Interview with Anthony Clarkson for his current exhibition ‘Enigmatic Dreams’ on view til Friday March 17, 2023 at The Brand Library & Arts Center

Thinkspace is pleased to present Anthony Clarkson‘s seventh solo exhibition ‘Enigmatic Dreams’ with our gallery. A painter, designer, and illustrator, Clarkson’s oil paintings are ghostly and surreal – dreamlike meanderings through eerily cast dimensions. Stylistically dark, they feel like haunted eruptions of the subconscious. Combining character-based narratives with the unexpected juxtaposition of suggestive symbols and absurd elements, they create jarring nightmarish figments and provocative associations. At times playful and others nihilistic, his works are graphically and illustratively inspired to elicit a gut reaction.

Our interview with Anthony Clarkson discusses his playlists, his dreams and all the coffee he drinks in order to make this exhibition happen!

You’ve been showing with Thinkspace since its inception. Your artistic career growing alongside the project’s evolution. What does having an exhibition up at the Brand Library and Arts Center mean to you?

Having a show at the Brand Library is great. It’s such a unique place to show with a great atmosphere. It’s also nice to be showcased alongside rooms featuring other artists I admire so much.

What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?

In the past I’ve almost always had very ‘themed’ shows that revolved around some sort of narrative. This time I tried to just paint images that came to me without overanalyzing them or trying to make them fit a theme. That’s why I titled the show Enigmatic Dreams. Enigmatic means difficult to interpret or understand, and that’s how I felt initially about most of the pieces. As I worked on them they would gain meaning for me, but at their inception they were just free-form consciousness.

What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?

These Oceans Within’ was probably the most challenging. Mostly because I’ve not painted a lot water like that before, and also painting it from what feels like two different perspectives between the top and bottom halves was interesting. Anytime you do something you’re not use to or go out of your comfort zone it causes your skills to grow, even if it’s incrementally and not a major leap forward.

Enigmatic Dreams has imagery that gives a sense of surrender and control, holding on and letting go. How do you navigate these human truths in your own life? Do you have any practices that help you cope with the chaos that is being alive?

Deciding what we hold onto or let go of can be hard. It’s where we decide to put our energy day to day that can really define the kind of person we move through life as. When I’m making art or get consumed listening to an album is when my mind is most clear and life makes the most sense.

The opening at The Brand Library and Art Center was quite the scene; what was one of your favorite moments from the evening?

Really it was just seeing how much people seemed to enjoy the art and vibe going on.

Did this latest body of work have an associated playlist or source of musical inspiration per piece?

Not really. I listened to so much stuff I can’t say there was any particular band or album that was the ‘soundtrack’ to this group of work. In the last few weeks of work I was listing to the new Katatonia album ‘Sky Void of Stars’ and Host’s debut album ‘IX’ a lot. Other than that I was listening to a lot of mellow movie soundtracks like American Beauty, Spotlight, and Lost In Translation.

Your work has a dreamlike quality; are you a vivid dreamer? If so, does that imagery or narrative ever inspire or enter into the work you’re developing?

I’d say most of my pieces start off based on dreams I have. That can usually be as simple as a feeling, colors, or a phrase that remain as the dream itself fades. It’s hard for me to just come up with an idea on the spot, which can be really frustrating at times. I need to let my mind not focus on coming up with an idea and when I’m typically in a half wake / dream state ideas just come to me.

Coffee is an essential part of the creative practice. What is your coffee order? Do you have a favorite/preferred brand of coffee?

I love coffee, but I’m also not picky at all about it. I’m the kind of person that can drink day old truck stop coffee and be totally fine with it.

There are more than several amazing pieces in the exhibition, and this might be a difficult question, but are you up for the challenge – what piece would you want to add to your art collection, and why?

I’d have to say “An American Werewolf In London” by Matthew Grabelsky was one that I really loved. I’m a sucker for anything with a wolf in it.

If someone wanted to understand the emotional landscape of your story and creative process, do you have a film recommendation that would be able to echo familiar themes?

In a lot of ways I’d have to say the movie ‘Adaptation’. Even though it’s about an author instead of a painter, the way the main character thinks about the creative process and his own place within it rings very true to me. His striving to be original and really say something but feeling that he may not be achieving anything of true uniqueness is an internal struggle I can definitely identify with.

On view only until this Friday March 17th at The Brand Library and Arts Center in Glendale, California.

The Brand Library and Arts Center
1601 W. Mountain Street
Glendale, California 91201

Viewing Days / Hours:
Tues. – Thurs.: 11am – 8pm
Fri. & Sat.: 10am – 5pm
Closed Sun. & Mon.
Free Admission & Free Parking

For more about the exhibition and opening night click HERE!

Photos by @BirdManPhotos.

Interview with Anthony Clarkson for ‘All By Design’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘All By Design,’ from Los Angeles-based artist Anthony Clarkson whose work is a portal into child-like innocence, mixed with troubled spirits, broken hearts, and a sense of emptiness.

