Interview with Jack Shure for “Soul Sanitizer”

Thinkspace Projects is honored to present Jack Shure’s debut solo exhibition “Soul Sanitizer.”

‘Soul Sanitizer’ is a collection of work created to represent how Jack Shure views and digests the world around him. Made up of an amalgamation of styles and subjects, Shure creates an intentionally cryptic narrative of his own personal journey from childhood to parenthood. Using art as a tool for comprehension and processing, the act of creating work becomes his “soul sanitizer,” the vehicle for healing and introspection.

In anticipation for “Soul Sanitizer,” our interview with Jack Shure discusses tapping into creative flow, Beetle Juice, and exploring his subconscious through his work.

For those unfamiliar with your work, can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to work with Thinkspace Projects?

I got my start drawing very young and always kept a sketch book. By the time I got to high school I put a silkscreen press in my parents garage I would spend all my time out there then sell the shirts to kids who sold weed after class. Once out of high school a close friend took me to my first Grateful Dead ( minus jerry) concert. Here I saw many kids my age selling art and it inspired me to do the same. For the better half of 10 years I spent my time on the road selling posters in  parking lots around the country.

I bought a piece from the gallery some years ago and always admired their programming and taste. When I felt my art was ready I reached out to Andrew and immediately felt welcomed and supported.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes or techniques were you exploring?

The inspiration behind these works spawned from the creative influences of my youth. I wanted to revisit themes and nuances of the things that drove me to paint in the first place all while creating a personal narrative around the characters and symbols.

What do you find to be the most challenging and yet most rewarding part of the creative process?

Taking things too seriously, I constantly remind myself I make the best marks when I’m at play.

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

I like to take a moment to breathe and thank creative spirit. I also enjoy dancing like a complete freak in between Strokes.

Who are some of your creative influences that have inspired you or had a direct impact on the  development of your artistic voice?

 Rick Griffin, Mati Klarwein and Corvaggio would probably be at the top.

Iconographgy from Beetlejuice can be seen throughout your work, do you remember the first time you saw that movie? Why has it left such a lasting impression?   

I’m pretty sure I was about eight or nine. I just remember being drawn in by the set design, prosthetics, and non-human characters more than the story itself. Something about the creepy yet goofy ambiance really stuck with me and fits well in my work naturally.

If you could download any skill into your brain, what would it be?

Akido

You’ve shared your work helps you process life and is self-reflective, has there been a piece you’ve worked on that while developing it has illuminated an aspect of your human experience that gave you a new perspective? Could you share the shift?

Every painting has a little taste of it and often reveals itself in ways that can be very mysterious until I understand why my subconscious chose it to begin with. For example, I often choose a subject or symbol that pertains to a significant moment or change in my life, I add these symbols together and they take on a new story that is congruent with my current state. Almost as if the painting is putting the pieces of the story together for me.

What has been the most surprising aspect of fatherhood?

My child is due in October but thus far I’d have to say the introspective journey it has taken me on, really taking inventory of every part of myself and personality.

If an ice cream flavor was made inspired by your work, what would be the ingredients and name of the pint?

Coconut based vanilla with some raspberry and blueberry swirls and it’s called spazz money.

Interview with Reen Barrera for “Cluster Fudge”

Thinkspace Projects is honored to present Reen Barrera’s newest solo exhibition “Cluster Fudge.”

Barrera has taken the idiom “it’s written all over your face” to heart and beyond, crafting his work around a central character he created early on in his career as an artist. Ohlala embodies Barrera’s thoughts, displaying them through a variety of colors painted on the being’s face. This serves as a mechanism to silently communicate, focusing on the unspoken rather than what is loud and clear.

In anticipation of “Cluster Fudge,” our interview with Reen Barrera discusses the symbolism in his work, toys, and the defining moment that has led to where he is now.

For those unfamiliar with your work, can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to work with Thinkspace Projects?

Hi, my name is Reen Barrera, I’m a sculptor and a painter from the Philippines, I was known in our local art scene for creating Ohlala dolls which became a staple in my art. I luckily got noticed by Thinkspace Projects when I did a show in Moniker Artfair with Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes or techniques were you exploring?

