Interview with Brian ‘Dovie’ Golden for ‘Hard Candy’ | Exhibition May 6 – May 27, 2023 

Thinkspace is pleased to present Brian ‘Dovie’ GoldenHard Candy‘ -a study in contradictions that underscores the struggle of preservation. With a hard exterior and a soft heart, Brian “Dovie” Golden relates to the sweet treat, calling attention to the internal strife caused by human duality. Often taught to “toughen up” and “be a man,” the show is a reflection of the artist’s personal experiences as a Black man navigating emotions, family, faith and life. His childhood love of drawing shines through in pop culture elements and vibrant colors. Nodding to both pop art and photorealism, Golden presents something fresh to the new contemporary art scene.

Our interview with Brian shares some of his must-have playlist tracks, how he orders his ramen, and his way of dealing with grief.

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

Reflection – particularly through the eyes of my 11-year-old self – took center stage in this body of work. As I pored over old family polaroids in tattered photo albums – some leather-bound, others plastic or vinyl – I was transported. These beautiful artifacts of cherished stories represented more than just glimpses into years far gone; they were invitations to reconnect, root, and reflect. No particular piece in Hard Candy felt especially challenging, rather the entire body of work tested my vulnerability, strengthened my mental fortitude and sharpened my execution skills.

You shared that bourbon, a good cup of coffee, and a playlist all help to get you into a creative flow. What is your favorite bourbon and coffee brand? What is a must-have playlist track?

A good cup of coffee was a welcome companion throughout the making of this show, and I have a particular fondness for the locally roasted Intelligentsia and Dark Matter coffee brands here in Chicago. As someone who works in advertising, I often find myself creating in the wee hours of the night when everyone else is asleep. To prepare for this show, I pulled more all-nighters than I have in a very long time. While I don’t have a specific song, I curated a playlist of songs from my childhood that perfectly captured the nostalgic mood I was seeking to evoke in this body of work. Nas – it aint hard to tell, Anita Baker – same ole love, Nirvana – heart shaped box, to list a few.

Over the last three years, your work has moved away from including realism portraiture and has focused more on the f(r)iend and fiend characters. Can you share what informed the evolution in your style and if you think you’d return to portraiture elements?

I always strive to strike a balance between figuring out the primary and secondary characters within my pieces. Typically, the primary person is the one affected by the friend or fiend, with the friend or fiend serving as a secondary component. I sought to transform the concept of “f(r)iend and fiend characters” into something more personal, acknowledging that both sides of these characters are innate within us. Shifting away from realism portraiture has enabled me to concentrate on the mood and posture of the subject, thereby allowing for a more holistic story of their interaction with the environment.

How do you celebrate yourself? What experiences ignite joy in your life?

I am still on a journey of self-discovery and learning to celebrate myself. Rainstorms bring me immense joy and a sense of calm. I find them therapeutic and mesmerizing, often losing myself in the sight of each raindrop hitting the pavement. It’s remarkable how each drop, like a snowflake, completes its task of giving life to the vegetation below. The significance of rain is powerful, and it never fails to uplift my spirits. Furthermore, I am learning to prioritize spending time with the people who matter to me. Life is short, and it’s crucial for me to cherish and value the moments spent with my loved ones.

Grief is not a stranger to you, and unfortunately have had to learn to live with its immeasurable weight far sooner than some and more than others will ever experience. How would you describe grief? What advice was the hardest to receive but the most important for learning to navigate it?

I have learned that grief is not just one thing. It can be and serve as a powerful catalyst that motivates you to persevere; alternatively, it can dismantle the very foundation of your beliefs. In the aftermath of tragedy, grief draws out feelings of helplessness. The maxim, “God’s plans are not mine,” proved particularly difficult for me to accept. However, as I reflect upon this bittersweetness of this wisdom and actively choose to embrace life, I’m gradually piecing together the puzzle and gaining a clearer understanding.

Faith plays a significant role in your life, and prayer is a part of your creative process. Have you always been a person of faith?

Yes, but admittedly, I have my own share of shortcomings. However, my mother has been an unwavering source of strength and inspiration, a true warrior in my life. She prays for her family every single day, and I firmly believe that it’s those prayers that have repeatedly saved my life. My faith in God and His guiding hand over my life is something I cherish deeply, and even in moments of desperation and sorrow, I find solace in the knowledge that He is always there.

What’s your favorite kind of Ramen?

Tonkotsu, hands down! Usually with extra noodles and chili oil.

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your work?

Contemplating this question often causes me anxiety, as our thoughts and perceptions evolve over time. It’s difficult to predict how my work will be interpreted 10 or 20 years from now, and this uncertainty can keep me up at night. However, I believe that everyone views the world in their own unique way, and I welcome diverse interpretations of my work. My ultimate goal is to inspire people to reflect on important themes in their current lives, as this moment is temporary and fleeting.