‘All By Design‘ is Anthony Clarkson’s sixth solo exhibition with Thinkspace. A painter, designer, and illustrator, Clarkson’s oil paintings are ghostly and surreal – dreamlike meanderings through eerily cast dimensions. Stylistically dark, they feel like haunted eruptions of the subconscious.

In anticipation of ‘All By Design,’ our interview with Anthony Clarkson discusses the Twighlight Zone, being made for pandemic life, and exploring elements of nature within his work.

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

AC: I grew up in Kansas being that kid who was always drawing. After getting my bachelor’s degree in design from the Art Institute of Denver in 2002 I moved to Los Angeles and started working as head graphic designer for several record labels specializing in Heavy Metal. Soon after Thinkspace Projects opened and I started showing with them and have continued pursuing to further my career as an independent artist.

SH: What is the inspiration behind ‘All By Design? 

AC: Usually most of my solo shows revolve around some sort of a theme, but this time I didn’t really do that. I think I tried to push my ideas a bit further along with the overall designs of the pieces. I think my works have been getting more surreal overall and focus on nature a bit more as a theme. 

SH: Have you watched the new Jordan-Peele produced Twilight Zone? Thoughts?

AC: I’ve only seen the first episode, “The Comedian”.  I liked it overall and really intend to go back and watch the rest of the first season. The original Twilight Zone is one of my favorite shows of all time. I always love when the Syfy channel does an all-day marathon, usually on New Years and a few other days during the year. 

SH: How did this exhibition challenge you and your skills as an artist?

AC: I tried to do slightly more complex designs and add more detail into the works than I’ve done in the past. They aren’t totally different than I’ve done before, I just tried to push things a bit further this time.

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

AC: When a new idea for a piece comes to mind that’s the most excited I get. I also like once I have the basic design laid out on the canvas and first start to paint because I can see all the possibilities of where it can go.

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?

AC: Since I’ve been busy staying working on this new batch of works since the pandemic started I’ve not had a huge adjustment as far as going out socially. I’ve always kind of kept to myself so I feel like my life has all been training to socially distance. ha

SH: What is your favorite local spot to pick up some take out?

AC: Fat Burger. I like that they have veggie burgers and are just a couple blocks from where I live, so whenever I get a craving for greasy fast food I usually end up there. 

SH: If you could download any skill, Matrix-style, into your brain – what would you want to learn/be able to do?

AC: It would be nice to have all the skills of the great painters throughout history. There are tons of other things I’d like to know, but upgrading my artistic skills comes to mind right now.

SH: Who are some of your creative influences?

AC: I grew up loving comic books and heavy metal album covers. So along with artists like H.R. Giger and Salvador Dali, I was really into comic book artists like Jim Lee and Todd Mcfarlane along with heavy metal album cover artists such as Derek Riggs, Ed Repka, Andreas Marschall, Kristian Wåhlin and Dan Seagrave.

Join us LIVE on Instagram, Saturday, August 22nd from 1 to 2 pm PST while we tour ‘All By Design‘ along with new work from Sarah Joncas and Sergio Garcia.

‘5 Years / 5 Questions’ with Anthony Clarkson – Thinkspace 5 Year Anniversary Show (on view through Nov. 27th)

Anthony Clarkson 'Ring Around the Rosy' - Acrylic on wood panel

’5 Years / 5 Questions’ with Anthony Clarkson

Tell us a little bit about your piece for Thinkspace’s ‘5 Year Anniversary Show’ this November?
“Ring Around the Rosy” is a sort of self-portrait of my state of mind based on the maypole game. I’ve been recently doing so many painting with kids in them, and as much as people seem to like ‘em, I’ve started to feel like they’ve become too prevalent and cause me not to push my concepts and imagery. So as I move away from painting kids this piece is a way to kind of explain what I’ve started to feel like they are doing to me creatively.

What were you doing back in 2005 when Thinkspace started?
I was working on my first two paintings to put into the first Thinkspace show/my first show! So this five year anniversary show for Thinkspace is also my personal five year anniversary of doing gallery showings.

Name 5 things you can’t live without in your studio?
Other than the basics like paints, brushes, chair, etc… I’d say my computer, music, movies, art books and a beverage of some sort.

Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?
Just keepin’ on keepin’ on. I hope to have bigger shows, bigger paintings and to be pushing my skills and ideas further.

What have you got coming up in 2011?
I’ll have the project room at Thinkspace in February for my ‘A Time to Forget’ show which I’m super excited about. I’m really trying to push both my quality of work and my concepts.

Artist website:

Look for Anthony’s upcoming solo show this February at Thinkspace… more details announced soon!

Check out the works featured in our 5 Year Anniversary show here:

‘5 Year Anniversary Show’
Group exhibition showcasing 49 artists representing our past, present and future with a featured installation from Johnny ‘KMNDZ’ Rodriguez

LAST DAY TO VIEW: This Sat, Nov. 27th from 1-6PM
(* please note we are closed this Thurs and Fri for Thanksgiving)

Thinkspace / 6009 Washington Blvd in Culver City /