Interview with Allison Bamcat for ‘Fish Fingers’  | Exhibition September 2 – September 23, 2023

Photo by Birdman

Thinkspace is excited to present Allison Bamcat for Fish Fingers,’ where a menagerie of animals and creatures serve as avatars for the artist herself, assembling a series of surreal snapshots of her own personal journey, one of beautiful growth and also the simmer of trauma. With her candy-coated landscapes, there is an underlying sense of unease, whether through the piercing gaze of a voyeur parrot or in the melting and sinking of her figures. The loss of innocence and a sense of calm-among-the-chaos are feelings works to depict through the use of stark, flat fields of color against her obsessively-detailed brushwork. The velvet finish of gouache matched with her love of wood and paper leave subtle textures for her images to pop off of. She works to hypnotize her audience through her dizzying use of color and detail in her current body of acryla gouache paintings.

Our interview with Bamcat shares what a typical day is like for her at the studio, what show/music she watches/listens to while painting, her most/least favorite part of her creative process, and where she gets her inspirations from.

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

For ‘FISH FINGERS,’ I wanted to continue my exploration of objects as creatures, creatures as ghosts, and other hybridized forms. I have a fascination with biology, especially the failed branches of evolution: the creatures that are extinct (not by human hands but by time). I learned a lot about how many generations it takes an animal to create specialized characteristics in the wild, such as camouflage, developing poison glands, or adaptive features like long tongues for slurping up termites.

Probably once per day, I get hit with the realization that even contemplating existence, or my existence, or the existence of these themes at all is something very unique to my experience as a human living in 2023. Existing at all, long enough to contemplate, is amazing and kind of unlikely given the age of the earth and humans and living things.

The most challenging piece among the group of nine was probably the main piece, ‘Delicious.’ My work is very colorful typically, but I wanted to invite some rich, velvety black stripes and claws to make this painting stand out. Working with acryla gouache, a matte paint, black tends to look very chalky and scratches easily, so I developed an even darker color using several highly-pigmented colors to create what I lovingly refer to as “mud.” Adding a satin varnish to this piece is also something I’ve been slowly experimenting with, as a matte finish does no justice to the richness of the darks versus lights in the piece. It was a fantastic challenge and I’m very proud of how spooky and creepy my character came out (especially his little ring with the fish crawling out of the ocean on it).

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

My days in my home studio are varied: some days the house is a wreck or I need to focus on my diet, so art takes a backseat. Having my brain wrapped around chores and errands puts my creativity into hiding, so I tend to wait for full days of drawing to open up, or full days of painting without distraction.

My working days consist of waking up between 7-10am, grabbing coffee from the kitchen, and I wait until lunch in the afternoon or evening to take a real break. I throw on some music or a horror movie I’ve seen before and clean off my work desk, a big beautiful metal drafting table I got off of craigslist a decade ago. I get up a few times to change out water, but I’m good at staying on task for hours at a time. In the evening, if I want to work late, I’ll crack a beer and keep working until I’m satisfied with my efforts for the day, which could be anywhere from 10pm-2am. But late nights mean late starts, so unless I’m REALLY in the groove, I grab some leftovers and stare at my phone for a bit before bed.

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

Spending a lot of time spacing out is essential for my creativity. I find it difficult to be “creative on-demand,” so oftentimes I get small ideas and write them down, such as a texture or an animal I’d like to paint. I have physical lists and inspiration boards with post-its as well as notes in my phone.

Going on walks and looking at the plants and flowers in my neighborhood is always good for clearing the air in my noisy brain so I can get the ideas flowing.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part of the creative process is watching the last 10% of a painting come together. Bells go off in my head when I feel like I’ve completed something better than what I’ve made in the past. The feeling of leveling up and improving is addicting.

My least favorite part of the creative process is documenting it. While I’m working, I make so many alterations and go over lines many times to get them as crispy clean as possible. I rarely feel like I get the “money shot” of pulling a good line, and honestly I’m not very video-minded when it comes to assembling a video. If I could erase this expectation of social media for artists to also entertain, I’d live with a lot less anxiety, haha. 

Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

I’m inspired by so many artists it’s dizzying. Working at an art store in college, I remember flipping through Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose while things were slow, becoming obsessed with pop surrealism and avant garde forms of art. My mind was especially blown by mural art. When I later got opportunities to see Tristan Eaton, Audrey Kawasaki, Ron English and Marka 27 painting walls, something in me changed at the sight of artists taking on such gigantic (literally) undertakings.