The title of the show is “Cluster Fudge”, in my definition it is a situation of surprisingly having things done, despite the amount of hardships that we are facing right now in this pandemic, to overcome and survive our daily battles within ourselves and outside. In this collection of work I try to show a glimpse of my daily experiences and thoughts throughout this times.

What do you find to be the most challenging and yet most rewarding part of the creative process?

I use wood, resin and cloth in my sculptures, having a small space to work with this materials can be difficult and messy, I’m not that good at cleaning after I work because it’s either I’m too tired or too lazy. But all things are worth it when I sit down and stare at the works I’ve done.

Can you walk us through what a day in the studio looks like?

I borrowed two bedrooms from my Aunt’s house to use as an art studio, the other one is for wood works, and the other one is for painting and sewing, the painting room have a pink wall that annoys me but realized it’s not mine so I submit to it. Every afternoon my cat Miwmiw visits me to check on me (for food). During busy times I sleep beside my artworks so that when I wake up I can quickly work on it. I don’t have the typical “art studio” because the house that I’m in, there’s people in it, so I adjust depending on the project, sometimes I work outside.

Much of your work has been inspired by the idiom “Written all over your face,” with the colors and patterns representing the emotions or ideas we might not freely express. Are there repeating symbols within your work that would allow the viewer to read what’s being expressed?

It has evolved into “Impression at first sight”, as we all have different upbringing and experiences, each piece evokes a different effect on the viewer. I do use a lot of symbols such as arrows, x, teardrops, ladder, and parallel lines combined with abstract colors, together they create a visual narrative that sums up life.

The blank canvas wrapped around Ohlala’s head denotes choosing your own destiny. What is a moment or choice that you can point to that has directly influenced turning you down that path you are on right now?

For me, it was when I quit all my day job in one day, having nothing but the love for creating for myself and not for others, giving myself the freedom to do what I want and to be where I wanted to be. And also that is the period where I am in the process of creating Ohlala, I knew I have something good in my hands so I dropped everything and focus on creating.

What led to creating the dolls and their playful mechanics like the swing? What materials did you experiment with along the way?

Since I’m working with wood, I searched and study what can I do to up my wooden doll game, I stumble upon automata sculptures by Paul Spooner and I’ve never been so excited to see Ohlala move and come to life. I use a 3d printer for some small parts, a motor in some pieces, and mostly wood even for the gears.

You’ve shared you didn’t have a lot of toys growing up and thus made your own which has influenced your artistic development. Are there any toys you wanted as a kid that you’ve treated yourself to now as an adult?

A lego set would be nice to have as a kid, I still don’t have it now but maybe in the future, main reason is that I don’t have any display cabinet, my cabinets are filled with tools and dust. I now enjoy artist’s toys, I just recently owned a Kaws sculpture from a trade which is nice.

Where did the name “Ohlala” come from?

I was born in Paris, France and was raised in the Philippines by my grandma, my parents are both overseas Filipino workers. Whenever my father go to the Philippines for vacation, I always hear him say “Ohlala” whenever he is mad at something. We all know that the term is an exclamation of surprise, sometimes with very strong sexual connotations, but my father use it as an expression of disappointment mostly directed at me, maybe that’s why it has been embedded in my mind.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

I look into gallery shows online and observe, watch films, and experience life.

 If your work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and name of the pint?

The Ohlala Ice cream flavor, it’s pistachio, mango and cheese with almond nuts, like Ohlala it’s weirdly cute.

Interview with Mando Marie for “Tell Me All About It”

Thinkspace Projects is honored to welcome Mando Marie back for her second solo show “Tell Me All About It.”

Bringing a contemporary edge to the innate elements of nostalgia, Mando works primarily with spray paint, stencils, and collage elements. She incorporates these elements of street art juxtaposed with the familiarity of the picture book-inspired world to create work that is both edgy and comforting. Her paintings frequently feature repetitive and mirrored imagery, eliciting a dream-like quality that is simultaneously pleasing and haunting.

