Interview with Slinkachu for “Trash Talk”

Thinkspace is proud to present Trash Talk featuring new works by internationally renowned artists and street interventionists, Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK. Both critically acclaimed artists work on an atypical miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city. Jaune and Slinkachu both challenge this paradigm of scale while incorporating the city’s refuse and garbage into their imagery as materials and themes.

In anticipation of Trash Talk, our interview with Slinkachu discusses his collaboration with Jaune, the role of artists in society, and what the perfect day outside of the studio would look like.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

SL: The acrylic pieces are a completely new approach to presenting my photography and were a challenge to produce. They combine multiple UV ink layers on both sides of transparent acrylic shapes to produce a 3D effect as you look through the piece. Each layer needs to be precisely lined up – it’s almost like a layered screen print but with a reverse side too. I only got a real sense of how the pieces would work as they were printing. Seeing those pieces come to life made me feel proud. 

SH: How do you approach starting a new body of work? Walk us through the process of a piece from conception to completion.

SL: I usually have to have a rough theme for a new show. In this case, I had ideas for pieces involving litter and discarded items and our relationship to these things. that seemed to compliment Jaune’s characters whose roles often involve the cleanup of the waste that we leave behind. ‘Trash Talk’ seems to evoke a conversation between us and our works. For my ideas specifically, I have to start with an idea that presents simply but has more layers of meaning.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

SL: Seeing a piece finally come to life. The process of creation is something that I often find frustrating, especially with the photography where you are at the mercy of the elements and the situation cannot often be as controlled as I’d like. It is the goal of seeing a work come together that excites me, where I can look back and see a completed piece that is often close to how I initially saw it in my mind despite the unpredictable nature of shooting outdoors. 

SH: What has the collaborative process been like with Jaune? 

SL: One thing that has been interesting is that, although we both work in miniature we work in very different scales. Also, my work is mostly three dimensional whereas Jaune’s is in two dimensions, or perhaps two and a half in some cases. Some ideas that we had just wouldn’t work due to those differences. They were just physically impossible to implement in a satisfying way. But seeing our ideas completed and working together has been exciting!

SH: Speaking of collaboration, if you could collaborate with any artists (from any art form ie: movies, music, dance, etc.) dead or alive who would it be and what would you create?

SL: I am not sure about specific artists but I am interested in set design and also screenwriting. I’ve been fascinated by the process of film or tv production and the various artistic elements that are involved ever since I was a child and I fell in love with Star Wars and the artists involved with those films. I often view my works as static scenes in miniature. So to get to work with a team of creatives on a project like that would be a dream. 

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

SL: I can be a really indecisive person, sometimes I’ll have ideas in my notebook for years before I decide how best to bring them to life. I think I’d cheat and have a tub full of lots of smaller tubs of different flavours. An ice cream buffet in a pot, called ‘IndICEision’

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

SL: I think artists should be storytellers, either of fact or fiction. Narrative is important in my work and I look for it in others’ works too. 

SH: What would a perfect day outside of the studio look like for you?

SL: My perfect day would be spent with my family and friends and dog, sitting by a pool and drinking and laughing. Or at the new Star Wars land at Disney, in costume with a lightsaber. 

SH: If you got to live in any movie or book for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or one of the characters?

SL: See above! As Master Yoda said, “Size matters not”. 

Sean Mahan’s “Translucent Vision” Exhibition Opening June 1st at Thinkspace Projects

Sean Mahan
Translucent Vision
June 1 – June 22, 2019

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room are new works by Florida-based artist Sean Mahan in Translucent Vision. A painter known for his graphically stylized take on social realism, Mahan creates sweetly nostalgic portraits and illustrative renderings of children, incorporating vintage objects and motifs to explore an idea of cultural obsolescence through the fetishization of symbols and references drawn from bygone eras. With interest in the socializing dimensions of culture and consumption, Mahan encourages the viewer to critically reconsider their preconceptions and engagement with the mores that physically determine not only our ways of seeing but our potential for growth and more substantive existences. Mahan also seeks the innately good and redemptive in the human, drawing from both hopeful and melancholic reserves in his imagery.

Fascinated and disconcerted by the mediation and experiential dispossession that dominates our encounters with the world, especially given our pathological reliance on digitally mitigated forms of communication, Mahan considers the sociocultural fallacies of this ‘progress’ and its ultimate role in shaping and structuring our experience at best, and atrophying it in confinement at worst. Translucent Vision explores this idea of a more mutable, cooperative, and plastically referential framework, in place of a confining one.

Each painting in the new series is executed on a vintage piece of fabric, part of a collection amassed over some time by the artist. Once itself the product of commercial mass manufacture and popular tastes, the found substrate is transformed, re-contextualized, and returned to the world as a singular object. Transformed by the artist’s intervention into an original gesture rather than a cultural artifact, these works suggest both reclamation and loss through their metamorphosis.

Jaune & Slinkachu’s “Trash Talk” Exhibition Opening June 1st at Thinkspace Projects


Jaune & Slinkachu
Trash Talk
June 1 – June 22, 2019

(Los Angeles, CA) – Thinkspace is pleased to present Trash Talk featuring new works by internationally renowned artists and street interventionists, Jaune, from Belgium, and Slinkachu, from the UK. Both critically acclaimed artists work on an atypically miniaturist scale, especially given the monumental standard demanded of public art in the deafening context of the city. Jaune and Slinkachu both challenge this paradigm of scale while incorporating the city’s refuse and garbage into their imagery as materials and themes. Jaune, with his ingeniously tiny, stenciled, fluorescent-clad city workers, turned agents of anarchic chaos and mischief, and Slinkachu, with his push pin-scaled plastic figures absurdly proposed in microscopic dioramas, turned abandoned public art installations. In a world overrun by accumulation and waste, both Jaune and Slinkachu consider our vulnerability, both accidental and conspired, in a city subsumed by trash.

