Interview with Max Sansing for ‘Lost & Found’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Lost & Found,’ from Chicago based visual artist Max Sansing whose distinct aesthetic fuses the color-drenched dynamism of street art with the technical elegance of photorealism.

In anticipation of ‘Lost & Found,’ our interview with Max Sansing discusses the symbolism in his work, mentorship, and childhood nostalgia.

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

MS: I’m from the south-side of Chicago and my work is portraiture-based but infused with heavy elements of design and symbolism pulling from my neighborhood culture, Afro- American culture, 80s-90s pop, comic book and graffiti. In my painting career I’ve been involved with the black mural movement of Chicago, the graffiti scene and the south-side black art scene, all of which has led to the work I’m currently producing.

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work for “Lost & Found”?

MS: Lost and found has been a titled I’ve used to describe a series of works I’ve been doing for years in which the subject or subject of the work are caught in a moment of great transition in their lives. I’ve had moments in my life where I believed I was at an all-time low and it became a flashpoint for change that made me who I am today. The key symbolism is just a totem of sorts to remind yourself that you have the power to find a door to a goal that may have been lost to you.

SH: What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

MS: Possibly Rapture, it speaks to the ideas of (my) childhood nostalgia and how we sometimes tend to romanticize it or even look upon it as a reason for one’s shortcomings. But in this piece, I wanted to show how quick all it could have been gone just by the trajectory of a bullet. While the bullet does speak to the crime in my neighborhood when I was young, it also speaks to the lost ideas and goals of a youth. Things you knew you were gonna do and shit you were gonna have. All this surrounded by the soundtrack of Anita Baker. Why her? Besides the obvious nod to the album title. Her music and other like it was the type of music played in our (black) homes in the 80-90s and it was the type of mainstream music that represented the idea of the black middle class and a lot of families struggles to stay there.

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

MS: My favorite honestly is the experimentation that comes after the portrait is done. It the moment to show what going on the subjects head or maybe the repression of the subjects spirit. Least favorite? These days maybe the portrait, while I love the practice, it’s a stop on the road to the greater work of art for me. Plus I’ve been painting them for 25 years. I find myself getting looser with my technique as I get older. Maybe that’s because concept is weighing more on the scales for me these days, who knows.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

MS: My father works still haunts me to this day, it has a soul to it that speaks to where I come from.

For the rest it’s been many but these days it’s a mix of my friends and or fellow artist. Calvin Jones (Chicago muralist), Charles White, Kara Walker, Jordan Nickel (Pose MSK), Amuse 126 and WAK Kevin A Williams.

SH: Your work demonstrates strength and command of color with bright strokes and bold lines. A bravery that eliminates preciousness of a really well-rendered portrait. Is there a deeper meaning behind the strokes of color on the portraits, or even how feathers punctate the area beneath one’s eye?

MS: Most of those colors and such are elements I pull from the sky during my favorite time of day which is the magic hour. The blues oranges and purples make me feel at ease after a long day. It’s like the earth saying “well done”. I love wrapping up my subjects in it to convey an emotion. The strokes of color under the eye are a form of game face for the world and a call back to the sports I played as youth and how we put extra eye block on to combat the anxiety of performing well. The feathers are a build on the eye block symbolism. Feathers have many meanings in indigenous cultures and I want them to mean fearlessness in these pieces.

SH: You work with programs that expand art opportunities to kids in underserved communities, could you share the impact the kids have had on you?

MS: Working with the youth was hard at first because I wasn’t that much older than them when I started. I taught for about 11yrs and as I got older I became less cynical about their nature and truly saw the importance of being a fixture to them. I’ve actually kind of taken a mentor role to all these younger artists in Chicago and I feel it’s helped me be more patient, it reminds me that I’m just a practitioner in a tradition and letting the youth step up is the natural order of the game.

SH: How would describe the power and importance of art / the arts in society to an alien who has just touched down on our planet?

MS: I’d tell an Alien that the arts are a way to document culture for future generations.

SH: We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time? What is your favorite local spot to pick up some take out? 

MS: I’m trying my best to be of purpose and not lose my head.

Damn, too many. Taurus Subs, Mary Taqueria and Kimski.

SH: If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

MS: I’ll just go with my favorite Strawberry cheesecake, a traditional strawberry ice cream (portraiture) with the graham cracker swirl adding the hint of saltiness and texture — that would be the opposing colors and symbolism.

