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.

Anthony Clarkson exhibition ‘All By Design’ is on view starting August 22

ANTHONY CLARKSON
All By Design
On view: August 22, 2020 – September 12, 2020

The art of Anthony Clarkson 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 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.

Clarkson’s vision continues to expand as his paintings evolve into more intense expressions of his own dark thoughts. All By Design showcases Clarkson’s most accomplished and detailed works to date.

Join us LIVE on Instagram on Saturday, August 22 from 1 to 2pm PST while we tour our new exhibitions.

Opening Reception of Jolene Lai’s “Beside You” & Anthony Clarkson’s “Trail of Wandering Thoughts”

The opening reception of Jolene Lai’s ‘Beside You’ and Anthony Clarkson’s ‘Trail of Wandering Thoughts’ buzzed throughout the night as those in attendance enjoyed the details of the artists work. Jolene Lai’s installation was a first of it’s kind in our main room and Clarkson pushed her artist technique switching from acrylics to oils in his latest body of work. The exhibition is one view now until February 25th.

View available work from Anthony Clarkson and Jolene Lai on the Thinkspace website.

Interview with Anthony Clarkson for “Trail of Wandering Thoughts”

Anthony Clarkson Interview

Thinkspace is proud to present Anthony Clarkson’s latest body of work ‘Trail of Wandering Thoughts’ in our project room on view now through February 25th. The Los Angeles-based artist departed from acrylics and pushed his technique with oils in his latest body of work continuing to create surreal – dreamlike meanderings through eerily cast dimensions.  In anticipation of Clarkson’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Anthony Clarkson to discuss his creative process, growing as an artist, and sources of inspiration.

SH: Can you elaborate on the inspiration for this latest body of work and themes you’ve been exploring?
AC: This is the first group of works I’ve done not really centered around a theme. This time I just painted images that came to mind without really questioning what their meaning was, or trying to say a specific thing with them. I did find it very freeing. I think I’ve always felt in the past I really had to plan out the meaning behind each piece and have them convey a specific idea. I don’t know if I’ll keep conceiving images this way from now on or if I’ll go back to more theme-based works in the future, but I definitely feel some sort of creative wall has been torn down for me mentally.

SH: You’re a full-time artist in the fine art and digital art space? Do these mediums influence each other, are you able to explore or test ideas in one field that is adopted into a different piece?
AC: Yeah, I do both painted and digital art. I tend to keep them pretty separate in my mind, but I do sometimes come up with neat effects in my digital work that I wonder If I’d be able to replicate the look in paint.

SH: In a 2015 interview you shared that you would begin painting more with oils, will we see being seeing a lot more oils in this new body of work? What’s the differences in your ability to express yourself creatively when it comes to using acrylics versus oils?
AC: This is my first show where most everything is in oil. There has been a big learning curve with oils, but I do like them. I feel like I’m just starting to get a grasp on them, so I’m really excited to see what I’m able to do with them on future works. Some of the layering techniques I’m starting to learn are really cool that I think will allow me to do some great lighting effects and create more of a mood.

SH: Can you walk us through a day in the studio?
AC: On a typical day I usually wake up around 10 or so in the morning, and after several cups of coffee and checking e-mails, I start sketching out new painting ideas or jump right into painting if I have pieces already in the works. I usually work until about 7-8pm then take a break for dinner and relax with an hour or two of TV. Around 9pm I jump back into working and it usually goes late into the night. I tend to find I get a lot of my best work done between around 11pm-3am, when the rest of the world has gone to bed. It just feels a lot more peaceful and easier to fall into a natural creative state.

SH: What inspires you creatively? When you’re not painting what are you doing?
AC: Music has always been the biggest inspiration on my art. I can listen to a song and have images and colors come to mind that influence a lot of my paintings. I also love relaxing while watching movies both old and new. Being able to fall into different story narratives than I would have maybe normally come up with on my own can spark a lot of new ideas I can pull into my work.

SH: What would be your dream collaboration? (It can be any art form)
AC: I think it would be really cool to see my art animated and put to music in some way. Since I saw the short piece “Destino” by Salvador Dali in collaboration with Disney I’ve always thought something like that would be really great. I think my art would work for something in that vein really well too.

SH: If your artwork was a food item on a menu, how would it be described?
AC: I have no idea how it would be described, but I’m pretty sure it would be on the 99 cent menu.

SH: What were you listening to during this latest body of work, podcast? Playlist? Netflix?
AC: In the mornings I usually listen to a few different podcasts throughout the week such as Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave, Smodcast, Fat Man on Batman, The Nerdist, WTF, The Eddie Trunk Podcast.
In the afternoons I listen to music most of the time. I love heavy metal and listen to a lot of classic bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Dio, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Pantera. Also various other bands like Katatonia, Anathema, Tiamat, Ulver, and always some Depeche Mode and The Cure

In the evenings after dinner, I put on movies in the background. When painting I almost always play movies I’ve seen several times so I can just let the story wash over me and don’t have to focus on a new story. Just a few of the regulars that keep getting plays while I paint are Taxi Driver, Dr. Strangelove, American Beauty, Boogie Nights, Adaptation, Holy Mountain, Lost in Translation, A Clockwork Orange, and anything Alfred Hitchcock. Along with lots of old Twilight Zone episodes.

SH: What elements of other art inspires you? What artists are you fawning over right now?
AC: I tend to be drawn to artists that use really dynamic shadows and lighting. That’s always something I want to get a lot better at and get more depth and dynamics from my paintings. Also, artists who do an image design from a different view or angle than I would have thought of and is able to bring out more dynamics in the image that way.
There are so many artists I’m into right now, but I tend to be drawn to seeing works by people who do vastly different styles than my own because I can almost always find a technique or something in them that I can try to incorporate into my own works in my own way.
Right now I am really looking forward to the new show from Marco Mazzoni coming up. I love what he does with colored pencils. Back in high school, I was going through a big colored pencil phase when I was moving on from pen and ink work. I would go through boxes of Prismacolors trying to get a very painted look with them. So seeing what he does is really cool to me, like seeing the kind of thing I might have done had I kept working in that medium.

SH: You’ve been showing with Thinkspace for the last ten years. As an artist, how do you push yourself artistically without compromising your unique style?
AC: I think as far as the “world” I’ve been creating and trying to dive deeper into with my images I know where I’m going. It’s just about keeping going down that path. For me, the pushing myself comes from learning new techniques or using new mediums, like going from acrylic to oil paints. Overall I think I know what my grand vision for my art is that I’m trying to achieve, it’s just experimenting to find the best ways of pulling it off and putting in the hours of work to get better at creating that vision.

View all available works from ‘Trail of Wandering Thoughts‘ on the Thinkspace Gallery website.

Anthony Clarkson’s ‘Trail of Wandering Thoughts’ Coming February 2017

Anthony Clarkson Trail of Wandering Thoughts

Anthony Clarkson
Trail of Wandering Thoughts
February 4 – February 25, 2017

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Trail of Wandering Thoughts, featuring new works by Anthony Clarkson in his fifth solo exhibition with our gallery. A painter, designer, and illustrator, Clarkson has worked extensively in the music industry, designing album artwork for prominent bands as the lead graphic designer of a well-known Los Angeles record company. In 2005, he began exhibiting his own work and focusing on his fine art career, returning to the expressive stream of consciousness style to which he had always gravitated.
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.