Interview with Clémentine Bal for ‘Magic Friends’  | Exhibition August 5, – August 26, 2023

Thinkspace is excited to present Clémentine Bal for her debut U.S solo ‘Magic Friends,’ which welcomes viewers into her world of characters who proudly embrace their uniqueness and vibrant colors, filling Gallery II of Thinkspace Projects for her debut U.S. solo exhibition.

This body of work explores slightly strange, quirky, or even truly bizarre characters and a joyful luminous ensemble fueled by gradients and contrasts. Each subject was designed to celebrate their own individuality, even as some of them still struggle to accept themselves as they are. They form a magical entity that can transform at will. With their simple, clean lines, it’s as if they just came out of a drawing, evoking a childlike wonder and even a disconcerting naivety.

“I truly enjoyed bringing these characters to life, aiming for them to be light-hearted, kind, and funny, like friends.”

Our interview with Bal reveals her creative inspirations, what she would choose if she can download any special skill, about her dream collaboration and more!

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

I wanted to work on original characters, giving them sometimes strange shapes. I also wanted to make wall sculptures, so that they take a little height. I wanted to give them confidence, to impose their strangeness and take us into their magical world.
I wanted to work a lot more with colors for this body of work. I wanted to create a very colorful set, in line with the more playful temperament of these new characters. I had a great need for joy and gaiety.
The work on certain sculptures was particularly long and difficult. The large wall pieces with complex shapes in particular required months of work. Days and days of sanding, finishing and handling difficulties. It’s all the more rewarding when the job is done!

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days? Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

I have very conventional working days because they are based on my children’s schedules. I am in my studio from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I sometimes go back a bit in the evening but I generally take this quiet time to do little drawings. In general, I plan the day before my goals for the day. In the morning I start with what I prefer to do, listening to audio books. In the afternoon, I advance on what is necessary, with music. It is rather well structured and it helps me to be well concentrated.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

I have lots of favorite moments! First of all, I love the beginning, throwing myself into building something. But I also like to realize the details, and to see these forms which become characters.
What is most complicated is the end. The final touches, often endless, and the photos, which closes the process. There comes a time when you have to accept that it’s not perfect, and move on to try to do better!
The discovery of Mark Ryden’s work was a big crush for me, I loved the distorted naivety of his characters, the link with the world of childhood.
I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, these masterpieces with all these extraordinary characters.
In literature, Murakami is truly one of my favorite authors, with his fantastic creativity.
And then there are these contemporary artists whose work I admire like Otani workshop and Klara Kristalova with their characters of great sensitivity. Nicolas Party, whose work with colors I particularly admire. Ob with all its delicacy. Roby Dwi Antono and his incredible artistic path. David Shrigley and his humor. And of course so many others…

If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do / be an expert at?

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?
So what I would like (maybe it’s more of a magic power than a skill) would be to be able to talk to the animals. I could tell them how much I love them, and how sorry I am for all the harm done to them.
But concerning my work, I believe that it would be better to remove things from my brain. With less expectations, control, fear, I could gain spontaneity. I work on that!
If my sculptures can give people a sweet, inner smile, then my job is done!

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?

When I’m not in my studio, I take care of my children, my animals, my family. And when nobody needs me, I go back to work. It is both physical and cerebral activity. I like feeling tired after a hard day’s work.
I don’t celebrate anything at all! Of course, I can be satisfied with the work done, but I immediately think of what’s next. There is continuity and each completed work calls for the next.

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

I would like to collaborate with a designer, and create everyday objects that would take on eccentric shapes as if they were transformed. It would amuse me a lot!
What might also interest me would be to see my characters in stop motion, I find certain film aesthetics magnificent.