In anticipation for “Tell Me All About It” our interview with Mando Marie discusses the magnetism of youth, her use of a rocking chair in the creative process, and wrestling with the inner critic.

For those not familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about your background and when you were introduced to Thinkspace?

Wow…it’s almost hard to remember that far back 😉  It’s been close to 15-16 years I’ve worked with Thinkspace. Is that even possible?  My first show was a group show about birds or something…maybe LC asked me.  I don’t remember, but I do remember that the paintings didn’t sell and they came back to me.  haha.   

Background … I started off in Colorado at RMCAD, there was an amazing group of artists and teachers in that era at that school.  I started showing with Andenken Gallery in Denver around the same time.  I also had a studio in their huge gallery building like a lot of awesome artists from that time in that town.  That’s really how I got my start and started having shows.  

 What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes or techniques were you exploring?

Well, my work is very personal, but I do think it speaks to themes that most people can relate to…love, death, relationship with self, relationship with others, time, nature, our animal nature as well.  I am definitely into reflected and twin imagery, I have been for a long time, but now I think I also like to do this thing where I pair a person with maybe their spirit (like a ghost) or with their future self (like a skeleton). 

Technique wise I can definitely feel myself improving my craft over time.  I’m a better brush painter and a better aerosol painter than I used to be…that’s just ‘miles on the brush’.  I do look back at older paintings though and feel like they had a kind of Stooges style Raw Power.  

There is a child-like whimsy to your work; how do you tap into your inner child?

There is whimsy, of course, but I think if someone looks at my work and only sees child-like, then they are missing the heft of the message.  I do tap that inner child, but I don’t know how I get there, or why I gravitate towards youth in my work … actually maybe I do know, youth is magnetic, and that helps explain why I’m drawn to it.  I think you can explore dangerous, brave, intense and important themes while still using youth to deliver the message…it’s maybe even better that way.  

What is your most favorite part of the creative process? What is the part of the creative process you could do without?

My favorite part is getting a little stoned or tipsy and sitting in my rocking chair staring and thinking about half completed works and how to bring them to the finish line.  The part I would say I least enjoy is the countless hours of drawing and redrawing and redrawing the stencils to get just the right feel and look for the characters…only to then cut it out, spray it out and decide I don’t really like it. 😉  Maybe there is a cathartic mantra hidden in there somewhere, but it’s still a drag.

How do you push yourself as an artist without compromising your point of view?

Part of pushing is just staying with it.  Another part though, and this is shallow but true, when I feel like others are appreciating my work, I feel more comfortable that I’m headed in a good direction.  People will soap box all day long that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you or your work, but speaking for myself, that just isn’t true.  As far as a point of view and not compromising…it’s hard to escape an internal critic, it’s also hard to be brave and jump off in a new direction when you’ve become sort of recognized for a style.  It becomes a question like ‘How do I grow as an artist without disrupting a visual language I’ve been building for so long?’  Right now, I’ve secretly been working on some more nudity and sexiness in paintings, but I’m too shy to really release that kraken on the world right now.

What is an assumption people make about your work? What do you think they would be surprised to find out?

An assumption that soccer moms make is that the work is perfect for their ‘kid’s room’.  I think these same moms would be surprised to find out that I feel like strangling them for saying that.  Of course I don’t mind at all if the paintings find homes in kid’s rooms, but if the collector can’t see beyond that surface … ugh, I feel like I’m not quite hitting as hard as I want.

You do a lot of traveling for your work/art; how has the past year influenced your work, and has anything shifted in your process that you think will be a lasting change?

Hahaha, I hardly travel at all anymore.  I’ve been so in love with the little farm I do with my partner, Hyland, in Portugal.  It’s called The Holdout.  We both just love The Holdout, it’s hard to leave.  So, yes this last year with COVID has been crazy, but we’ve been really lucky.  We just work on our land, and our cider (holdout cider) and quietly work on our work.  The lasting change I see, is that for both of us, we see this chapter as a lifelong project.

Do you remember your first mural? Where was the mural located, and what was the subject matter?