Would you rather be locked inside a library or an art supply store for three days? Both vicinities have plenty of food, water, and a comfy air mattress with cozy blankets for the stay.

Wow so comfy! If I were locked inside an art store, I doubt I would sleep at all, given the endless possibilities and materials available to create whatever my heart desires. Nonetheless, as tempting as it sounds, I believe I would prefer the library. Three days immersed in a space of boundless knowledge and inspiration seems like the ideal setting to generate a plethora of fresh ideas.

Exhibition on view May 6 – May 27, 2023 at:
Thinkspace Projects
4207 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016

May 2023 Exhibitions featuring Brian ‘Dovie’ Golden, Armani Howard, Austyn Taylor, and Jimbo Lateef Open May 6, 2023 at Thinkspace Projects

Thinkspace Projects presents:

Hard Candy

Songs of Dawn

Cookie Monster

Chronicles of Life

Opening Reception:
Saturday, May 6 from 6-10pm

On view May 6 – May 27, 2023

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

Collector Preview will be shared on Monday, May 1



Hard Candy

On view May 6 – May 27, 2023 in Gallery I

A study in contradictions, Hard Candy underscores the struggle of preservation. With a hard exterior and a soft heart, Brian “Dovie” Golden relates to the sweet treat, calling attention to the internal strife caused by human duality. 

Thinkspace Projects continues their ongoing relationship with the visual artist, presenting their fourth solo show together, and the largest to date for both the artist himself and the partnership. Using painting and drawing to better understand issues of identity, race, gender, and mental health, the Chicago-based African American contemporary artist attempts to reconcile the harsh realities of life. 

Golden wields thought-provoking, emotionally-charged portraiture and abstract line sketches as a tool for facilitation conversation, inviting others to examine complex and even uncomfortable topics. His imagery is personal, incorporating realism amongst cartoonish inclusions ranging from angels to devils, ropes to ribbons, claws that cling, and bared teeth, each in pursuit of a balanced composition. 

In this particular collection, Golden presents the world through his own eyes. Often taught to “toughen up” and “be a man,” the show is a reflection of the artist’s personal experiences as a Black man navigating emotions, family, faith and life. His childhood love of drawing shines through in pop culture elements and vibrant colors. Nodding to both pop art and photorealism, Golden presents something fresh to the new contemporary art scene

About Brian “Dovie” Golden
Brian Dovie Golden is a visual artist who uses painting and drawing as an introspective tool for understanding issues of identity, race, gender and mental health, as well as an attempt to reconcile the harsh realities of life. His imagery is personal, incorporating realism through portraiture with cartoon style inclusions. Golden was born and raised in Chicago and studied Graphic Design/Multimedia Production at the International Academy of Design and Technology, earning his BFA in 2007. He has exhibited at various galleries including Thinkspace Gallery, Elephant Room Gallery, Vertical Gallery and Line Dot. Golden was awarded 1st Place at the Black Creativity Expo at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago in 2018 for his painting “Promises… Promises”. He currently lives and works in the Chicago-land area, continuing to expand his body of work through exhibitions, commissions and projects.



Songs of Dawn

On view May 6 – May 27, 2023 in Gallery II

Affording viewers the opportunity to view transitional phases through the mind and eyes of whimsical beings, Armani Howard’s Songs of Dawn captures growth in a remarkable way. Filling Thinkspace Projects’ Gallery II, Howard encourages a dialogue of mysticism–the emotional and physical conduit that occurs when a body has a new experience. 

Creating a form of contemporary folklore, Howard reimagines his existence and experiences as a black body into a visually sizable body of work. Dream-like and at times bewildering, his work is expressive of narratives unbounded in time. 

Hoping to aid future humans in navigating internal dialogue surrounding identity and heritage, Howard provides the space to question American traditions. His work, which is layered with compositions of abstract figuration, loose gestural marks, and an evocative usage of color, upholds the antecedents of the African American dialogue before him. He cross-examines the roles of memory, nostalgia, and folkloric narratives in the creation and preservation of identity. His nebulous, conceptually layered compositions depict an intersectional space between objective reality and the more speculative mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life.

About Armani Howard
Armani Howard (b.1993, Chicago, Illinois) is an African American-Thai contemporary artist, working primarily in painting and drawing. His work explores the themes of preservation of identity, escapism, pop culture, self-discovery, mental health, and loss of innocence. Howard’s paintings are often depicted with allegorical or symbolic features. The physical environments they inhabit are heavily abstracted and obscured, suggesting a realm outside of time in which dream life, memory, and imagination coexist with materiality.



Cookie Monster

On view May 6 – May 27, 2023 in Gallery III

With a collection named for famous authors, Thinkspace is excited to present their debut solo exhibition with Austyn Taylor. Cookie Monster is inspired by the meanings behind people’s names. 