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

There are obviously plenty of people whose work I admire, but for a dinner, I prefer to invite those with whom we are going to have a good evening.
I invite Laure Calamy, brilliant French actress, super funny. The kind of personality opposite of me, I adore.
I invite Marion Peck and Mark Ryden, because they are so inspiring!
I invite Totoro (I allow myself! ), Because if I had to worship a god, I would choose him. And I would love to give him a hug.
And I invite Ricky Gervais, he really does me good.
Regarding the menu, well, I hope my guests won’t have too many expectations about it because gastronomy is clearly not one of my passions. It will be vegetarian, and above all we will drink a good little wine because I will be very intimidated by everyone!
And I’m really not very good at sociability, so icebreaker questions usually come the other way around!

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

I usually listen to a bit of everything, classical, rock, electro, it’s very varied. But the last few months, it’s been very hip-hop. Working on large pieces can be very physical, and music is a great help in maintaining pace and motivation. Thank you Eminem and Dr Dre, you have been a great help to me!

Photo Tour of Mark Jeffrey Santos’ ‘Uncharted Paths’ and Clementine Bal’s ‘Magic Friends’

Thinkspace presents a photo tour of Uncharted Paths debuting as his first U.S. solo exhibition by MARK JEFFREY SANTOS (aka Mr. S) showing in Gallery I and CLEMENTINE BAL‘S who is also experiencing her debut U.S. solo show with  Magic Friends’ in Gallery II. 

All exhibitions are on view at Thinkspace Projects now through August 26, 2023.

Photos by @BirdManPhotos.

Continue reading Photo Tour of Mark Jeffrey Santos’ ‘Uncharted Paths’ and Clementine Bal’s ‘Magic Friends’

Interview With Clementine Bal for ‘Magic Friends’ | Exhibition August 5 – August 26, 2023

Thinkspace is excited to present Paris-based French sculptor Clementine Bal‘s ‘Magic Friends’ where her body of work explores slightly strange, quirky, or even truly bizarre characters and a joyful luminous ensemble fueled by gradients and contrasts. Each subject was designed to celebrate their own individuality, even as some of them still struggle to accept themselves as they are. With shapes ranging from the easily recognizable, such as animals, suns, or mountains to the more abstract curves, spikes, bumps, and hollows.

Our interview with Clementine reveals her creative influences and inspirations, her fantasy dinner guest list and what maybe is the next level she envisions for her quirky characters that might make them even more magical.

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

I wanted to work on original characters, giving them sometimes strange shapes. I also wanted to make wall sculptures, so that they take a little height. I wanted to give them confidence, to impose their strangeness and take us into their magical world.
I wanted to work a lot more with colors for this body of work. I wanted to create a very colorful set, in line with the more playful temperament of these new characters. I had a great need for joy and gaiety.
The work on certain sculptures was particularly long and difficult. The large wall pieces with complex shapes in particular required months of work. Days and days of sanding, finishing and handling difficulties. It’s all the more rewarding when the job is done!

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days? Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

I have very conventional working days because they are based on my children’s schedules. I am in my studio from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I sometimes go back a bit in the evening but I generally take this quiet time to do little drawings. In general, I plan the day before my goals for the day. In the morning I start with what I prefer to do, listening to audio books. In the afternoon, I advance on what is necessary, with music. It is rather well structured and it helps me to be well concentrated.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process? Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

I have lots of favorite moments! First of all, I love the beginning, throwing myself into building something. But I also like to realize the details, and to see these forms which become characters.
What is most complicated is the end. The final touches, often endless, and the photos, which closes the process. There comes a time when you have to accept that it’s not perfect, and move on to try to do better!
The discovery of Mark Ryden’s work was a big crush for me, I loved the distorted naivety of his characters, the link with the world of childhood.
I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, these masterpieces with all these extraordinary characters.
In literature, Murakami is truly one of my favorite authors, with his fantastic creativity.
And then there are these contemporary artists whose work I admire like Otani workshop and Klara Kristalova with their characters of great sensitivity. Nicolas Party, whose work with colors I particularly admire. Ob with all its delicacy. Roby Dwi Antono and his incredible artistic path. David Shrigley and his humor. And of course so many others…

If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do / be an expert at?