First major mural was the Azatlan skate park in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I won a grant from the city.   There were all of these meetings with the local skaters and they were really intimidating at first…complaining that my work wasn’t ‘skater enough’… I was very nervous.  In the end, though, that community really changed their tune…I camped out at the skatepark while I worked on it for days on end, and I think I really got some cred from the skaters for being so dedicated.  To this day it’s one of my favorite murals I’ve made.  It was a huge concrete monster eating a concrete truck and lots of stuff was stuck in the concrete, like a unicorn and a dumpster and a bunch of other stuff.  Now that I’m thinking about it…I really hope it’s still riding.  After I’m done with this interview, I’m going to see if I can find pictures.  

Do the book covers inspire the piece, or do you have a piece in mind and search out the perfect book cover?

I think you’re asking me about the Reading Girls series … the ones where there is a girl reading a book and her face is hidden by the cover.   Those are an ongoing series and I do them both as ‘piece in mind’ and also I do them as ‘choose your title’ commissions on request.  The commission ones have proven to be pretty cool, because people want titles I’ve never even heard of, and sometimes they are really challenging.  I do also though love to hunt down that perfect title and perfect edition with the perfect art on the perfect cover.

What are some of your favorite places to source found material to incorporate into your work? (You don’t have to name the exact spot)

Oh man, old Dutch comics.  Old photography journals.  Manga.  Old Spanish comics … The funny thing is that I’ll start a day out looking for images to source poses or interactions from and then 6 hours later I’m just mush on the floor in a pile of old graphic novels and comic books.    

What is one of your most memorable meals? It could have been the food, the company, or both that made it an unforgettable meal.

Andrew, you’re fishing and I know it mister!!  I had a very nice meal once with you and Shaun and Hyland in Switzerland.  We had just finished up a long day at SCOPE fair Basel and we didn’t really know each other personally too good at that point and it was a really nice time in a really cool place and Shaun and I had quite a few barley pops.  On the way home, Hyland and I went to a dance party at a squat camp close to the fair and then it started raining and everyone hid under the trailers and caravans.  When it stopped raining, the remaining party people started singing a musical number from some musical I didn’t know, but it was still so fucking awesome.  I think they were part of a local troupe or something.  Cool night. 

Opening Reception:
Saturday, May 1, 2021 from 3:00-8:00pm
*Masks and social distancing required

Interview with Millo for “At The Crack of Dawn”

Thinkspace Projects is proud to present a new solo exhibition “At The Crack of Dawn” from Italian artist, Millo who will effectively be bringing a bit of new Italian culture to Los Angeles.

This exhibition, from internationally renowned muralist Millo, is a collection of works in his signature predominantly black and white style. With detailed monochrome cityscapes and color pops to highlight the subjects, Millo creates the moment just before waking in a series of breathtaking scenes. The friendly inhabitants of each scene float above their urban settings displaying a blend of dream and reality. He crafts giant characters who are out of scale and often clumsy, confined to an urban habitat that forces them to invent new ways to live.

In anticipation of ‘At The Crack of Dawn’, our interview with Millo discusses how he taps into his imagination, early morning sketches, and more than a few memorable meals.

For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a bit about your background and when you were first introduced to Thinkspace?

I was born in 1979 in a small village in the southern part of Italy, I lived and studied there until  I moved when I was 18 years old to study architecture in Pescara where I’m still living. I have always drawn since I was a child, but I didn’t attend any art school, it was just my constant passion, my safe escape.

When I graduated, the economic crisis was hitting hard in Italy so work was not so easy to find and I focused more and more on painting and creating, and in the end little by little, what was supposed to remain only a side part of my life, became my whole life.

Thinkspace is so well known, even if I live on the other side of the globe, if you are in this field you know the gallery for sure!Andrew wrote to me 2years ago! He saw my previous show at the Dorothy Circus gallery and asked me if I was interested in having a solo in US… you know the answer!

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes or techniques were you exploring?

I had the chance during my career to investigate different aspects and themes through the creations of my murals.
Most of them deal with the will of empowering our feelings and our behavior towards each other and the whole system we live in.

