Virtual Tour of New Works from Alex Face, Huntz Liu, Brian “Dovie” Golden, and Don’t Fret

Thinkspace presents a virtual tour through Alex Face’s “Scorch and Drop“, Huntz Liu’s “Strata’, Brian “Dovie” Golden’s “Small Wins“, and Don’t Fret’s “A Pleasent Mess.”

Click here to explore the virtual tour:

Virtual tour developed by Birdman Photos

Kayla Mahaffey’s Latest Exhibition ‘Remember the Time’ | Opens September 18 at Thinkspace Projects

Remember the Time

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 18 from 6PM- 10PM

Masks and Social Distancing Required

Thinkspace Projects is honored to present Kayla Mahaffey’s latest solo show, ‘Remember the Time.’ Mahaffey examines the language of nostalgia in this collection of large-scale new works on canvas. 

Summer days, children playing, neighborly love, peace…quiet. Nostalgia creates a shroud of positivity, coating childhood memories and glossing over the rougher moments. Although past chaos and hate have always been present, there is a shared recollection of peaceful times. Mahaffey examines this cyclical phenomenon in ‘Remember the Time,’ acknowledging that though we are in the midst of a difficult time, heavily influenced by generations before, there is value in the sugar-coated nostalgia as well. 

“There have been numerous occasions where we omit the truths of our past to only be met with the disappointments of the future. An never ending cycle that has influenced our current era for the best and the worst.  Even though we’re currently going through a very troubling era, let’s take a moment to remember those times where we felt the most safe or where we felt the happiest. Many of us wish to go back to that life, but not to change anything, but to feel a few cherished things, once again.”

Mahaffey herself finds comfort in the fond memories of her childhood, creating a signature style heavily influenced by the very cartoons that filled those carefree childhood moments. Mahaffey is known for her hyper-realistic renderings accented with elements of pop surrealism and animation. Her colorful works depicting Black children in the midst of cartoon-like capers and contemplations speak of youth, fantasy, and creativity. She channels the fresh eyes of a child, beautifully rendering scenes that transport the viewer to that very period of life. 

While the word cartoon has certain childish connotations, Mahaffey has highlighted the true importance of this lighthearted entertainment. She acknowledges that cartoons are often the first time children are exposed to the concept of morality, with a clear right and wrong, giving simple characters and stories a layered and complex second life. Mahaffey, a self-proclaimed nerd, is able to elevate these elements within her work, reminding us that cartoons were once an important escape during their early years, and there’s nothing to say they cannot be again. Her work inspires viewers to return to that state of mind, providing a necessary escape when the surrounding world has become increasingly difficult.

‘Remember the Time’ opens September 18, 2021 with a reception from 6 PM to 9 PM. On view until October 9, 2021 at Thinkspace Projects.

About Kayla Mahaffey

Kayla Mahaffey (aka Kayla May) is a contemporary artist specializing in Illustration and Fine Arts. Her style being a mixture of pop art and Afro-surrealism makes for a bright and colorful experience that packs a punch as well as sends an important message with each piece. Born on the Chicago South Side, she has a strong sense of resilience and community that is displayed in her art work time and time again. She studied at the American Academy of Art in Downtown Chicago, taking some classes, before leaving in 2017 to pursue art full-time.

Wiley Wallace’s Debut Solo Museum Exhibition ‘Lucid Fate’ | September 10, 2021 – January 2, 2022 at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

‘Lucid Fate’
Opening Reception: 6-10 PM

On view September 10, 2021 – January 2, 2022 at:
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
One East Main Street Mesa, Arizona 85201

Phoenix painter Wiley Wallace creates luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds intersecting the real and imagined. Under a neon-hued glow, his realistic and surreal renderings of children and adults are placed amid Arizona landscapes, creating “near-magical” references of the supernatural. Through narratives of connection and communication, Wallace’s imagery suspends the viewer with a playful and macabre innocence.

‘Lucid Fate’ is Wallace’s debut solo museum exhibition.

Presented in co-operation with Thinkspace Projects

Interview with Alex Face for ‘Scorch and Drop’

Thinkspace Projects presents Alex Face’s debut U.S solo exhibition, ‘Scorch and Drop.’

This brand new collection of Alex Face’s newest work incorporates the character Alex Face has become known for, exploring new situations and elements, introducing the variety within his work to a new audience.