What started as Taylor’s assignment to art students years ago has become the inspiration for this collection of sculptures. With varied influences, each piece is full of personality. With lovable characters and vibrant colors, the sculptures are endearing. This effect is only magnified by the researched history and inspiration behind each work. 

Taylor’s panpsychist humorist narrative has led her to create a world of familiar characters–bear, bull, horse, deer, lion, duck, predator, prey etc. Each piece is a declaration, a statement, and an optimistic reframe from the rampant psychological banalities of human narrative.

The sculptures marry Taylor’s view on contemporary design with pop culture. Drawing on both ancient and contemporary sources, she creates works of “folk-pop” that lie somewhere between “hype” and “hope.” Inspired by American animation, Austyn’s art calls back to our animist history where wandering spirits found refuge in masks and idols. 

About Austyn Taylor
Austyn Taylor was born in 1984, Rochester, New York. Since obtaining an MFA from Alfred University in 2016 she has pursued life as a nomadic sculptor traveling and lecturing regularly in studios around the world. Residencies include Aout Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon; Guldagergaard, Skælskør, Denmark; China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Sonoma Ceramics, Sonoma, California; Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas; VARDA residency, Sausalito, California; and currently she is in her second year at the historic Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California.

Her work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the States, notably at Art Basel (Miami), Art Taipei, UNVT Fair (Madrid, Spain) and SOFA in Chicago.



Chronicles of Life

On view May 6 – May 27, 2023 in Gallery IV

Calligraphic marks blend with portraiture to make up Jimbo Lateef’s latest body of work. With Chronicles of Life, Lateef reflects on his Yoruban heritage, as well as the ideas of identity and history to weave together an image of daily life. Drawing on everyday activities and the series of events that can make up a person’s life, he presents a show inspired by Pablo Picasso’s blue period. 

Opting for vibrant reds and oranges he leans into the monochromatic, merging multiple calligraphy strokes and realism painting techniques to reproduce familiar daily life events. The calligraphic markings demonstrate Lateef’s role and his hand as the artist, bringing a personal layer to the relatable scenarios. 

With the creation of each piece bringing the artist peace and tranquility, the paintings are both a therapeutic exercise and a breathtaking creative output, serving as containers for narratives from the deeply unique to near mundane. Using calligraphy as a means of expressing emotion within the body, Lateef is able to reflect on both the mental and physical elements of his life and the life of his subjects. 

About Jimbo Lateef
Jimbo Lateef (b. 1999 Nigeria) started to learn about art at a very young age, after which he went to study art at Yabatech College Of Technology. The artist explores the use of modern calligraphy to create his character, combining the calligraphy with portraiture in digital-like works that stare back at the viewer. His distinct style, functional inscriptions, and designs represent the various manifestations of his subject. Painting people around him, Lateef demonstrates how we all carry ancient ideas with us, touching on the concept of culture and how it is passed down from one generation to the next.

New hand-embellished print edition from Brian “Dovie” Golden available this Friday February 17, 2023

Good Vibes” was, hands down, the most sought after work featured in Brian “Dovie” Golden’s recent solo exhibition ‘Parking Lot Carnival’ that took place with us last year. So many collectors wanted this gem and we just knew we had to do something special with Dovie around this impactful image he created.

We’re excited to now offer “Good Vibes” as a deluxe hand-embellished giclee print edition that will be available this Friday. The team over at Static Medium did an incredible job recreating this gem from Dovie. The artist then spent time with each print, hand painting ‘GOOD VIBES’ onto each and every print in this special edition.

We are over the moon with the final product and are confident that you will be, too!

“Good Vibes”
18 x 24 inches / 45 x 60 cm
Hand-Embellished by the artist | ‘Good Vibes’ hand painted on each
Hand Deckled Edges
Edition of 40
Hand signed and numbered by the artist

Available this Friday, February 17 at 10am PST / 1pm EST via our web shop. Please be sure to use Google to check the exact time in your area.

Shipping costs are additional and will be calculated during check out. Any customs or duty fees incurred, are not the responsibility of the gallery.

Sorry, no pre-sales of any kind are available. Thank you.

Opening Reception & Video Tour of April 2022 Exhibitions at Thinkspace Projects

Thank you to all those who could come out and support the opening of Casey Weldon’s ’Tacit Turnabout’ and Brian ‘Dovie’ Golden’s ‘Parking Lot Carnival’. Along with Toco-Oco’s ‘The World Within’ showing in Gallery II, and Carlos Ramirez’s ‘High-Fructose‘ and new works from Langston Allston in our viewing room.

All exhibitions are on view at Thinkspace Projects now through April 23.

Continue reading Opening Reception & Video Tour of April 2022 Exhibitions at Thinkspace Projects

Brian “Dovie” Golden’s Studio Tour in Preparation for ‘Warning Signs’

Brian “Dovie” Golden – Warning Signs | July 25, 2020 – August 15, 2020

The inspiration behind the exhibition: 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?

View available work here:

Video by Birdman