Interview with Gustavo Rimada for “Intersections” | Exhibition on view February 5 -February 26 at Thinkspace Projects

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Gustavo Rimada as part of our new group exhibition, “Intersections”. The exhibition is a solo show for each artist in their own right, and continues to build on their momentum into 2022. Each artist’s work is unified by storytelling, displaying an array of memories and experiences within the walls of the gallery.

Gustavo Rimada brings the perspective of his own ancestry to the show. This body of work is part of an on-going series from Rimada, which tells a story about how our ancestors connect with us. “Whether it’s celebrating Dia de los Muertos in my work or telling old folk stories about our ancestors returning to nature, my goal is to create a space where you can feel the connection and spirit between nature and the afterlife.” This series is heavily influenced by his culture, emphasizing the connection between humans and nature from the day they are born to the day they pass away. With these works, Rimada aims to translate that journey, aiding viewers in understanding.

In our interview with Gustavo Rimada he shares with us words of wisdom for a young artist, how Palm Springs and his culture has influenced his work, and what you can find him doing when not painting.

Can you share with us a little bit about your upbringing and where you are currently creating?

Hi yes, I was born in Mexico migrated to the US when I was 7 with my mother brother, and sisters. I grew up in Indio CA , after high school I moved to Fairbanks Alaska after joining the Army . It was there that I started to paint again after seeing Juxtapoz Mag & Hi-Fructose. About 12 years ago I decided to move back to the desert to start my art career, I’ve bounced around a Southern Cal from LA to San Diego and now once again I am in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs to be exact, where I work in my home studio.

What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes have you been exploring in your work?

Like most of my work, I am heavily influenced by my culture the colors the patterns the beautiful landscape/ nature. This body of work is also inspired by my culture’s spirituality and folklore. Because I have spent the past 4 years in Palm Springs where modernism and simplicity is around me my work has taken a more cleaner / simpler theme.

Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working in your studio?

We’ll I am a very routine artist my day-to-day after I wake up around noon or 1 pm is to decompress a bit for about an hour before driving to grab some coffee downtown PS. When I get home I try to grab a bite before starting, I paint on and off for about 4-5 hours until around 10 pm when my family heads to bed, and I paint up until 5 am while watching some of my favorite films/documentaries. Somewhere in between paint sessions, I like to go for a drive to just listen to music and focus on my tasks especially if I’m feeling a little bit of artist block. 

What’s in your “artistic toolbox”? Are you particular about brands that you use?

When I comes to paint yes I only paint with acrylics, the brand I only use is Liquitex Heavy Bodypaint. For brushes I don’t have a particular favorite I tend to beat up brushes fairly quickly so they all seem the same from the most expensive to the least expensive. However, Trekell brushes are really easy to acquire they are a small company too so I buy those a lot. I use Trekell panes as well but the best panels I can buy are sourced locally here in Cathedral City at Custom stretched canvas super high-quality stuff.

How do you like to unwind outside of the studio? Do you have a process for sourcing and/or keeping track of your inspiration?

Outside of the studio, I hit museums as much as possible but on a daily basis, I watch my favorite films, and like I said in one of the other questions I love to drive and listen to music especially certain songs really put me in a place that inspires me to create.

What was on your playlist while creating this new body of work?

I listen to a lot of different music but my go-to when working on more culturally themed paintings is music from artists like Vicente Fernandez, Natalia LaFourcade, Juan Gabriel, Selena etc… classic rock like Pink Floyd, Les Zepplin, pretty much any Rock in the 70s and of course hip hop I am a 90s kid so anything in that era is always on my playlist.

Most artists express themselves creatively as a child, but there is a moment when a shift occurs from just being creatively inclined to be more artistically minded – do you know when that moment was for you?

Yes, I remember being chosen to work on a huge banner in middle school for the local zoo the program was after school for kids who were artistic and I remember the people in charge were really impressed and encouraged me to continue that moment has always felt like the beginning for me, but my mom always talks about moments as a kid where she can see that art was in my future but what mother doesn’t say that lol.

Have you ever worked outside creating public murals? If not, would you be interested in pursuing one day?

I’ve done 3 murals only, two in a restaurant it took me way too long and another through Thinkspace for PowWow Antelope Valley and yes I enjoyed it very much, it was a short timeline so it was difficult for me since I paint really slow despite contrary belief. I would totally do it again it was such a great e pero and I learned a lot.

What words of wisdom would you share with your past self when you were just starting to create art? Is there anything in your artistic journey that you wish you may have done differently? 

I wish I would have taken things more seriously early on in my life whether it was high school or college. I wish I would have been more eager to learn about art history and different movements. Instead today, I find myself doing a lot of research which I love but being a better student is something I wish I was growing up. 

What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?

To be 100% honest I am such a homebody and because I am so fortunate to be able to work from home it really wasn’t much of a change. However, I do feel terrible for those whose businesses went under, and for those who have to follow protocols daily, I couldn’t wear that mask all day. My heart always goes out to the healthcare industry the doctors and nurses on the frontlines I have it infinitely easier than them and I am beyond grateful for their sacrifice and hard work during this never-ending pandemic.

What big projects do you have coming up in 2022 and 2023 that you’d like to share more about?

We’ll there’s one that I just wrapped up and that was doing the key art for one of my favorite series on Netflix Narcos Mexico. It was beyond amazing to see them using my art for marketing and even did a massive billboard in Times Square which I was lucky enough to go see in person with my wife and daughter. In 2022 I have the 4 person show with Thinkspace, after that, I am in a couple of group shows and late in 2022 I have a solo at Antler Gallery in Portland OR. There are a few commissions sprinkled in 2022 but once I am all done with that I want to finish a series of paintings that I have been postponing for years now it was originally supposed to be painted for Greg Escalante’s gallery in Chinatown but after his passing, I set it aside. I never seem to have the adequate time to finish it so unfortunately it keeps getting pushed back but the goal is to finally finish it. The series is based on Alice in Wonderland but with a Mexican twist.

Gustavo Rimada Artist Statement

This body of work is an ongoing series I am working on where I am telling a story about how our ancestors connect with us. Whether it’s celebrating Dia de los Muertos in my work or telling old folk stories about our ancestors returning in nature. My goal is to create a space where you can feel the connection & spirit between nature and the afterlife. It is a series that is heavily influenced by my culture, the tones are meant to create a space where the subject is the focus. We are all connected with nature from the time we are born to the day we pass and this is my way of translating that journey.

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