I’m really grateful to have so many friends in Los Angeles who are artists who are working through the same issues and struggles in their careers as I am, so I really look up to my local crew including The Obanoth, Mister Toledo, Andrea Guzzetta, Sean Keeton, and so many more.

Artists I admire for their strong career, their mastery of their medium, and their trailblazing in contemporary art include my heroes Jeff Soto, Scott Listfield, Kayla Mahaffey, Joseph Gordon, Yoko d’Holbachie, Charlie Immer, Christian Rex Van Minnen, and Baghead. Watching someone foster what they are amazing at is a beacon of light as an emerging artist. Seeing the quality of work these artists produce is electrifying in person and so exciting to see online. They keep me hungry for the next ten and twenty years of my career.

Artists whose work really speaks to me personally are artists like Yoko Kuno (a Japanese painter of sad stuffed animals), Paolo Puck (needle-felting genius), Kaley Flowers (experimental ceramics artist out of Toronto, and Graham Yarrington (Brooklyn painter).

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?

One thing I’d love to be an expert in is figure drawing. Figures and humans haven’t been a focal point of my work for years because I’ve been fostering my menagerie of creatures, but I’d love to work more figures into my work eventually. It seems as if many of my favorite artists have their signature style of drawing and painting people, but I know it took them a while to get there. Maybe I’m ready to try anyways?

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

It’s my hope that when folks see my art in person, they see something new. While pop surrealism isn’t a new type of art, I love how varied and strange it can be. Have you ever seen a cauldron walking on all fours? Or a monster made of ice cream scoops hanging out in Joshua Tree? Now you have!

But ultimately, I hope that the audience who views my work sees that a human made it, a soft and sad but vibrant and crazy person. I hope they can find ways to relate to the creatures and scenes I’ve birthed in a way that they can interpret through their own experiences. The overall mood or vibe of my individual paintings is the most important thing I try to communicate, but I love hearing others’ interpretations more than my own backstory, typically.  It’s beautiful to see someone get excited about something you made and relate to it in their own way.


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

Time outside my studio or my house is rare, as I feel like I’m always trying to keep up with my commitments and what the rest of the world is doing on social media. I don’t really celebrate my work unless there’s a gallery opening, as I’m hungry to keep improving and looking back and digesting is difficult for me. It’s probably not healthy, but if no one’s throwing the party for me, it probably won’t happen. Haha.

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?

Honestly, I’d love a chance to design some props or background elements for animation and video games. Conceptual art is so amazing to me, and I’d love to dip my toes in someday, but I’m not sure if that’s something you can just do casually or on a freelance basis.

When I worked in footwear design, it was always exciting to see my designs come to fruition, so being able to work on fashion or product design more often would be great! There are a lot of indie brands I’d love to work with, but it’s thrilling to see your art in a big-box store too.

It would be amazing to see my work in 3D too, as a vinyl toy or a statue or even as a parade float! Or jewelry!


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?

If I could pick five guests for my dinner party, it would be comedian Chris Fleming, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, another comedian Duncan Trussell, my best friend since middle school Stephanie D’Angelo-Early, and the late and great biologist Steve Irwin. We would laugh and drink wine and Steve would pass around cool animals for us to admire and hold maybe.


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

My musical taste is a bit all over the place, but some of the musicians I listened to the most while creating these pieces are Supertramp (specifically Breakfast in America), The Mars Volta, Alice in Chains, A Perfect Circle (of which I got the title “Delicious” for one of my pieces from), Ghost, Queens of the Stone Age, and Nine Inch Nails. If I didn’t have music on, I put on marathons of horror movies, old and new, to pass the time and keep me awake. I made a point to rewatch “Silence of the Lambs” (a classic banger) and finally watch Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid”, which was a beautiful but anxiety-inducing three hours.

But, typically, I have reruns of the show Hoarders running at all hours when I’m working. I’ve seen every episode about five times.

Photo Tour of Floyd Strickland ‘Super Rich Kids,’ Priscilla S. Flores ‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin,’ and Allison Bamcat ‘Fish Fingers’

Thinkspace presents a photo tour of FLOYD STRICKLAND ‘Super Rich Kids’ in Gallery III, PRISCILLA S. FLORES ‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin’ showing in Gallery IV, and ALLISON BAMCAT ‘Fish Fingers’ in Brek’s Dog House Gallery 

All exhibitions are on view at Thinkspace Projects now through September 23, 2023. The Thinkspace Projects compound is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6pm. Please note the Dog House Gallery and our courtyard are only open for viewing on Saturdays.