My giant characters always out of scale and a bit clumsy, live in a chaotic urban habitat that gives them no easy space to move or interact and at the same time, forces them to invent new ways to live. Beyond this visible explanation, there’s in each work a multiple layers of meanings, interpretations and messages.

The urban setting, it’s a hidden critic to cities nowadays, inhuman and gray. The characters play our role by adapting themselves in a landscape avulsed and difficult, rediscovering step by step the pureness of simple acts. At the crack of dawn uses the same language to speak about the unconscious. It’s undeniable that what we all have experienced in these last 365 days has deeply affected not only my way of living but also my way of thinking and expressing my feelings. The initial shock of being merely stuck and scared gave me the time to recollect the topics of my imagination, and to focus deeply on what we were all simultaneously doing: dreaming, and what stands beside this process totally captured my thoughts and drove me along a new expressive path.

At the crack of dawn, it’s about a particular moment that I think everyone experiences, the instant between the dark and the light of the day, when the eyes are slowly opening but the dreams are still there. All the images I realized comes from there and so I think it may appear a little different from my works on murals. These new bodies of work are without the daylight filter, the excessive thoughts, they are something raw, straight from my dreams. I know I’m quite known for my black and white style, in this solo, there are definitely more colors and much more details, both in the background as in the characters.

What was your favorite way to expand your imagination in your youth? What is your favorite way to expand your imagination today? 

As a teenager, I spent literally a loooot of time listening to music and playing instruments, which for sure helped me a lot to project myself into another reality. Don’t forget the place I come from is very very small, and this, unfortunately, means not so much to do and having something to do even if it was just playing with friends or drawing all day,  it was the best way to expand my imagination.

Now, traveling is my favorite way and when it’s not possible, I’m a big fan of documentaries, I always look forward to discovering new habits, new perspectives.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Sketching, it’s the first thing I do in the morning, still in my pajamas, with no coffee. I just slide from the bed to the kitchen table and I start to draw. It’s a kind of unconscious behavior, and that’s the part I prefer the most and that’s for sure where I got my best ideas.

Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever had a lucid dream – a dream where you could control what was going on?  

Yes, I remember my dreams, not always but quite often. And yes, a few times I had the ability to control what was going on in my dreams. It was a very unique feeling.

Are there any new habits or even shifted perspectives/priorities due to the last year that you will continue into the future?

I’ve been traveling quite a lot in the last 10 years, and this forced stop gave me the time to recollect all the memories and I would like to keep this behavior even once a month. Just checking in on what I’ve really done, the people that I had the chance to meet, and the things I liked or disliked.

You’ve been around the world painting murals; what was one of your favorite places to visit, and what about that location, the people, atmosphere, or culture that makes it so special?

It’s very hard to pick one, each place for me has its own memories and peculiarities. Maybe I have to say China, cause it’s the place where I stopped for the longest period. I’ve been there 3 times and each time for one month, it never happened to me to stop for so long in one place. It’s been a really immersive experience, into the culture, the history, the food…I definitely loved their curiosity and their pure and unique way to go over the language difficulties and communicate, no matter how hard it was, they always tried to communicate with me.

Do you remember your first mural? Where was the mural located, and what was the subject matter?

My first big mural was in a small town in Italy, m…they invited me to paint a very particular surface, half on a wall in bricks, half on the ground, and on the wall was full of caper plants. So, I decided to draw a giant naked character eating the plants. The old ladies of the village were laughing so loud for the naked part of the protagonist that made it unforgettable!

What is one of your most memorable meals? It could have been the food, the company, or both that made it an unforgettable meal.

This is soooo hard, I’ve got a long list of favorite meals, and I’m also Italian, you know how seriously we take this!
so just to say a few of them:
-Mapotofu in China
-Kinkhali from Georgia
-Shashlik from Ukraine
-Raw fish with coconut in Tahiti
-Couscous in Morocco.
I could go on for an hour at least.
Yes, most of these dishes were shared with my girlfriend or with other artists and for sure they made it more unforgettable.

If there was a machine to record your dreams so you could play them back, but you had to give up one of your five senses to own/ use one, would you want the dream recorder? If so, which one of your 5 senses would you sacrifice? Maybe I would give up the smell…as it’s already not so good. hahahahaha!