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?
So what I would like (maybe it’s more of a magic power than a skill) would be to be able to talk to the animals. I could tell them how much I love them, and how sorry I am for all the harm done to them.
But concerning my work, I believe that it would be better to remove things from my brain. With less expectations, control, fear, I could gain spontaneity. I work on that!
If my sculptures can give people a sweet, inner smile, then my job is done!

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?
When I’m not in my studio, I take care of my children, my animals, my family. And when nobody needs me, I go back to work. It is both physical and cerebral activity. I like feeling tired after a hard day’s work.
I don’t celebrate anything at all! Of course, I can be satisfied with the work done, but I immediately think of what’s next. There is continuity and each completed work calls for the next.

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

I would like to collaborate with a designer, and create everyday objects that would take on eccentric shapes as if they were transformed. It would amuse me a lot!
What might also interest me would be to see my characters in stop motion, I find certain film aesthetics magnificent.

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

There are obviously plenty of people whose work I admire, but for a dinner, I prefer to invite those with whom we are going to have a good evening.
I invite Laure Calamy, brilliant French actress, super funny. The kind of personality opposite of me, I adore.
I invite Marion Peck and Mark Ryden, because they are so inspiring!
I invite Totoro (I allow myself! ), Because if I had to worship a god, I would choose him. And I would love to give him a hug.
And I invite Ricky Gervais, he really does me good.
Regarding the menu, well, I hope my guests won’t have too many expectations about it because gastronomy is clearly not one of my passions. It will be vegetarian, and above all we will drink a good little wine because I will be very intimidated by everyone!
And I’m really not very good at sociability, so icebreaker questions usually come the other way around!

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

I usually listen to a bit of everything, classical, rock, electro, it’s very varied. But the last few months, it’s been very hip-hop. Working on large pieces can be very physical, and music is a great help in maintaining pace and motivation. Thank you Eminem and Dr Dre, you have been a great help to me!

Exhibition on view August 5 – August 26, 2023 at:
Thinkspace Projects
4217 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016

August Exhibitions featuring works from Mark Jeffrey Santos, Clementine Bal, Jamiah Calvin, Wiley Wallace & GoopMassta open August 5, 2023 at Thinkspace Projects.

Thinkspace Projects presents:

Gallery I:          
MARK JEFFREY SANTOS (aka Mr. S)
‘Uncharted Paths’

Gallery II:                                               
CLEMENTINE BAL
‘Magic Friends’

Gallery III:  
JAMIAH CALVIN (aka MIAH THE CREATOR)
‘Reganomics, Cocaine ’80s and the ’90s Re-Up’

Gallery IV:     
WILEY WALLACE
‘Woven Trails’

Dog House Gallery:
GOOPMASSTA
‘Leader of the Pack’

If all that wasn’t enough, be sure to check out GoopMassta’s ‘Courtyard Sessions’ between our two spots with Alex Solis live painting + a mini artist mart with booths from GoopMassta, AtlasgraffitiSean Keeton, & Anthony Patrick Manorek + amazing grub from Kabob Senpai + open bar + live DJs Venice Beats + Brushwork’s Dog House Gallery

Opening Reception:
Saturday, August 5 from 6-10pm

On view August 5 – August 26, 2023

Thinkspace Projects
4207 W. Jefferson Blvd + 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016
#310.558.3375  |  Tues. – Sat. noon to 6pm

MARK JEFFREY SANTOS (aka Mr. S)
‘Uncharted Paths’

Thinkspace projects is proud to present ‘Uncharted Paths’ from Mark Jeffrey Santos, aka Mr. S in our main gallery. Following appearances in our Chicago and Dubai group shows last year, this is the artist’s debut solo exhibition in the United States. 