Each artist brings a uniquely site-responsive approach to their introjections into existing city landscapes. Jaune, responding to the specific conditions of place while calling attention to its often overlooked recesses, and Slinkachu incorporating macro views of our world into the miniature vistas of his own. Both also respond to the collective social tendency to shut down perceptually and visually when caught in the fray of the city’s frenetic, alienating, and often existentially exhausting pace. Disrupting this tendency to cultivate inattention, both Jaune and Slinkachu engage city streets all over the world with the unexpected, staging surprise encounters on an almost invisible scale to spark curiosity and renew personal interest within the overwhelmed and desensitized city.

Belgian stencil artist Jaune has established himself internationally through an emblematic cast of tiny mutinying city sanitation workers ingeniously, and often hilariously albeit absurdly, integrated into the urban landscape. Using trompe l’oeil techniques, Jaune’s paintings and installations incorporate miniature stenciled figures made from four to six stencil layers and multiple applications of color. The destructive and often lawless behavior of these “mini dudes” as would-be city saboteurs seems to suggest something more sinister and foreboding than their innocuous scale might initially suggest. Jaune’s brightly, fluorescent-clad workers quite literally intervene in the architectural locations chosen by the artist, activating the environment itself in illusionistic and situational ways. Always seizing upon moments of tension and potential in the actions posited, Jaune proposes open-ended narratives for the viewer to complete, and questions the visibility of action in a city conditioned by avoidance.

London-based artist Slinkachu creates and photographs miniature public art installations in his ongoing series, The Little People Project, began in 2006. Staged and assembled from little train set figures the artist has remodeled and painted, these incredibly Lilliputian sculptural scenarios incorporate everyday objects and castaway materials as props, here a bottle cap boat, there a toy car crushed by a lollipop. He then shoots the tableaux, bringing these minute protagonists to life through incredible macro photography and then “abandoning” them into the landscape, left somewhat poetically to the onslaught of urban entropy and human destruction. Equal parts sculpture, installation, street art, and photography, Slinkachu’s funny yet microscopically poignant works are about the discovery of the unexpected on an unlikely scale, but their compelling absurdity also stirs a melancholic current belied by their diminutive size: they, like us, are dwarfed and forgotten by indifferent surroundings.

Trash Talk will feature individual works by both Jaune and Slinkachu, as well as collaborative pieces, new editions, and site-specific interventions in the streets of Los Angeles.



JAN 5 – JAN 26, 2019

Thinkspace is pleased to present new works by Portland-based artist Stephanie Buer in Wild Abandon. Known for her poignant, photorealistic paintings in oil, and charcoal works on paper, Buer captures the abandoned recesses of the city, finding unexpected richness in its desolation and quietude in its abrupt vacancies. This ongoing body of work, first inspired by Buer’s time spent in Detroit, Michigan, exploring the hidden corners of the city and the fallow architectural remains left by the imploded American auto industry, has since evolved into a poetic series of documentary memorials, capturing moments in the derelict lifespan of the city’s castaway structures. Buer offers glimpses of time arrested, through the abeyance of abandoned buildings and the meditative calm of their imposing discontinuity, a barrenness that seems surreal by contrast to the excessively populated pace of the world we inhabit. Without human subjects, Buer places the symbolic burden of this absence upon that which remains in view: the physical vestiges of abandonment.

The invasive quality of quiet that shapes Buer’s contemplative works is unique; they are arresting in that they abruptly apprehend the passage of time. Her paintings still a moment in the temporal lifespan of these abandoned structures, some in more advanced states of deterioration than others. They exist on the outskirts of time and space, divested of use and function. By capturing the relics of urban development exhausted or gone wrong, her works reveal a fascination with the cyclical life of these structures, and their fate once returned to the lawlessness of margins. Overcome by nature, vandals, entropy, and the socially peripheral, a quiet haunting consumes these buildings with the spectral implication of loss and extinction their desertedness implies.

There is, however, redemptive peace and beauty found amongst Buer’s contemporary ruins; in the eventual reappearance of nature where once it was cleared and in the continuity of a kind of rebel growth in spite of ultimate desertion or human intent. Mysterious in the anarchic freedom their marginal existences imply, these spaces represent a kind of exemption from the restraint of the colonized city. Something elastic and free, while simultaneously vulnerable and uncertain, makes the condemned structure strangely more akin to human life. An evocative moodiness persists in Buer’s poetic compositional choices, her immersive attention to detail, and her emotive capture of time and place. The works are lovingly, and even painfully, precise in their lush detail and arrested stillness.

Buer combines the representational clarity and control of photorealism with the subtly perceptual handling of her medium. Her impressionistic treatment of light is imperceptible, but produces dramatic contrasts, while the immersive level of detail she realizes is staggering. These color-saturated paintings and dark monochromatic works on paper are labor-intensive documentations that seamlessly combine observational realism with extremely subtle, affect-driven stylization. Buer’s attention to the rendering of minutiae and texture make entry into the scenes she proposes physically palpable and intimately close. We’re left with the strange impression of having entered a world of slightly offset metaphysical registers, with structures that exist somehow ambiguously ‘elsewhere.’ Everything unassuming in the absences Buer captures feels somehow significant and revelatory.