Maxberry. Lol.

Virtual Tour for Spenser Little’s ‘Illumination Devices’ at MOAH Cedar

We’re thrilled to share our virtual tour through Spenser Little’s ‘Illumination Devices’ at MOAH Cedar.

Visit https://players.cupix.com/p/WFRCuPWV for a self-guided tour experience through the museum.

Illumination Devices is presented in collaboration with Thinkspace Projects (Los Angeles)

On view July 18 through September 20, 2020 at:
MOAH Cedar
44857 Cedar Avenue
Lancaster, California 93534

Tour Created by Birdman

Interview with Brian “Dovie” Golden for ‘Warning Signs’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Warning Signs,’ from Chicago based visual artist Brian “Dovie” Golden who uses painting and drawing as an introspective tool.

In Dovie’s body of work, he explores the human spirit and experience. His life-like portraits and menacing Fiends find balance amongst bold, angular shapes and arresting colors. 

In anticipation of ‘Warning Signs,’ our interview with Brian “Dovie” Golden discusses the origins of his F(r)iend and Fiend characters, creative influences from Stan Lee to Basquiat, and family in the time of Covid-19.

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

BDG: I’m a lifelong Chicagoan. I started drawing when I was 6 years old. I looked up to my oldest brother, Carlos, so when he brought home this drawing he did of Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I wanted to do that and became obsessed with making mine look exactly like his. Over the years, my work has evolved into adding these figures I like to call “f(r)iends” and “fiends” on top of portraits of men and women in a way that visually represents (to me) how it feels to live with anxiety and depression. These characters play a major part in the visualization of these disorders. I like to paint the human experience from my point of view and that experience is dealing with the riddle we call life.

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work for “Warning Signs”?

BDG: My latest body of work focuses on the “fiends” and the idea of these characters as hazard signs. Imagine if we could see those caution signs (similar to road signs) in the people or those decisions we inevitably regret.  Most of the dangers that surround us are invisible so my current work invites us to consider how we experience the sensation of intuition. What does it look like when we sense danger and deception, and how does this lend us insight into our surroundings and foresight into the road ahead?

SH: What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

BDG: I actually have two pieces that were personally challenging: perception and untitled.

Perception addresses bias and given the current social climates focus on implicit and explicit biases, this piece felt especially personal because perception is reality, right? I’m aware of how I’m generally perceived in this country as a Black man; my humanity, artistic talent, business acumen and easy-going nature aren’t immediately taken into account simply because I’m Black.  As an artist, I have to reflect the current times. It’s a fucked up time to be in.

Untitled (4 fiends #2) was particularly challenging due to my process in painting it. It’s a four column and I did one at a time to ensure each one was identical. I went through 6 canvases just to get to this one. As simple as it may look, it was probably the most challenging in terms of process. The circuitous route I took to get this one that way I wanted it to be felt akin to how indirect and often unnecessarily complicated most processes are for Black people.

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

BDG: I carry a moleskine with me everywhere I go just in case an idea strikes. Coming back to those sketches and finding ways to bring them to life is probably my most favorite part of the creative process. The ideating and planning and ultimately getting to a place in that sketch that you can visually see the finished painting before you begin is exciting. I love that!

My least favorite and probably the most tedious is outlining. Outlining leaves no room for error and I don’t have the steadiest hands.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

BDG: When I was younger it was and still is to a very large degree Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Todd McFarlane. My “Fiends” in some ways were inspired by the Violator and Venom. Today, I’m really influenced by my peers. I’m fortunate to live in a city that’s home to some of the greatest artists I’ve met and have come to know over the years. Max Sansing, James Nelson, Kayla Mahaffey, David Anthony Geary, Harmonia Rosales, Hebru Brantley, Oscar Joyo to name a few but the list goes on and on. Also artists like Erik Jones, Cleon Peterson, George Condo, Kerry James Marshall, Basquiat are huge inspirations.

SH: The F(r)iend and Fiend is seen throughout your work, and you have a great description of these characters on your website. I especially love how you describe the fiend as “the hype man on our ugliest days,” it’s a very accurate depiction of that inner critic. What inspired the characterization of these human truths, was there a catalyst moment? And what practices or tools do you use to put the fiend in check?

