Inside Giorgiko’s studio as they prepare for “What Is (and what is not)”

Inside the studio of artist duo Giorgiko while they prepare for their exhibition “What Is (and what is not)” showing at Thinkspace Projects from April 3, 2021 – April 24, 2021

“What Is (and what is not)” draws on experiences of the last year and the word itself. A weighted word, just hearing “apocalypse” conjures imagery, imagery that Giorgiko has drawn on and specified creating a series that is hauntingly beautiful and relevant. The etymological root of the word “apocalypse” is the Greek word “apokálypsis”, which means “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. The husband and wife duo incorporates this definition, revealing truths about our world while maintaining a sense of whimsy.

Video by Birdman

Inside the studio of Brad Woodfin as he prepares for ‘Glad You’re Here’

Inside the studio of Brad Woodfin’s while he prepares for his exhibition ‘Glad You’re Here‘ showing at Thinkspace Projects from April 3, 2021 – April 24, 2021

“‘Glad You’re Here’ is influenced by the moods and colors of certain old songs, how they can be sort of soft and spacious but at the same time be sort of devastating. I named the paintings after real old songs, I made them to sound like old songs. It’s devotional, it’s a bit sentimental and a bit dark and I love all those things.”

Video by Birdman

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

Interview with Brad Woodfin for his upcoming exhibition “Glad You’re Here”

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Brad Woodfin’s ‘Glad You’re Here,’ a solo exhibition inspired by songs from decades ago.

His portraits of creatures, rendered carefully on a rich dark background, evoke the portraits from the Dutch Golden Age. The posture of his subjects and his use of light combine to bestow each species with an almost religious reverence. With reverence for his subjects, Brad favours expression and mood over academic documentation.

In anticipation of ‘Glad You’re Here, our interview with Brad Woodfin discusses how Marion Peck has influenced his artistic journey, what he hopes the afterlife is like, and the power of patience.

For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your artistic background? How did you come to work with Thinkspace?

I studied printmaking at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. I worked almost exclusively with one teacher and also was the lab aide in the printmaking studio so I was spending close to forty hours a week doing printmaking. My last year there I switched to painting. The first time I worked with Thinkspace was in 2012 in the Wild At Heart group show. In 2019 Andrew invited me to show at the LAX/MSY group show and since then I have been doing a few group shows a year with Thinkspace.

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

Themes in my work have been pretty consistent since the beginning and I feel like I am just digger deeper wells so to speak. Widening the circles. I wouldn’t say that I always know exactly what I’m doing and I don’t want that to sound like some woo-woo artist-speak, like I am led by some divine force, I just feel like I am still figuring it out. Some artists can speak definitively about what they do and why. I can’t. II love devotional art and at it’s best that’s what I want my work to be, as broad as that may sound.. I think about how grief buzzes along with us at all times. I’ve been listening to old songs from the twenties through the fifties, and old opera recordings and poetry from that era and I love how they talked about being blue and a certain sadness that has a soft quality to it but is also really honest and it can be so heartbreaking, simple and devastating. I don’t long for old times, as a queer man I know they are problematic, but that same blue feeling exists today and I wanted to share that in those same ways. The quietness. The antique colour palette. The silence between notes and words. This body of work begins to show some signs of symbolism and elements of what I would call “folk”. I think of the folk elements as being a bit flatter and simpler and more iconographic.

Who are a few of your creative influences? How have they inspired you and your work?

Marion Peck is a friend and a mentor. I was lucky enough to meet her years ago and she showed me what an artist is. I love her paintings, but it was also that she was the coolest person I had met. I was painting but I knew nothing about what I was doing. I saw her put-together shows in her apartment. Her amazing paintings pinned to her walls. I was in awe but also saw how it worked. The romance of it and the alchemy. She was my Patti Smith. She was punk and wild and so talented and exotic and such a force. Meeting her for sure changed my life. I love the work of Northern Renaissance, Surrealists, the Situationist International, Alexander McQueen but I think being inspired how to live, create, think and work by Marion Peck or reading Just Kids by Patti Smith has a sort of “whole package” vibe
that I really take to.