Photos by @BirdManPhotos.

Continue reading Photo Tour of Floyd Strickland ‘Super Rich Kids,’ Priscilla S. Flores ‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin,’ and Allison Bamcat ‘Fish Fingers’

Virtual Tour of August Exhibitions at Thinkspace Projects | Exhibitions on view September 2 – September 23, 2023

Thinkspace presents a virtual tour of ‘Beautiful Noise’ featuring new work from YOSUKE UENO in Gallery I and  DAN LYDERSENPlasticine Dream’ showing in Gallery II. Along with FLOYD STRICKLAND ‘Super Rich Kids’ in Gallery III, PRISCILLA S. FLORESWhere the Spirit Meets the Skin’ showing in Gallery IV, and last but not least in Brek’s Dog House Gallery ALLISON BAMCATFish Fingers.’

Explore the virtual tour here: https://players.cupix.com/p/hOuaFUsA

All exhibitions are on view at Thinkspace Projects now through September 23, 2023.

Virtual tour created by Birdman.

Video Tour & Opening Reception Party of September 2023 Exhibitions featuring Yosuke Ueno, Dan Lydersen, Floyd Stickland, Priscilla S. Flores & Allison Bamcat at Thinkspace Projects

Many thanks to all of the art lovers and our many patrons who came out to celebrate the opening of our September exhibitions. We just love seeing so many people packing all of our gallery spaces and courtyard to take in all of the inspiring new exhibits on view from our family of creatives.

Yosuke Ueno returns for his sixth solo show ‘Beautiful Noise’ with us in Gallery I. His new series of works are inspired by the reborn aesthetic of the Japanese art of “kintsugi,” which refers to repairing broken pottery by mending the breaks with powdered gold.

Dan Lydersen is also back with an astounding new body of work in Gallery II with ‘Plasticene Dream’, a series of absurdist portraits, sentient still lifes and fanciful visions of inanimate objects come to life.

Floyd Strickland’s new body of work ‘Super Rich Kids’ is on display in Gallery III, delving into the rich tapestry of African American culture, history, and its pivotal economic contributions, marvelously captured within 12 masterful new oil paintings.

Priscilla S. Flores holds down Gallery IV with her debut solo show ‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin’, exploring the external and internal relationships she has with the world around her.

Allison Bamcat’s debut solo show ‘Fish Fingers’ is a festive and colorful takeover of our Dog House Gallery eliciting feelings of her neon, nineties-childhood in Los Angeles.

 Much love to all of this month’s exhibiting artists for delivering such stellar bodies of work, what an unforgettable celebration! Much love to all that rocked our courtyard as well Davia King ,GoopMasstaIzinfinite Matthew CrumptonWotto, Anthony Sanabria Miniatures & Anthony Patrick ManorekZavalas Pies , Liquid Death, DJs Venice Beats, and  The Phantom Train.

On view through September 23. The Thinkspace Projects compound is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6pm. Please note the Dog House Gallery and our courtyard are only open for viewing on Saturdays. Free and open to all.

Video courtesy BirdMan.

Thinkspace Projects
4207 W. Jefferson Blvd + 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016

Continue reading Video Tour & Opening Reception Party of September 2023 Exhibitions featuring Yosuke Ueno, Dan Lydersen, Floyd Stickland, Priscilla S. Flores & Allison Bamcat at Thinkspace Projects

September Exhibitions featuring works from Yosuke Ueno, Dan Lydersen, Floyd Stickland, Priscilla S. Flores & Allison Bamcat open September 2, 2023

Thinkspace Projects presents:

Gallery I:          
YOSUKE UENO
Beautiful Noise

Gallery II:                                               
DAN LYDERSEN
Plasticine Dream

Gallery III:  
FLOYD STRICKLAND
Super Rich Kids

Gallery IV:     
PRISCILLA S. FLORES
Where the Spirit Meets the Skin

Dog House Gallery:
ALLISON BAMCAT
Fish Fingers

Opening Reception:
Saturday, September 2 from 6-10pm

If all that wasn’t enough, be sure to check out GoopMassta’s ‘Courtyard Sessions’ between our two spots with Davia King live painting alongside a mini artist mart with booths from from GoopMassta, Izinfinite , Matthew Crumpton_, Wotto, Anthony Sanabria Miniatures & Anthony Patrick Manorek + amazing grub from Zavalas Pies + open bar + Liquid Death + live DJs Venice Beats + video projections

Thinkspace Projects
4207 + 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016

On view September 2 – September 23, 2023

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Gallery I:
YOSUKE UENO
‘Beautiful Noise’

In Japan, we have an art of repairing named “kintsugi,” that repairs broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with powdered gold. Not to dispose or hide but make breakage part visible by decorating them with gold, it treats breakage and repair as beauty. In there exists a called reborn aesthetic. Since the ancient times, Japanese people has been admiring beauty in such incompleteness of objects. In other words, this art tells that to being in this world equals to lose and hurt. So, breakage, damage, and noise is a proof of existence.

