Interview with Daniel Weintraub (aka Halopigg) for ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ | Exhibition June 1 – June 22, 2024

“Works in the show will be themed as “friendship” but I did let everyone know that just being in the show is a sign of friendship to me and I couldn’t ask for anything more.” –Halopigg

Thinkspace is honored to be hosting ‘With A Little Help From My Friends,’ our first group exhibition curated by our very own Daniel Weintraub, aka ‘Halopigg’ in the streets! “Daniel has been a part of the Thinkspace Family for ages now and we’re excited to let him flex his curator chops with this special show bringing together a collection of creatives that have helped usher him into the art world, that he now calls home. Halo (for short) is the quintessential good guy, the friend you always want around to hype you up and put you in a good mood. Historian. Archivist. Collector of many things. A walking street art encyclopedia who is always up for an adventure and someone who I am honored to call a close friend and am so blessed to have as a member of our gallery family. Captain Positivity.” – Andrew Hosner

Our interview with Halopigg reveals how he met each one of the artists from the group show he curated, about his collections, what’s on top of his bucket list, and more!

Photo by Willie T

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to live in Los Angeles?

10 years ago, I decided to move to New York City to get into the art world. Did that for a few years and was tired of being broke so I moved to California to sell legal cannabis. That got me to Northern California, and after a few years of living there I decided it was time to transfer down to Los Angeles because all of my art homies were here. About a year later the entire company I worked for was laid off and I decided to head over to Thinkspace and pitch Andrew on hiring me. It’s been about 2 1/2 years and I’ve been loving it ever since.

How did you first get involved with Thinkspace Projects? What is your role at Thinkspace, and what does a typical day look like for you?

The first time I ever worked with Thinkspace Projects was back in 2013. I had just left my job at a brewery in New Hope, Pennsylvania and was figuring out how to get into the art world. I saw that Thinkspace was doing a show in Philadelphia and so I hit up Andrew to see if he needed any help with installation. I came through, smoked about five blunts with Andrew, and we’ve been friends and sort of co-workers ever since. The following year when I lived in New York City, Thinkspace hired me to work for them at Scope art fair, and they would also hire me out at Pow!Wow! Hawaii for art handling.

My role at Thinkspace is very multifaceted, but if you had to boil it down to one thing, I buy the snacks for my co-workers.

Photo by Birdman

What are some of your favorite art galleries or museums outside of Thinkspace?

Hashimoto Contemporary/Spoke Art, Control Gallery/Beyond the Streets, Superchief Gallery, Straat Museum, and a whole bunch more I’m forgetting.

How did you get started with your love and appreciation for art/art collecting?
What was your 1st original art purchase?

I’ve been a collector since I was about five years old. It started with stamps moved onto pogs and baseball cards then magic cards then glass art then Shepard Fairey street art prints and then it got crazy from there. My first original art purchase was a Josh Simpson glass marble, and my first street art purchase was a Shepard Fairey WK interact print I got in Tokyo 2007. My first street art original was a C215 stencil piece I got directly off him on Facebook in 2008.

How much artwork do you have up on your walls/displayed in your entire apartment? Can you share a story about a piece of art that holds special significance to you?
And what piece of art would you love to add to the Halopigg collection?

In my apartment I have approximately 150 art pieces hung on the walls, about 15 three-ring binders and about 13 portfolios. Many pieces share many significant memories to me, I can’t pick just one. I would love to add an original Banksy or even a signed print to my collection, he was already way too expensive by the time I started collecting.

Other than artwork what else do you collect?

The main thing that I collect this day is Art, but I do have a couple different types of art I collect. Most of my collection consists of prints, stickers, ephemera, show cards, clothing, originals, and other stuff I’m sure I am forgetting. Oh, and I guess I collect t-shirts since I haven’t thrown one away since middle school.

What is your top food recommendation in LA?

Go get a ‘California burrito’ at Cilantro Grill in the valley. Yes, it’s in a gas station. Yes, it’s the best burrito in Los Angeles.

“It’s the best burrito no cap as the kids say!” – Halopigg

What is something weird or quirky people don’t know about you that you’d like to share?

I’m an introvert until I’m around all my introvert friends, then I’m not. I also have close to a photographic memory, but I think most people have figured that by now….

How did you meet everyone on your group show?

