originally started talking about this show a while back, we had been discussing the idea of a show about national parks. Now as I started thinking more about the show, and what I really wanted to say, that idea started to morph and change a little bit. I was thinking a lot about the tradition of American landscape painting, about the places that we think of when we think about America, and about the monuments, statues, buildings, and landmarks that feel quintessentially American. Like a lot of people, I’ve been worried about where our country is heading, whether those places we romanticize still mean anything anymore. Is this the end of America as we know it? Or are we just about to enter a different chapter? Where we’ll be in another ten, twenty, or a hundred years? I wanted the astronaut in my work to explore some of those places and ask some of those questions and maybe – maybe – look for an answer somewhere out there.

SH: If you had to choose a dystopian future and end of the world, how are we going down? Robots, Zombies, Asteroid — murder hornets? What is the plan?

I don’t have a strong preference, since I will almost certainly be one of the morons who mistakenly runs for cover IN the murder hornet nest and dies instantly. Even if by some chance I survive for more than 30 minutes in any sort of apocalypse situation, my fellow future humans will quickly realize that I bring little to the table in terms of survival skills. I mean, I can paint astronauts and I’m pretty good at ping pong and that’s about all I’ve got.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

Well I named this show after a song by Childish Gambino. So I’ll include him in my list. I already mentioned that watching 2001: A Space Odyssey was the original source of inspiration for me to start painting astronauts, and it’s not so hard to see that Star Wars has been hugely influential in my life as well. These days, though, I’m largely inspired by my peers. I love (and miss) going to shows at Thinkspace, and a number of other galleries here in Los Angeles. There are sooooo many great artists working right now. It’s really inspiring to me to feel like I’m now a small part of all that creative energy. When I first started making these weird astronaut paintings over 20 years ago, I didn’t know anybody else who was doing anything remotely like what I was trying to do. I had no idea if anyone would ever like it, ever buy any of it, or ever get what I was trying to say. It’s been really humbling and amazing to be able to talk to other artists who I really admire and who know what I’m doing, and respond to it like I respond to their work.

SH: What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition and why?

Definitely the Grand Canyon painting. It’s the largest in the show and I had to paint the entire thing with my tiniest brush. I’m not sure why I decided to make a 30×40 inch painting that was literally nothing but detail work. Probably because I hate my wrists and want them to fall off.

SH: How do you know when a piece is finished? When is it time to back away slowly and put the brush down?

I realize this is a really hard problem for the vast majority of artists, and they will almost certainly hate me for my answer. But I work on a painting from top to bottom and left to right, mostly so that I don’t smear anything when I inevitably put my hand or arm down on the canvas, and the painting is done when I get to the bottom right corner. That’s it. I walk away. Of course there are times where I need to go back in and touch up some details. But it’s super easy for us to get really obsessive about that process of messing around with a painting when it’s functionally 95% done. And most of the time it’s only the artists themselves that notice the difference in that last 5%. Of course, it’s absolutely worth doing right, and doing well! But it’s decidedly not worth spending 50% of your time on that 5% that few people will even notice. And besides, the part of painting I enjoy most is getting started on that next one. I’m always thinking about my next painting. And so I finish them up and move on.

SH: 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? Are you sticking to routines, or making it up as we go? What does quarantine life look like for you?

Frankly not that different than my pre-quarantine life, just with a considerable amount more dread. I had a lot of paintings to make when it started and I have a lot of paintings to make now. Staying busy keeps me sane – well, somewhat – so I’m glad I have work to do. Like a lot of people, my days have started all bleeding together, and there’s barely anything that’s happened in the last 10 weeks that serves as any kind of marker, other than the few times I’ve ventured out of the house to run errands. So even though I like to keep myself busy, not having any real break is starting to feel a little like wandering aimlessly through a never ending haze. But I lived in Boston for a very long time, and in some ways this is like suffering through an especially long winter. Just a lot weirder.

SH: Favorite thing you’ve watched, listened to, and ate in the last 30 days? Or since days don’t matter anymore, since the “shelter-in-place” orders came down.

I quite enjoyed the latest season of “The End of the F*cking World” on Netflix. In the studio I’ve been listening to new albums by Caroline Rose, and new singles by Run The Jewels. And I’m hoping I didn’t buy the last two pints of McConnel’s salted caramel chip ice cream in existence. That sh*t is delicious and I haven’t seen it any supermarkets since like week 2 of the quarantine.

And here’s a couple bonus book recommendations for sci-fi fans: The Interdependency trilogy by John Scalzi, and the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

SH: What is the most rewarding moment thus far in your art career? How about your life?