This time, in all the artworks, I put noise by running brushes. This noise plays as a role of punctuation marks and gives artworks a surge of energy which comes put to be a perfect harmony.

At this point, I am sensing a feeling that I’ve come to where I can say that my artwork reached out to supreme expression. It’s been thirty years since I had my first solo show at the age of sixteen. What I seek for is not to paint beautifully, but to make artwork which can touch a sense of “being exist”. I have always tried to change my painting styles. And here I am so far.

‘Beautiful Noise’ carries creation and destruction, life and death at the same time in it. That’s what I believe.

About Yosuke Ueno:
Born in 1977 and currently based in Chiba, Japan, Yosuke Ueno is an internationally renowned self-taught artist. His art is capable of taking the viewer on a magical ride, deep in the worlds that blends between real and surreal, full of symbols of the Eastern philosophical tradition and icons of contemporary media culture, both Japanese and Western.

Ueno’s large canvases are sprinkled with quotes and references to art history that intertwine with the modern perception of the fantastic. Each element of his compositions is actually a symbol that carries a message full of positivity and cosmic vitality. Ueno’s work has been exhibited in some of the most prestigious contemporary art institutions in Asia, such as the Shimoni-Seki Museum and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo and in international art galleries the world over.

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Gallery II:
DAN LYDERSEN
‘Plasticine Dream’

The “Plasticene Epoch” is a hypothetical idea that sometime in the future plastics will be so ubiquitous in the environment that they’ll be traceable in the fossil record and will define a new epoch in geologic time. ‘Plasticene Dream’ takes this idea a step further to imagine an outlandish scenario where plastics have entirely merged with organic matter so that the two are indistinguishable from one another.

Taking form as a series of absurdist portraits, sentient still lifes and fanciful visions of inanimate objects come to life, the paintings are filled with strange amalgamations of plastic, clay, and various synthetic and organic materials. They present an odd array of characters whose nature and purpose are ambiguous, open-ended, and enigmatic. The work dabbles in the trappings of traditional portraiture and still life painting but is thoroughly removed from the narrative and allegorical inclinations that define those genres.

Much of this is the result of my experience raising two young children over the past several years and being fully immersed in the idiosyncrasies of their developing imaginations. With children every little object is met with wonder and possibility. Everything is anthropomorphized. Stories about imaginary characters erupt from nowhere only to wander and meander before fizzling away without any narrative conclusion. Over time these qualities worked their way into my own art, as did the countless number of clay sculptures, trinkets, toys, and other playthings that have amassed in my household.

The result is a more refined version of a wild scribble with googly eyes pasted on, or a pummeled piece of Playdoh with pipe-cleaner arms jammed into it. Not an attempt to emulate a child’s imagination but to embrace its adventurous and exploratory nature. To revel in improvisation, free association, and creative musing by dumping 

About Dan Lydersen:
Dan Lydersen is a visual artist best known for his intricately detailed oil paintings that depict a surreal and darkly comedic view of the American landscape and the humans that inhabit it. Dan’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the US and abroad, including four solo exhibitions at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco and a two-person exhibition at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.

In addition to painting, Dan has performed music in numerous venues across the US with instrumental group The Roots of Orchis. He has also worked as an animation designer and scenic artist for live theatre productions at Capital Stage in Sacramento and City Lights Theater in San Jose. Dan studied art at the American University of Rome and received a bachelor’s degree in fine art from UC Santa Cruz in 2002. He received an MFA degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007 and currently resides in Sacramento.

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Gallery III:  
FLOYD STRICKLAND
’Super Rich Kids’

‘Super Rich Kids’ from Floyd Strickland is his debut solo exhibition with our gallery and features a body of work that delves into the rich tapestry of African American culture, history, and its pivotal economic contributions. Through a collection of 12 meticulously crafted oil paintings, the exhibition artfully weaves together historical imagery and contemporary scenes to illuminate the significance of cultural and financial districts from the past.

