Interview with RYOL for “Caught in the Art” | Exhibition on view January 7 – January 28, 2023

Thinkspace is pleased to present Ryol’s (aka Ryo Laksamana) new body of work, Caught in the Art in Gallery I.

The exhibition fills the space with paintings that showcase how light is the most fundamental element in the visual arts. Light becoming the experimental medium in Ryo’s new series of oil paintings.

Our interview with Ryol discusses the influence of local street culture on the works, the impact of his friendships, and why boredom is an essential tool for pushing as an artist.

The work within “CAUGHT IN THE ART” explores how light and illumination create a mood. What are a few of your favorite pieces from art history that celebrates the use of light?

Madame Monet’s works, one of which is Women with Parasol. I can see how the painter captured the impression of light and color into the painting in Monet’s works.

As the pieces are playing on the idea of being caught in the act, what are some
moments (that you feel open to sharing) where you were “caught in the act?” Do you think you are a mischievous person?

Some of the works are inspired by street culture in my neighborhood, particularly at red-light intersections. Clowns being apprehended by police and other stories served as inspiration for the visuals.


What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

Because I grew up in my parents’ home industry, I enjoy a hectic situation. Something is missing if I see my studio in silence. Eccha and I have created a schedule from morning to evening that includes all deadlines and other responsibilities.

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

I do not have it, but I usually chat with friends outside the studio to exchange ideas, and those conversations serve as motivation for me to work in the studio.

You’ve shared that you enjoy listening to artist interviews and have even met a few artists you admire. Have you adopted any of their practices or wisdom into your studio that you’ve felt have vitally shifted your work?

My first trip to Los Angeles last year provided me with valuable feedback for my current studio practice. Every place I visit gives me a new thing, and I can learn to be better and better right now. Like Kenny Scharf Studio, which was my first studio visit in LA, and he gave me a new pop culture reference, and Obey Giant, which looks like a massive studio, and it looks proper, and I can see the trash of Shepard Fairey’s works and the perfection of Robert William.


Expressions of pop culture are seen within this latest body of work but have become less of the focus of the subject matter; what was the core spirit behind the icons you pulled into this work?

I did not use many popular icons in this exhibition, but I did draw some from the street culture around me. I believe the street culture I encounter around me is a component of popular culture, and I can sense its intimacy firsthand.

The eyes within your work have a sparkling static effect and various symbols. Could you share your thoughts on this choice and if it has any deeper symbolic meaning?

In my previous work, I used a realistic approach to create each eye in my works. I painted the eyes layer by layer to achieve depth, and I attempted to make the eyes in my works more lifelike. However, after discovering the sparkling technique in my working process, I discovered depth in another version after further exploration. This effect creates a lighter, more playful impression while still retaining a sense of depth and mystery.

“The Kitchen”

You’ve shared that boredom with your work drives creative evolution. Do you find that you become quickly bored by various stimuli? How do you keep the creative process interesting?

My boredom, like a judge in a competition, is the best judge to keep exploring my works in the future. I am the most intimate with my works. So I can tell when I am bored and need to do something different.

Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has led you to where you are now.

In this case, perhaps I can say that my friends are my best process mentors.

Photo by Birdman

Exhibitions on view January 7 – 28, 2023

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