Opening Reception:
Saturday, May 1, 2021 from 3:00-8:00pm
*Masks and social distancing required

Interview with Giorgiko for their upcoming exhibition “What Is (and what is not)”

Thinkspace Projects is proud to present Giorgiko’s ‘What is and what is not’ Created by husband and wife team Darren and Trisha Inouye, a pair known in the art world as Giorgiko, ‘What is (and what is not)’ is a result of the 2020 apocalypse.

A perfect pairing, Trisha brings a cuteness and sweet innocence to Giorgiko’s characters while Darren incorporates an underground influence stemming from his love of hip hop dancing and graffiti. Together, blending and juxtaposing street and cute, they create the Giorgiko universe, full of relatable images for wanderers of all ages.

In anticipation of ‘What is (and what is not)’, our interview with Giorgiko discusses shifts and reflections they made in 2020, the importance of embracing ‘ugly’, and how art is a prayer.

“Horizon Light” was the last opening before the pandemic hit. The themes you were exploring in that exhibition were light and dark, the calm before the storm. Little did we know the storm we were about to be headed into as we’d collectively experience our first pandemic. How has navigating this past year been like for you two?

We did find the theme and timing of our “Horizon Light” show very significant. It was our last show before LA went into lockdown and normalcy was completely disrupted. Navigating this past year was very difficult, as we imagine it has been for everyone else also. We found ourselves put into a position where we just had to deal with the hand we were dealt. There were so many things that we had planned and hoped for that we had to question. We weren’t sure whether to let those things go or to hold onto them all the more tightly. But all these reactions and decisions helped us to uncover deeper truths about ourselves. 2020 was challenging, but also refining.

Your art education studio, Rainbow Art, had to shift to online classes during the pandemic. What has been the response? Do you plan to continue with the virtual classes when everything opens up to full capacity?

Our journey with Rainbow Art is one of the areas of our life that has been really challenging, yet refining. Our school had been expanding, and we had so many plans for growth prior to the lockdown. Initially, we transitioned to online classes with much optimism. We believed that it was going to be well received and even an exciting new market to tap into. But due to many different factors, online classes didn’t work out for us. After several months of online classes and expending all our resources trying to keep the business afloat, we finally made the decision to close the school. At this point in time, we don’t have any solid plans for what Rainbow Art may look like if we were to restart it, or when the right timing for reopening might be. And yet, we feel like this whole past year has allowed us to reevaluate and refine so many important things: the mission of the school, the mode of teaching, the nature of our programs, and how to move forward with authenticity.

One of the characters in your work, Jay, is based on your friend and fellow artist, Jowaan Sullivan. What is the influence this character has on the world you paint, and how has Jowaan made an impact on your own lives?

We have always wanted to introduce characters based on real people and/or representing real people’s stories and experiences, and the creation of Jay is a big step in that direction. Up until we created him, Wonder was the only character that was really solidified in who she was and what she represented. Our friend Jowaan has always been a person that we have been inspired by. Jowaan is a very talented and charismatic friend, but what is most amazing about him is his heart. He somehow retains a heart of tenderness, gentleness, and purity despite the deep sadness he has experienced in his life. So much of what Jowaan inspires in us is what we hope to convey through the stories of Jay, Wonder, and our other characters.

Are all the figures in your work inspired by people you know?

Just a handful of our characters are based on people we know. Many of our characters are our explorations of ideas, representations of feelings, manifestations of our experiences, or just funny things that make us laugh.

Do you have a ritual to tap into creative flow? How do you structure (or not structure) your days in the studio?

Trisha: I work from home most days of the week, so it takes me a while to settle down my usually frenzied mind and body. A clean desk, coffee, and music are little pleasures that help me ease into that creative flow or power through administrative work. I love creating at the studio because the space already promotes that working energy.  Meanwhile, it takes effort to stop and switch gears when I’m at home. It helps me to move slowly as I gather my wits and my things, clear my workspace, and say a quick prayer before I start. 