To the first point I’d have to say publishing a book on my work. I can point to a lot of individual shows I’ve had that I’m really proud of, but having a book come out feels like wrapping a bow around my entire life. It’s definitely something I wasn’t sure I would ever achieve.

To the second point, easily, meeting my wife. There are a billion different ways my life could have gone where we would never have crossed paths. It’s the largest stroke of luck I’ve ever had that we just happened to be in the same place at the same time.

SH: If you could be on a zoom call with 5 people dead or alive who would they be? What would be the ice breaker question?

Let me get this straight. You want me to summon Picasso, Galileo, Anthony Bourdain, David Bowie, and some rando back from the dead just to drop them straight into a Zoom call? No. Not doing that. I’m not going to try to explain over video chat that SURPRISE they’re alive now, but also they have to use a computer to talk to people but, hey, they can give themselves a Star Wars background if they want.

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, May 30 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post our professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, May 30 from 1-2 pm pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions + we will have all the artists on hand to briefly discuss their new shows

Sunday, May 31 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, June 1 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks

Saturday, June 20 from 4-8 pm we will have a closing party via timed visits (scheduled online) that will be strictly monitored for everyone’s safety. No more than 4 patrons at one time, in one group (all must know each other and arrive at the same time). Masks will be required to enter and worn at all times. No exceptions. More details shared soon.

New Kayla Mahaffey Edition Drops Tomorrow May 22nd

Excited to be able to offer you all this special print edition from Kayla Mahaffey. The original painting was featured in her sold out Deconstructed solo exhibition, that wraps up this weekend. This deluxe print edition is much larger than the original, measuring a whopping 24×24 inches (60×60 cm), with hand-deckled edges. It’s really a beautiful piece and we love how great of a job the gang at Static Medium did with the print. 

Looking forward to Kayla’s return coming up this September as part of our The New Vanguard III exhibition at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California. We’ll be sharing more details on that soon.

KAYLA MAHAFFEY
Disjointed
Edition of 100
Fine art print on Signa Smooth 300gsm cotton rag paper with deckled edges
24×24 inches / 60×60 cm
Signed and Numbered by the Artist
$350

Available this Friday, May 22 via our web store around 9 am PST
https://shop.thinkspaceprojects.com

There are NO pre-orders of any kind. In-person pickups are not possible, all prints will be shipped. No special number requests. Shipping details will be shared to your PayPal account or e-mail (depending on how you pay). Thank you.

New PRINT EDITIONS coming this June
James Bullough | Scott Listfield | McKenzie Fisk | SUPER A | Kathy Ager

New PRINT EDITIONS coming soon
Giorgiko | Josh Keyes | Ermsy | Hilda Palafox (aka Poni) | Max Sansing | Sarah Joncas

Alex Garant Solo for SCOPE IMMERSIVE | ONLINE VIEWING ROOM

“All Is Well”

We’re excited to participate in SCOPE Immersive, an online virtual art-viewing experience for these strange and unpredictable times. For the inaugural edition that begins May 22nd, we are proud to present six works from artist Alex Garant.

Please find more information on this virtual exhibition below.

SCOPE IMMERSIVE | ONLINE VIEWING ROOM
MAY 22 – JUNE 05

We share a deep concern for our galleries’ well being during this difficult time and empathize with all who are faced with new critical challenges as we share the sensibilities and sensitivities of being a small business. With the impact of COVID-19 being felt globally and throughout our immediate communities, SCOPE believes that now more than ever, we are called to affirm our mission of presenting the very best of The New Contemporary.

It is in this spirit of being responsive and adaptive that SCOPE is pleased to announce the launch of SCOPE Immersive | Online Viewing Room. These invitational, survey, and thematic online events will present collectors with the opportunity to explore and purchase artworks from SCOPE exhibitors remotely in a curated digital and interactive space.

UNIQUE TECHNOLOGY
Unlike other platforms that rely on outdated iterations of basic slideshow technology, SCOPE Immersive invites collectors to step inside three-dimensional spaces which can be easily accessed by computer, mobile phone, or VR device. These unique events will be presented each month; starting in May and running through December in celebration of our 20th Anniversary edition of SCOPE Miami Beach.

SHOW INFORMATION
SCOPE Immersive’s inaugural edition will be open to collectors, curators, and art lovers alike beginning May 22nd at 11 am EST and run through June 5th. It will feature eight galleries, curated by SCOPE founder Alexis Hubshman.

Learn More: SCOPE Immersive | Online Viewing Room