Santos’s creations show his penchant for adventurous and larger-than-life personas, there’s an instant and comfortable connection that is established once a viewer comes to experience his art.

His new body of work for ‘Uncharted Paths’ is based on his personal experiences traveling, creating a body of work that evokes the certain feeling of excitement when you find yourself in a new place.  

“Last year I had the opportunity to travel to South Korea and I was lucky to have witnessed the season of autumn. Seeing it for the first time feels like I’m in a strange world. It was such an otherworldly experience for an ordinary phenomenon.”

Many of Santos’s works revolve around vignettes of a young boy captured in the midst of discovery and exploration of a new realm. A sense of self-awareness is evident in the pensive gaze of his innocent protagonist. It is a look that is filled with profound reflection and contemplation of things to come. Santos uses a variety of Japanese Noh masks to expand this concept — masks that conceal its subject’s emotion opposite the pensive gaze that reveals the true emotions he feels.

Complete with a dreamlike environment and his wide-eyed characters, Santos is not only technically skilled, but also gifted with the vision to construct imaginary, bordering on surreal, scenes. His characters can often be found on an adventure, accompanied by larger-than-life creatures. Such talent in world-building and character design only comes natural for Santos, who did works in video and film before becoming a visual artist.

About Mark Jeffrey Santos (aka Mr. S):
Mark Jeffrey Santos (b. 1990 Philippines) works are steeped in the world of fantasy. With previous work in video and film, he is a world-building and character design wonder. Since participating in art exhibitions in 2015, Santos has been gaining a massive following online and on ground, earning the moniker “Mister Sasquatch” in the local street art scene, for one. Santos’s paintings and illustrations are also beginning to gain traction internationally, having exhibited his works in Taiwan, China, and the United Kingdom. He has had four solo exhibitions, too, and has been part of art fairs and group shows in the country and abroad.

CLEMENTINE BAL
‘Magic Friends’

Clémentine Bal’s Magic Friends welcomes viewers into her world of characters who proudly embrace their uniqueness and vibrant colors, filling Gallery II of Thinkspace Projects for her debut U.S. solo exhibition.

This body of work explores slightly strange, quirky, or even truly bizarre characters and a joyful luminous ensemble fueled by gradients and contrasts. Each subject was designed to celebrate their own individuality, even as some of them still struggle to accept themselves as they are. 

With shapes ranging from the easily recognizable, such as animals, suns, or mountains to the more abstract curves, spikes, bumps, and hollows. The tactile aspect of my work is undoubtedly what I appreciate the most. Each character is unique, yet they all seem to be connected in one way or another. They form a magical entity that can transform at will. With their simple, clean lines, it’s as if they just came out of a drawing, evoking a childlike wonder and even a disconcerting naivety. 

“I truly enjoyed bringing these characters to life, aiming for them to be light-hearted, kind, and funny, like friends.”

About Clémentine Bal:
Clémentine Bal is a sculptor born in Paris in 1979 and who lives in France. She graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Annecy. In her work she creates characters that reflect her inner world. They can come from feelings, memories, projections. They take the form of multicolored mountains or volcanoes, semi-human creatures, little hybrid ghosts. With their simple, clean lines, it’s as if they just came out of a drawing. Clémentine Bal maintains the strong ties she keeps with childhood, giving her characters a sometimes disconcerting naivety. Influenced by the worlds of Mark Ryden or Hayao Miyazaki, she will also draw her inspiration from her memories of reading or cartoons from her youth. Family, children, friendship, animals, and more generally the strong bonds that give us emotions are themes that she likes to address. Thus are born a variety of characters gently. Their lightness protects us like an antidote to the sound and fury of the world.

JAMIAH CALVIN (aka MIAH THE CREATOR)
‘Reganomics, Cocaine ’80s and the ’90s Re-Up’

In Gallery III, Thinkspace Projects presents Jamiah Calvin’s new body of work, full of moments of fortitude and moments of healing. ‘Reaganomics, Cocaine ’80s and the ’90s Re-Up’ uses past memories and nostalgic moments where the “hard times” were also the best of times. 