I met Swoon when I bought a piece off of her in 2011 and then we reconnected at an Art Basel for her birthday party in 2015. I met RAE by finding a lot of his art in the streets in New York City and then eventually, we linked up to do some, illegal street installations together. I met Rabi when he was painting a mural in the Bushwick Collective back in 2015. He came to my birthday party with a pizza, and we’ve been homies ever since. I met Cinta Vidal at Pow!Wow! Long Beach when she was painting a mural and having a solo show at Thinkspace. I met Faring Purth at Wall Therapy, my favorite mural festival in Rochester NY. Her, myself, Roa and a group of young children had a very close call involving fire. To say it was a memorable experience would be an understatement. I met Jason Pulgarin through a mutual friend, Johnathan “Johnny” Lawton. We were both at a Shepard Fairey opening in 2015 in NYC and next thing you know we are hanging out together in this tiny little late night spot shooting the shit with each other and some local drunks. Crazy night, ask me in person and I’ll share the details with ya!  I met Case Maclaim in Brooklyn I think, and then we had our month-long trip to Hawaii together in 2014. It was super fun. I met Kristin Farr at 1XRun’s Murals In the Market festival in Detroit and then she let me stay at her house on one of my cross-country road trips. I met The London Police at the Wooster Collective 10 Year Anniversary show at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City 2013. I met Amy Sol when she had a solo show with Thinkspace at the Scope Art Fair in New York City I believe that was 2014. I met Faith47 and Cern in NYC 2012 when Rom from Street Art News introduced us. We went to DALeast’s solo show and then the next day we all did a Russian bathhouse together. We’ve been homies ever since. I met Carmen at the Hijinx Christmas dinner in 2021. When I needed to find a new 420 friendly living arrangement Carmen found me a spot in her building. I met Ozzie Juarez because him and Andrew were curating a show together and we’ve been art-braining it ever since. I met Thievin’ Stephen at Wall Therapy in Rochester New York in 2013. I’ve spent weeks in total crashing on his couch for various festivals and Roc trips and he spent a month on my couch in Bushwick rocking an insane mural. I met Insane 51 at the Blink Festival in Cincinnati in 2022 while he was painting one of his maaaaaaasive murals. I met Layqa Nuna Yawar in 2013 in Brooklyn when I was starting to go up to just hang out and meet artists and kick it. He was painting a mural in Brooklyn with five other artists, and I spent the day watching paint dry and making friends. Met Marina Capdevila in Miami at Art Basel in 2015 I believe. That’s where we’ve had most of our adventures over the years. We also partied pretty hard together in Montreal at Mural, that was super fun. I met Shepard Fairey for the first time at his Mayday show at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in 2008. Additionally, I’ve probably met about 30 or 40 other Obey collectors that I now consider friends because of Shepard, mostly off the old message board TheGiant.Org I met Marina Zumi at Art Basel Miami, I want to say 2014 or 15. One year she hired me for a mural festival as a photographer, thank you for the gig. Then a year later, on my first night in Miami, I was a little out of it, and I thought that she had these laser beams at an art show. Turns out they were actually LED string light strips and not laser beams, and you can’t run your hand through string lights. I’m sorry Zumi, muas forever.

How do you stay connected with the broader art community in LA?

I stay connected with the community by going to shows, encouraging people to come out to our shows, engaging in social media, and just by knowing my shit. If you know your shit, you’re enthusiastic about it, and you’re a positive being, people will keep including you in things.

What is your most memorable Art Basel experience? Have you ever “Over-Baseled?”

Basel is always a memorable experience for me, I’ve had so many good times there over the years. To me, Miami Art Basel week to me is like summer camp. You get to see all your friends whose parents force them to go to summer camp. There are a ton of activities, some indoor, some outdoor and I personally love to engage in all of them. Some people go to camp because they love it, others only go because they have to. I love being there amongst all my homies whether they wanna be there or not! Over-Baseling is the only way I know.

What’s on your bucket list?

Finally making the Travel Street Art TV show that I and my best friends tried to pitch a few years back with me as host and my homies as guests. We got all the way to committee at a few of the largest talent agencies in LA but they all said the same thing, there is no money in art documentary type shows (crying emoji).

If you had a super power what would it be?

It would be the ability to fly so I could see as much of the world as possible. I currently have a list of cities where I know at least one art homie living and it is damn near 100 places. Flying would rule so much.

How did you get the nickname Halopigg?

The name came from the old AOL instant messenger days, and the band Nine Inch Nails. In the late 90’s my parents would allow me to sign up for a free 30/60-day trial of America Online, the early internet. You had to come up with a screen name to chat and at the time I was really into NIN. All releases by the band would be numbered Halo 1, Halo 2, etc. Their album, The Downward Spiral, had two songs about pigs and I always loved pigs so I combined halo and pig and had the name Halopig. When it came time to cancel the free subscription and sign up again I had come to like the name. I decided to add a 2nd G since phonetically it would be the same. It was then that I got an email address with “Halopigg” included and it’s been my online moniker ever since.

With A Little Help From My Friends‘ opens Saturday June 1, 2024 from 6pm – 10pm.

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