BDG: I started sketching these characters around 2012 as a way to help me visualize how I was feeling. They presented a way for me to express how I felt even in those moments when I couldn’t articulate those feelings.  Back then, these characters were never really a focal point of my art. I used them in a way you’d use a diary so I never fully had any intent on showing them to a large audience. In 2016 my wife and I lost our son. His name was Matthew. He was born premature and was only given days to live. We kept our faith and hoped the doctors were wrong in their assessment. We were believing in a miracle. He stayed with us 2 months before passing and I completely shut down. At that point I realized how vulnerable yet numb I was. These characters (fiends) helped me through those feelings of anger, frustration and grief. I saw them as those invisible threats attacking my conscience, faith, hope and happiness and I also saw myself in them. They represent the good and the bad in us all. The F(r)iend represented that symbol of hope I looked for but couldn’t see. They’re the ones looking after us even in those dark days.

My faith helped a lot and trying to understand that what my wife and I went through has a bigger purpose. Part of the practice of keeping them in check is to acknowledge their presence in my life. Once I became honest with that, I was able to better understand what I was going through. And pushing forward no matter what to make Matthew, my wife and all of my children proud.

SH: You have two sons, how do you help them navigate those F(r)iend and Fiend moments in their own lives? Also, do you have two built-in studio assistants, or since you are Dad — is being an artist not cool?

BDG: Three sons. Our newest addition was born last year in March. I am open and vulnerable with them. They see when those moments affect me – the highs and lows. We take time to laugh and cry and just be in those moments and I do my best to take time to explain those moments with them.  They’ve already adapted sketching and drawing when they feel happy or sad. I love having them play a part in my work whether it’s using them in a piece or as studio assistants. They love it too…I hope. Maybe I should ask. lol

SH: How would you describe the power and importance of art / the arts in society to an alien who has just touched down to our planet?

BDG: Art has been the language of the people since the beginning of time. From cave drawings to hieroglyphics, art is that tool to educate, inform and express ourselves.

SH: We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time? What is your favorite local spot to pick up some take out?

BDG: This pandemic has forced a lot of people to spend time with themselves. Normally we’d try to occupy our time doing recreational things because we felt those made us normal. But who are you when those things are stripped away? I had to ask myself that very question. For me, I dove into studio time, I’m comfortable there. My wife and I have been married for 11 years but it feels like we’re talking and enjoying each other more than ever – I’m fortunate for this. Conversing and playing video games with my boys has been amazing although getting my ass kicked in DBZ fighters is not something I’m proud of and I’m really good! So, my favorite local spot pre and post pandemic is Strings Ramen.

SH: If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

BDG: I love this question. I’d have to say a Yuzu honey sorbet titled “sucker punch”.

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, July 25 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post the professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, July 25 from 1-2 PM pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions

Sunday, July 26 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, July 27 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks

Interview with Marie-Claude Marquis for ‘Don’t Use Me, I’m Broken’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Don’t Use Me, I’m Broken,’ from multidisciplinary artist Marie-Claude Marquis.

In this new exhibition, Marquis talks about the flaws, failures, and challenges that are unique to each individual. The traits that make us interesting and complex beings. However, since the exhibition was mainly created during the pandemic, it took a darker turn than her previous pieces.

In anticipation of ‘Don’t Use Me, I’m Broken’ our interview with Marie-Claude Marquis discusses towers of flea market finds, the place of trophies in society, and the call back to nature.

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

MC: My life always revolved around creating so it was an easy choice for me to go study in visual arts and graphic design. After university, I worked for a while in the fashion industry as a textile designer, but the 9-to-5 office life wasn’t for me. So I quit 2011 to focus on my own projects and freelancing contracts in illustration and design.

Also, since childhood, I have always been a fervent lover of vintage, thrift stores and second-hand objects which are the basis of my work. My grandmother who worked in a vintage costumes store and my mother who brought me to a flea market every week clearly influenced me towards this path.

SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work for “Don’t Use Me, I’m Broken”?

MC: In Don’t use me, I’m broken, I basically wanted to talk about the flaws, fails and challenges, unique to each individual, that make us interesting and complex beings. But since this exhibition was mainly created during the pandemic, it took a darker turn than my usual work.

Before this period, some of us had the opportunity to avoid facing problems, consciously or not, by loading our lives with work, obligations and activities.

But because the recent confinement had a mirror effect on ourselves, it forced us to confront our darker facets and our relationships issues and I wanted to address that with the show.

It will therefore be a mix of reflections, overflow, fears, hope, humor and once again an attempt to encourage the spectator to express his feelings and to free himself from a weight that a person is often unconscious of carrying.