In no real order these paintings tell an intimate story of the artist’s world and upbringing, providing a sober view of what it meant to live in a world where drug transactions and confusing crack for candy as a child was a normalized way of life.

In this body of work you can see the way in which Calvin has enriched himself in the art of visual storytelling without aggression. With depictions of iconic hood spots, Calvin highlights the “golden days,” calling attention to the ways recent transplants have glamorized the times of hardship. 

About Jamiah Calvin:
Jamiah Calvin is a visual artist and muralist from Chicago Illinois. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in studio art with an emphasis on painting. He specializes in figurative and narrative oil paintings that captures raw emotions and nostolgic experiences growing up within the Austin Community on the West side of Chicago.

WILEY WALLACE
‘Woven Trails’

‘Woven Trails’ is Wiley Wallace’s latest solo exhibition, bringing a captivating exploration of interconnectedness, time, and space to Thinkspace Projects’ Gallery IV. 

Through a harmonious fusion of yarn, threads, transparent shapes, translucent glass, hiking trails, and metaphysical elements, Wallace creates compositions that transcend the boundaries of the tangible world. Symbolizing the invisible threads that bind us and the universe together, the incorporation of string highlights the connected nature of all things. With translucent glass, the artwork takes on an ethereal quality, inviting contemplation of the seen and unseen. Central to the exhibition are the motifs of hiking trails, serving as metaphors for the journeys we undertake in life and the narratives that shape our experiences. 

‘Woven Trails’ delves into metaphysical concepts, inviting viewers to reflect on the mysteries of existence. The paintings depict transformative journeys where time, space, and interconnectedness intertwine to form a mesmerizing tapestry of exploration and reflection. Wallace’s pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.

About Wiley Wallace:
Phoenix-born painter Wiley Wallace’s work is playful and ambiguous, his luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds suggest a metaphysical interest in the possibility of alternate realities: the endlessly shapeshifting and protean nature of fantasy at the intersection of the imagined and “real.” Wallace’s paintings combine realistic rendering with elements of the surreal, and near-magical references that include eerily cast light sources bordering on the supernatural. Playful and macabre, his works combine intense thematic contrasts between light and dark to achieve suspense and evasion. Children are a recurring theme in his compositions, representing a kind of primordial link to something invisible and beyond comprehension, exempt from the rationalizations of the adult. Often using his own children as models, Wallace’s narratives are open-ended, filled with suggestion and partial disclosures rather than forceful assertions or posited certainties. The themes of connection and communication resonate throughout Wallace’s imagery, as the works’ protagonists seem ever in search of fugitive contact. The skeleton is a recurring figure throughout Wallace’s imagery as well, appearing at times as a sinister harbinger of some kind and at others as Halloween costume level kitsch. Wallace’s pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.

GOOPMASSTA
‘Leader of the Pack’

GoopMassta’s debut solo show embraces the environment of the Dog House Gallery. Playing off the irony of the dog house itself, the collection features 15 new canine-inspired works. Each piece creates a unique and playful atmosphere that will evoke a feeling of happiness and familiarity. The refreshing experience does not stop as you take in the full collection, but continues throughout with eye-catching installations both inside and out.

About GoopMassta:
Hello, my name is James – I’m currently living in the Los Angeles area; was born in New York and raised in Miami. I am the creator of GoopMassta, the iconic and legendary fashion-forward, positive thinking froggy character. I focus mainly on my character and portraying his exclusive lifestyle to the world. The more you experience with him, the more you’ll become a part of his journey and never want to leave. I’m constantly pushing and exploring different aspects of GoopMassta and his story to continuously promote positivity through different mediums. My goal as an artist/creator is to inspire and show others that there are no limits – you can achieve anything you desire.