His signature subject, a quizzical smoking baby that shares a moniker with the artist himself, can be seen contemplating the future. With a worried look spread across its face, this baby turns an eye to the world around it, an extension of Alex Face’s identity as an artist with a social conscience.

In anticipation of ‘Scorch and Drop,” our interview with Huntz Liu explores his experiences while creating street art, how quickly our world changes, and an artist’s work that has deeply moved him.  

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

I first discovered Thinkspace gallery on social media a long time ago, as I heard that they’ve worked with several talented street artists. In 2019 I came to America for the first time, traveling to Chicago, Denver, New York, and Los Angeles which exposed my artworks to Thinkspace gallery, resulting in this exhibition.

What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work? 

I get my inspiration from the world’s current situation; things like the pandemic, pollution, and the negative changes that the world is currently experiencing. It shows how fragile humans are, and invokes a question we all have to ask. Will the next generation survive? How will humans handle change to the world as we know it? Humans have created things to help make life easier and more comfortable, but those things have to be exchanged for the earth’s limited resources, which can be compared to humans burning themselves in order to step forward, but inevitably our flames will burn out.

You’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from your childhood in past pieces, could you share with us what your childhood was like? Are there elements from your childhood that you want to make sure your own children experience? 

I was born 40 years ago in a small cottage, with a stream flowing in front and a rice field in the back. When I look out, the fields seem never-ending. In my childhood, we had no electricity, no automated water, and my only toys were models that I made out of mud and clay. That was how things were in the past, but now my home has changed almost entirely. In only four decades the rice field has been replaced with a highway, multiple industrial factories, and private communities while the stream has turned black. This definitely isn’t only occurring at my home, but in other places across Thailand as well. Every time I see an old photograph, it makes me realize that time goes by so fast. Now, I live in a different house and have a daughter of my own, but I still take her to see her grandparents, to play in the mud and water as I did, even though things have changed.

Do you have any rituals to help you tap into a creative flow? What does a day in the studio look like? 

My routine definitely starts with breakfast, coffee. After that, I paint for the rest of the day and night, while listening to music or catching up with the news. Some days, when there is something happening in the city and I want to speak out about it, I would go out and find a wall to paint, which not only gets my message across but also provides a nice shift in my routine.

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

I like the period where the works are almost finished and I can take time to put in small details and perfect the painting. And my least favorite part is when I make a mistake when the time runs out.

Do you remember your first mural/ piece of street art? Where was it located and what did you create? 

I remember just writing “Alex” in a bubble style with a white fill-in and red outline on an abandoned old American car that was left on my way home. After that, I was hooked and could never put down the spray can. This all happened in 2002

Is there a crazy story you can share with us from a time when you were out on the street working on a mural? Where were you and what happened to make it a unique experience? 

Actually, there is a story to every time I go outside to paint. I usually encounter hospitality, while other times are spent getting chased through the streets. I find it fun though because you never know what type of people you’re going to meet, and I also get to talk about art with normal people, even the people who live on the streets. There was one time when I painted a child’s face on top of a garbage pile, to signify the children who are being orphaned every day. After that a middle-aged lady came up to me and asked me, “why did you paint a baby on a garbage pile?” And so I told her the message behind it, and she was quiet for a moment then suddenly started crying.

What is a piece of art or artist that has had a significant impact on you? 

Of course, there are various artworks that I have had a chance to see, from murals on the walls to masterpieces. Out of all the museum trips I made in Europe and America, there is one time where I was so excited I had to shed tears. This was when I went to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and was able to witness the works he left behind and the honesty in making these paintings. Even though Van Gogh has been gone for a long time, multiple people still queue outside the museum to get a glimpse of his genius.

You like to experiment and mix together different styles and materials/ mediums in your work – do you have a favorite unexpected pairing? It could be food, music, really anything – but something that seems like it shouldn’t go together but when paired is a magical combo. 

An abandoned place and children are the two main contrasting things in my work because they are two things that I don’t think would go together, but I have actually seen children play in these dangerous places even though they shouldn’t be and that has also given me inspiration. But if you’re asking about something that seems to not go well together, I would say spray painting a wall while humming traditional Thai country songs.