SH: What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

MC: Definitely the trophies. I had been thinking about this series for like 2 years and since cumulated materials without really knowing what I was going to do with it, but with a feeling of what I wanted to come out from it. So it was a lot of trial and error: how to design my structures; how to pierce certain parts and how to assemble such fragile elements, etc. I finally achieve to realize what I had in mind, so the stress of breaking everything in the shipping process to the Gallery was even higher than usual (but i’m always super stressed about that part)!

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

MC:
Most: I am someone who overthinks a lot, is really proactive and gets bored easily, so I would say that I love almost everything in the creative process as long as I can touch a lot of different things. This is why creating installations and taking over a room is extra fun for me. For this show, I worked on trophies, the creative photoshoot to present them, plates, embroideries, wallpaper, vases, and objects and I had a blast!

Least: Before I would have said always working alone and being very much in my thoughts, but it seems that I appreciate and seek this more and more. So it would be what I call the boring part: the more technical and organizational things like varnish, packaging, transport, post rush cleaning, etc. It has to be done but I would definitely do without it!

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

MC: I really love the work of Johan Deckmann who mostly creates titles on book covers. He always makes you think with his clever reflections on human behavior, which are often sad but always true.

I also looooove the super raw, honest and great illustrations of Tara Booth.

And I’m a big fan of the magnificent paintings loaded with flowers, pots and patterns of Anna Valdez (I’m a big sucker for pattern mixing).

SH: Do you have a memorable or funny story from when you were hunting for new treasures to transform? Like, have you driven two hours to an estate sale to only find out the sale is the following weekend…

MC: There is a huge flea market in Montreal (the Marché aux puces Saint-Michel) in which I have been shopping for several years. The place is filled with more than a hundred booths all belonging to different owners who are often very old and who have been stockpiling forever. Some stores are stuffed from floor to ceiling, and it’s super chaotic. One time, I saw the most beautiful old thing from afar in the lot, told the dude I wanted to buy it, but it was physically impossible to get to the said item without everything collapsing, so I was never able to make my purchase. It’s funny but a little sad too …

SH: Do you find objects for specific shows or constantly collect? Do you have a phrasebook, or does the object inspire the insignia?

MC: I would say both!

For the objects, I buy pieces for specific shows when I’m looking for a really precise thing when creating an installation, for example, but I also constantly collect. Whenever I see nice plates or needle-points in a thrift store I will definitely buy even if I don’t know when I’ll use them. It saved my ass a lot for the creation of this show because everything was close for 3 months due to the pandemic. Really grateful that I had a more than a hundred things already in my inventory!!

And yes I do have a phrasebook that I started 6 years ago. I think I’m close to 600 wordings now.

But I also get inspired by the images on the vintages stuff I find. Always looking for the quote that gives a total second meaning to the graphic on the piece regardless of the subject.

SH: In this new body of work you’ve expanded into making unique and humorous trophies. What was the inspiration for this evolution?

MC: Like I said earlier, I had that idea in mind for quite a while. I noticed that between close friends we often make fun of the little flaws or peculiar character traits of one another. Those features can sometimes be annoying to people around, but it is also what makes us funny and endearing at the same time. I kind of see them as “useless powers”. I honestly thought about myself and every friend in my circle to bring out our quirks and this list filled up quite quickly. It was far too inspiring and funny, and I thought it was worth pushing it further because it is very relatable.

SH: What are your thoughts on participation trophies vs. a culture of intense competition and trophy hoarding?

MC: Even if I very much love the idea of wanting to congratulate everyone by giving participation trophies, we all prefer to be proclaimed the best at something, that’s for sure.

But it is clear that the need of collecting trophies is as a way of boosting self-esteem and showing people how good we are. Which is kind of similar to our relationship with social media where we constantly compare ourselves with others (or with the fake life that people choose to show) and show off our achievements. It is extremely unhealthy and anxiety inducing.

This is why I wanted to celebrate the real things. The stuff that people are the best at but would never win anything because of it.

SH: We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time? What is your favorite local spot to pick up some take out?

MC: Weird fucking time indeed! I realized during the pandemic that there is no point in living in the city when you don’t have access to the restaurants, bars, festivals, and events. It was quite suffocating and made me think about what and who is important to me. I grew up in nature and my need of going back is more and more present, so I am now looking to buy a small cabin closer to my family and where all my friends would feel welcome.