The artwork in the show features a diverse array of black children, each depicted with their cherished possessions, offering a vivid narrative of cultural pride and individuality. These visual vignettes celebrate the enduring essence of African American culture, juxtaposed against the backdrop of historical landmarks and symbols.

Beyond aesthetics, ‘Super Rich Kids’ resounds with a powerful message. It underscores how African American prosperity and wealth have functioned as an agent of change, challenging oppressive systems within the broader American society. The show captures the essence of the cultural and financial districts that were pivotal in the past, showcasing their role as spaces of empowerment and resistance.

Through these evocative paintings, ‘Super Rich Kids’ articulates the ongoing journey of the African American community, highlighting its transformative impact on both its own heritage and the nation’s narrative. This exhibition is an homage to the vibrant history and beauty of African American culture, a testament to its economic prowess, and a rallying call for recognizing the importance of preserving and nurturing cultural and financial districts.

About Floyd Strickland:
Floyd Strickland, a versatile artist based in Los Angeles, CA, offers an introspective and critical exploration of American culture, particularly through the perspectives of black and brown children. Inspired by his own childhood environment, Strickland employs realistic figures that intertwine with aspects of American cultural imagery, resulting in ethereal and figurative paintings.

Strickland’s artistic journey is a testament to the distinctiveness of his work. Having previously engaged in building and renovating elementary schools nationwide, he observed a troubling lack of confidence in many black and brown children—a struggle he himself experienced during his own upbringing. To address this issue, Strickland embarked on a mission to create large-scale figurative oil paintings that depict the beauty, strength, and untapped potential within these children.

Strickland’s own children often serve as focal points in his artwork, reflecting his deep care and emotional connection to them. He strives to portray them as larger-than-life figures, conveying the immense love he feels for them.

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Gallery IV:     
PRISCILLA S. FLORES
‘Where the Spirit Meets the Skin’

‘Where the Spirit meets the Skin’ is the first solo show of Long Beach based painter Priscilla S. Flores. By drawing from memory and personal experiences with sensuality, Flores converges reality and fantasy of external and internal relationships she has with the world around her. The expression ‘the spirit meets the skin’ is borrowed from the song ‘Living Room’ by ambient band Grouper. Flores associates the expression to connecting the physical body to its spirit as presented in her work. She modified the lyric by adding the word “Where” to specify her relationship to the space the body inhabits. That space is often depicted through a bedroom setting or oceanic landscape. The bird (a symbol for time and flight) takes the viewer to the next memory. Through various paintings and a few small graphite drawings, Flores allows the viewer to gaze into her world.

About Priscilla S. Flores:
Priscilla S. Flores (b. 1993) is a first generation Mexican-American painter. She was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. At an early age, she gained interest in narrative as she felt close to her family’s stories of their southern Mexican life. Her work, often presented through self-portraiture, draws from her relationship to the body and sensuality, while embracing her Mexican upbringing and American living. Flores’ current work embraces all ranges of emotions, joy, confusion and humorous aspects of these relationships. She creates narratives based on memory and mementos representing these experiences of identity, sexuality and of the past. Her multi use of vibrant and limited palettes along with her mix of both bold and thin paint strokes, are what create these personal stories. Flores’ interest in narrative painting is inspired by painters: Larry Madrigal, Jennifer Packer, Naudline Cluvie Pierre, among many others.

Priscilla received a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Cal State Long Beach in 2019.

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Dog House Gallery:
ALLISON BAMCAT
‘Fish Fingers’

Allison Bamcat is a contemporary artist with an affinity for confectionary and phantoms. Through the use of acidic color, her paintings work to elicit feelings of her neon, nineties-childhood in Los Angeles, surrounded by sun-bleached, cheap plastic dolls and doodled-on stuffed toys. A menagerie of animals and creatures serve as avatars for the artist herself, assembling a series of surreal snapshots of her own personal journey, one of beautiful growth and also the simmer of trauma. With her candy-coated landscapes, there is an underlying sense of unease, whether through the piercing gaze of a voyeur parrot or in the melting and sinking of her figures. The loss of innocence and a sense of calm-among-the-chaos are feelings works to depict through the use of stark, flat fields of color against her obsessively-detailed brushwork. The velvet finish of gouache matched with her love of wood and paper leave subtle textures for her images to pop off of. She works to hypnotize her audience through her dizzying use of color and detail in her current body of acryla gouache paintings.