If you could have a dinner party with five people dead or alive; who would they be? What is on the menu? What would be your icebreaker question? 

Menu: spiced stir-fried beef and holy basil, served with a crispy sunny side egg

Ice-breaker question: Are there any updates on your lives? It can be your current lives or your after-lives

1. Claude Monet

2. David Hockney

3. 2Pac 

4. Barry McGee 

5. Ed Templeton 

Interview with Huntz Liu for ‘Strata’

Thinkspace Projects presents Huntz Liu’s latest solo exhibition, ‘Strata.’  

The exhibition features his signature techniques of cutting and layering paper, where he crafts a collection of work that explores depth in a striking way. Each composition is comprised of meticulously cut shapes on different planes, reveling in both the layering of material and the absence of material. By embracing negative space, Liu creates line and shadow, building an image that is so much more than each of its individual parts. The compositions strive for a perfect balance, embracing the chaos of the shapes and colors. As Liu describes it, “this is a reflection of the perfect sphere we live upon and the chaos of the layers confined within.”

In anticipation of ‘Strata,” our interview with Huntz Liu explores our relationship with space, the perspective gained from cataloging art books at the Getty Research center and letting go of perfectionism.

What techniques or themes were you exploring in this latest body of work?

The idea of distance and space was in the forefront of my mind during the pandemic and is a theme present in this new body of work. I was interested in the different scales of distance constantly present – be it the personal, interpersonal, geographical, galactical, etc. This is sort of illustrated in the Eames’ “Powers of Ten” short film, but additionally, I like how the space a distance occupies is its own layer that can have its own distance from others. (e.g. The Pacific Ocean is the space and distance between Asia and North America, but North America is the space and distance between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.)

Where did the inspiration for the title of the show come from? 

It is related to the prior answer but more focused on the layers (or strata) present within our cities and countries and planet. “Strata” is also the word for “loss” in Polish, which seems appropriate for this past year and right now.

You’ve shared that you source a lot of inspiration from architecture and interior spaces. Do you have any favorite buildings or architectural spaces?

I believe I answered the Salk Institute and the Getty Center last time… which still hold true. But more generally, I love big, expansive, monumental spaces. 

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into creative flow? How do you structure your time and days while preparing for an exhibition?

Just a morning coffee. And afternoon coffee. And sometimes an evening coffee. And work breaks dispersed in between. haha

The time you spent at the Getty Research Institute helped provide a second education and define your work, what is one of the lasting lessons you learned from that experience?

I saw a lot of work and artist books in their special collections’ vaults, which made me realize the breadth and range of art that has been, is, and will be created. And that however disheartening and challenging it is to find your own voice and make your own space, there is a lightness and freedom in being just a singular artist making work in a singular time. 

You did some international travel during the pandemic. Can you share a bit about the experience? How did you pass the time during the quarantine period?

Yeah, I did have the privilege, as a dual-citizen, to travel to Taiwan (where it was largely free of Covid) for some months toward the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. It was a nice respite from the madness taking place in the US, and gave me some breathing room to focus on work.

How many Exacto blades do you go through in one piece? What is your favorite paper brand, weight?

It varies, but anywhere from a couple to a dozen. I use many different brands of paper and weights, but I like Strathmore bristol paper and some Mohawk lines.

The precision in your work is mesmerizing, would you consider yourself a perfectionist? If so, how has perfectionism helped you? How has it possibly hindered you, and do you have any advice for other perfectionists? 

Being a perfectionist was something I would refer to myself as when I was younger. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I feel that the label and the practice of being perfect is sort of just loaded and unrealistic. You have to let go at some point because the space between precise and perfect is infinite.

What is one of your most memorable meals, it could be the people or the food? 

More recently, it was having brunch at Zinc Cafe in Arts District, March of 2020, right on the cusp of shutdown… wondering if it was a good idea and also not realizing it would be the last time dining in for a long long while. I would have tried to enjoy it more in hindsight.

If cost and time were not an issue, what would be a dream project for you?

I would love to build my work at a huge scale, horizontally into the ground. Like Noguchi’s playgrounds.

Are your hands callous from accidental paper cuts yet?  

Surprisingly, no!

Who are the last three musical artists you listened to? Or the last podcast episode you recommended to someone

On a Britpop bender these days: Suede, Longpigs, Pulp