What is a day in the studio like? Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative
flow?

I love riding my bike. If there is an afterlife and I end up on the right side of things I will be high on a bike riding through Montréal on a summer night for eternity. So I start and finish each day with a bike ride. I finish work in time for happy hour and I never work at night. If I find the right record to listen to while I work I will often just keep it on repeat all day. I love podcasts too.

What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you to grow as an artist?

“Heart Murmurs” was the most challenging painting in this show. It’s really literal. It is a bit like using a new language by introducing the heart and bell. It was inspired by the saying “The brain is the chasm, the heart is the bridge”. Speaking a new language can be embarrassing and it feels like that a bit. I think it helped me grow as I chose to put it in the show. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been honest about the painting’s subject, which is sort of funny that the painting put me in that predicament.

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

I love when I have a painting already started and I can just go in the studio and continue. I sometimes don’t love starting a new painting.

Your CV is very prolific but doesn’t start until 2008; based on when you attended college, it implies perhaps there was 14 years of development and cultivation before momentum hit. Could you tell us about the time between college and that 2008 show at Atelier Gallery?

When I finished school I didn’t know if I would do art and I was barely painting. I was playing in bands and I worked at a record store in Seattle and this is when I really got to know Marion Peck. Right before I moved to Montréal I sent an email to Atelier Gallery in Vancouver, BC because he showed The Royal Art Lodge paintings, which I loved and he gave me a show. That’s when I started to really work on painting and I had a lot of work to do to get better. I was lucky to show lots in those first 10 years as it forced me to work.

What advice would you give to the impatient artist? Or the artist still looking for their voice and style?

I would say focus on one thing and work as much as you can. I am the least patient person and the art world moves so slow, but I have learned that things I thought I was ready for, I really wasn’t.

If you were given the power to master any skill or become an expert in any subject you wanted within a 24 hour period what would you focus on?

I would want to be a builder who could do all things like electrical, plumbing, tile work, mosaics, plaster, woodworking. I love interior design and I wish I could do all of it.

If you could have dinner with five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would they
be? What would be on the menu? And what is your ice breaker question?

Alexander McQueen, Salvador Dali and Gala, Yaeji, Mamma Andersson. Vegan Pizza and champagne.
What are you working on?

April 3, 2021 – April 24, 2021

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

Giorgiko’s exhibition ‘What is and what is not’ debuts this April

GIORGIKO
What Is (and what is not)

April 3, 2021 – April 24, 2021

Continuing this year of poignant exhibitions, Thinkspace 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.

The exhibition draws on experiences of the last year and the word itself. A weighted word, just hearing “apocalypse” conjures imagery, imagery that Giorgiko has drawn on and specified creating a series that is hauntingly beautiful and relevant. The etymological root of the word “apocalypse” is the Greek word “apokálypsis”, which means “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”.  The husband and wife duo incorporates this definition, revealing truths about our world while maintaining a sense of whimsy. 

“2020 revealed much of what was hidden in us — both things that brought us hope and things that deeply grieved us.  ‘What is and what is not’, as a body of work, explores the various questions raised and revelations experienced by so many during that tumultuous year.”

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.

‘What is and what is not’ opens April 3, 2021. On view until April 24, 2021 at Thinkspace Projects.

About Giorgiko

Giorgiko (pronounced jee-OR-jee-koh) is the product of a collaborative experiment between husband-and-wife duo Darren and Trisha Inouye. Their work ranges from minimal character illustration to large-scale classical painting, with a sprinkling of Los Angeles street culture. The Giorgiko universe began in 2012 with a simple story of a pink-haired girl and is now home to lost boys, wayfaring girls, and mysterious dogs. Darren and Trisha’s work explores the stories of their wanderings and their dreams of being found again. Darren and Trisha first met during orientation at their alma mater ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. They sat next to each other in Design 1, and the rest is history. Darren and Trisha reside in the greater Los Angeles area with their twin children.