Darren: Painting is a multi-faceted procedure. There is a ritual in planning my goals for the month, week, and day in order to facilitate the prep, setup, execution, and finish of each painting. With the plan established, I can put the pressures and stresses aside to focus on meeting my daily goals and enjoy the process of creating.

Who are a few of your creative influences? How have they inspired you and your work? (Creative influences do not have to be strictly painting/ fine art related)

Trisha: I am inspired by children’s books. I love that words and images can play off each other in a way that can be simple yet lovely, clever, and rich in meaning. When the pandemic started, I got some digital library cards, and I’ve been reading e-books regularly since then. “The Phantom Tollbooth” was one of my favorites from last year, and I still think about its silly, profound words about conflict, reason, and the importance of learning. Reading is such a pleasure, and it really gets the imagination going.

Darren: I find myself endlessly inspired by the stories and trials of humanity. I love documentaries of all sorts but find particular interest in historical documentaries as the lessons learned are just as relevant today as they were in the past.

What advice would you give to artists trying to find their voice or style?

Darren: I would highly encourage them to not be afraid of creating an “ugly” piece of artwork. When they create a piece of artwork they don’t like, they should hold onto it so that they can figure out what they don’t like about it. For me, I didn’t find my “style” of painting until after I graduated from ArtCenter. In hindsight, this is a great regret, because the main reason I didn’t find my style was that I was too preoccupied with impressing people, or at the very least avoiding creating something people would find “ugly”. I had to create a lot of “ugly” pieces in order to really figure out what I liked and didn’t like.

In various ways, a white-collar is seen throughout your work, sometimes resembling the costumes of the French clown character Pierrot or a more structured ruff used by nobility between the mid 16th – 17th century. It’s very distinct and different from the more casual street attire your figures predominately wear. Can you expand on the use of white collars in your work?

We draw a lot of inspiration from both classical paintings and street culture. We always felt like our characters were lost in space and time, or at least perceived themselves that way. We enjoy showing that through anachronistic or oddly juxtaposed elements, including ruffs and other historical clothing. We find it interesting that people throughout history have experienced and continue to experience the same inner feelings, regardless of culture or background. Neither the clown, nor the graffiti artist, nor the ruff-wearing nobleman with a cookie in hand are exempt from the experiences of love, grief, insecurity, or hope.

You’ve shared before that your artwork is a prayer. What are in your prayers currently?

Darren: The idea that creating artwork is like a physical manifestation of our personal prayers is a more recent revelation. I find that the different struggles I see in the world are reflected in myself. This naturally influences our work to where we aren’t painting definitive statements, but are rather creating images of our hopes, questions, and struggles. I find myself wrestling with what I believe as I paint the images, in the same way that I wrestle with God in my prayers. My prayers are twofold, and a representation of the things I cannot control. On one hand, I find myself praying for things like the turmoil I see in the world. And on the other hand, I find myself praying for the turmoil I see in myself. As I pray for both those things, I just get a strong sense of a need for God in all of life.

Trisha: My prayers are for gentleness in conflict, for kindness toward the small, for humbleness in the unknowing, and for love that heals.

Pretend the rules of time and space are suspended, and you can instantly have whatever you want for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert at the snap of your fingers. What’s on the menu for the day, and is it from a particular restaurant or made by a certain person?

Trisha: For breakfast, The Urth Breakfast (fresh bread, cheese, butter, and jam) and a Spanish Latte from Urth Caffe. For lunch, the Spicy Seafood Yaki Udon from Kaiba. For dinner, my mama’s homemade Korean anything. For dessert, Rose H2O ice cream from Cauldron. In a puffle cone and shaped into a rose please.

Darren: For breakfast, a lox bagel. For lunch, the steak plate and ginger brew from Tender Greens. For dinner, combined with dessert, IHOP’s Pancake combo: two chocolate chip pancakes with raspberry syrup, two eggs over easy, 1 strip of bacon, 1 sausage link, and hash browns.

April 3, 2021 – April 24, 2021

Opening Reception:
Saturday, April 3, 2021
12:00-6:00pm
*Masks and social distancing required