I’m not a good cook, so I was really glad that I could pick up take outs during lock down. There were thousands of choices in Montreal but the best meal I had is the fried Chicken sandwich from 180g and Mitch Deli. Best place in town! … and I’m a bit addicted to St-Hubert’s chicken fingers. Best hangover food.

SH: If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

MC: Ahaha! It would definitely be a mix of all the goods! Chocolate and vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche swirls + bits of brownies, Rolo, Reese, cookie dough, and waffles.

And I would put less ice cream and more chunks.

For the name: Can I get a scoop scoop? Sounds great 😛

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, July 25 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post the professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, July 25 from 1-2 PM pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions

Sunday, July 26 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, July 27 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks

Interview with Anthony Hurd for ‘Current Mood’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Current Mood,’ from Kansas City, MO born and now Albuquerque-based artist Anthony Hurd.

The new series of works for “Current Mood” is inspired by a recurring childhood memory where he would wake up and see what looked to be an indigenous mask sticking out from under his bed, watching him sleep, and when he would awake he’d see the mask vanish before his eyes or disappear under his bed. Through a brave exploration of his soul and forcing himself to face his hidden fears, Hurd set out to create a version of these masks / protectors from his childhood.

In anticipation of ‘Current Mood,’ our interview with Anthony Hurd covers the lessons he’s learned over the years, skateboarding, and not going back to “normal.”

SH: For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

AH:  Born and raised in Kansas City Missouri, basically spent my childhood dreaming about California and planning my escape. Ha. I came out of the closet at 19 in KC, was a weird time. Went from skateboarding every day with my friends, playing in hardcore straight edge bands and hanging with my straight roommates, to quickly working in a gay restaurant, being in a relationship with someone twice my age, and threw myself into this completely unknown world trying to figure out where the fuck I fit in.

A couple years of making horrible mistakes, drinking way to much, and sleeping with as many people as possible I moved to LA at 21. More men, more opportunities, more work. Ha.

Fell into a career in advertising pretty quickly, and a new relationship. Made tons of very cool friends I could finally relate to on so many levels. Life was a weird mess of striving to live but pretty much failing at a real life. I was stressed the fuck out all the time. I burned some bridges and needed to do something different. So my partner and I started moving around. Palm Springs, Sedona AZ, Austin TX and now Albuquerque New Mexico.

I found art again. I lost my little sister to cystic fibrosis, my relationship ended horribly after 18 years. I lost my identity, I fucked it all up, found myself again over and over. Made a lot of good friends along the way. Just a few years back in stopped doing freelance work in advertising and went full time artist. Which is crazy hard, but super rewarding.

 I guess my background is messing shit up over and over until I learn some semblance of lesson. I cry a lot, that’s kinda new, started after my break up, it’s been good therapy. I do a lot of introspective work, I have joined a few cultural ideas along the way from the outside, but I move on quickly.

Now I’m in a new relationship, got an awesome step daughter, absolutely love New Mexico, and I feel like I kinda sorta have my shit together until it all falls apart again.

SH:  What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work for “Current Mood”?

AH:  Ever since November of 2016 I’d started doing these portrayed studies and sketches off and on. I went into a major depression after the election like half this country did. I watched the entire lgbtqai+ community cringe in fear. My BIPOC friends were too. It’s just been this building of tension, frustration and anger ever since.

I started this show pre-covid 19 crash. Based on the chaos of the world around me. The apathy, the anger, the unapologetic narcissism, the pain and struggle, the peaks of joy and boundless love, the layers upon layers humanity building. I wanted to capture moods and moments, mostly of myself and friends. Then covid hit, the the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, the shit hit the fan and things just kept evolving. The body of work just kept feeling more and more relevant so I kept going with it and here we are.

SH:  What was the most challenging piece in the exhibition and why?

AH:  I think “The Burden” was the most challenging piece. I had a whole other piece going for it, and it just wasn’t going where I wanted it to go. So I just scrapped it and painted over it after getting like 75% in it. Clean skates are good though. I’m getting more comfortable with disposing of what is no longer working. Painting over things. When I get blocked, I just push through until something clicks.

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

AH:  My favorite part is the exploration. The figuring it out. The experimenting and mistake phase.

My least favorite part? Explaining it really. I work from the gut, from the heart, off the top of my head, sometimes I never know how to explain a piece, other times I know immediately. The abstraction of it all really leaves a space for interpretation. I don’t like being asked to fill that gap in for people. Becomes to

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

AH:  Skateboarding is still my biggest influence. The spontaneous creative process of an amazing technical line kills me. It’s combined with music, art, fashion and individual style. It’s not a direct visual pull as much as a childhood hype. I use to wake up every morning as and watch skate videos to get me hyped to skate. Now I do that to paint. It teaches me to be flexible, and open, and mostly to keep trying over and over until I find that sweet spot and just let it happen.

SH: You’ve lived in a handful of places before landing in Albuquerque, New Mexico – what is a lesson that you learned in each city that may or may not inform your artistic voice?

AH: Kansas City – where I found communities and friends for the first time. Being that weird gay kid (even before coming out) I found rad people who while not gay, were fucking weirdos and that was good enough. Skating boarding gave me the confidence to pursue anything I was interested in.

Los Angeles – ugh. Freedom? It’s where I found myself for the first time. I got to make a new life for myself, could drop all the fear of living as a gay man in a smaller Midwestern town. It was exciting and wonderful until it wasn’t.

Palm Springs – taught me to slow down. To breathe a bit. Also, heartbreak, depression, sadness, grief. It’s where I lived when my sister passed. I was a disaster for a couple years and I wished I learned more lessons from it than I had.

Sedona – An escape, a new start, really connecting with the land. Learning to find a new path, a new way forward.

Austin – total loss of my identity. Where my relationship ended in the first year. I was alone in a new city where I hardly knew a soul, everything I thought of myself was wrapped up into another person, and they were gone. It never felt like home no matter how hard I tried. I missed mountains like crazy. It’s where I started painting landscapes. After 15 years of mountain views outside my window in various cities, the flat landscape of southern and central Texas brought back bad memories of my childhood in Missouri. I had to relearn a lot of things there and ultimately I probably had my biggest growth there.

SH: There is an undulating quality to your work from the landscapes to the abstract portraits, it feels very organic and unplanned. Is that the case? Or do you have a defined idea of what you want to execute in your mind before putting paint to surface?

AH:  Every once in a while I’ll have a general composition or idea in mind, but mostly it’s unplanned. It’s like a puzzle on many levels. I lay down colors and shapes and figure out how it all fits. But unlike a puzzle, I can shape and push a painting in a direction I choose whether a landscape or portrait, the process is still the same.

 I’m generally more stifled creatively when I go into it with an idea because it creates boundaries that otherwise wouldn’t exist in my process.

SH:  What does the nose know that gives is definition and structure, as opposed to the freer flowing entity it resides within?

AH: Amidst all the abstraction the more surreal or literal Objects help tie it all down , and ground it in reality.

SH:  We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – What is your approach to life during this time? What is your favorite local spot to pick up some take out?

AH: Weird times for sure. Crazy really. This last month has been anger fueled, humbling, life lessons, cored corrections and lots of activism on any level I can. Prior to that, when it was “just a global pandemic” haha, I was kind of loving it. I do not miss the pace of life pre-pandemic. Life slowed down. I started working on the yard, growing food and plants, spending more time with my family, getting in great routines with my work. It was an eye opener in many ways. I don’t want to go back to “normal” on any level really. I have been thriving on this change, despite the additional stress, I’ve been more grounded than ever.

As for local spots? We only do take out a couple of times a week, we use to eat out almost every day for lunch. Saving a shit ton of money these days for sure. Ha. But we try and mostly support our favorite local restaurants: a Middle Eastern place Alquds, our favorite little Vietnamese place Viet Pho, and Vegan Thai are our go-to’s.

SH:  If your work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and the name of the pint?

AH: Shit, I don’t know. If it’s based on my taste? I make my own ice cream regularly. Vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate chips and dark chocolate peanut butter cups, plus any kind of berry, and I’m GOOD. Name? Um, “Queer in this together” haha. Ugh, don’t look at me.

Online Schedule of Virtual Events:

Saturday, July 25 at 12:00 noon pacific time we will post the professionally shot video tour of our new exhibitions to our Instagram TV

Saturday, July 25 from 1-2 PM pacific time we will go live on our Instagram to tour our new exhibitions

Sunday, July 26 at 2 pm pacific time we will post a full set of installation photos from both exhibitions to our Facebook and blog

Monday, July 27 at 4 pm pacific time we will share a link to the self-guided virtual tour of our new exhibitions on all of our social networks