Interview with Gustavo Rimada for “Intersections” | Exhibition on view February 5 -February 26 at Thinkspace Projects

Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Gustavo Rimada as part of our new group exhibition, “Intersections”. The exhibition is a solo show for each artist in their own right, and continues to build on their momentum into 2022. Each artist’s work is unified by storytelling, displaying an array of memories and experiences within the walls of the gallery.

Gustavo Rimada brings the perspective of his own ancestry to the show. This body of work is part of an on-going series from Rimada, which tells a story about how our ancestors connect with us. “Whether it’s celebrating Dia de los Muertos in my work or telling old folk stories about our ancestors returning to nature, my goal is to create a space where you can feel the connection and spirit between nature and the afterlife.” This series is heavily influenced by his culture, emphasizing the connection between humans and nature from the day they are born to the day they pass away. With these works, Rimada aims to translate that journey, aiding viewers in understanding.

In our interview with Gustavo Rimada he shares with us words of wisdom for a young artist, how Palm Springs and his culture has influenced his work, and what you can find him doing when not painting.

Can you share with us a little bit about your upbringing and where you are currently creating?

Hi yes, I was born in Mexico migrated to the US when I was 7 with my mother brother, and sisters. I grew up in Indio CA , after high school I moved to Fairbanks Alaska after joining the Army . It was there that I started to paint again after seeing Juxtapoz Mag & Hi-Fructose. About 12 years ago I decided to move back to the desert to start my art career, I’ve bounced around a Southern Cal from LA to San Diego and now once again I am in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs to be exact, where I work in my home studio.

What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes have you been exploring in your work?

Like most of my work, I am heavily influenced by my culture the colors the patterns the beautiful landscape/ nature. This body of work is also inspired by my culture’s spirituality and folklore. Because I have spent the past 4 years in Palm Springs where modernism and simplicity is around me my work has taken a more cleaner / simpler theme.

Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working in your studio?

We’ll I am a very routine artist my day-to-day after I wake up around noon or 1 pm is to decompress a bit for about an hour before driving to grab some coffee downtown PS. When I get home I try to grab a bite before starting, I paint on and off for about 4-5 hours until around 10 pm when my family heads to bed, and I paint up until 5 am while watching some of my favorite films/documentaries. Somewhere in between paint sessions, I like to go for a drive to just listen to music and focus on my tasks especially if I’m feeling a little bit of artist block. 

What’s in your “artistic toolbox”? Are you particular about brands that you use?

When I comes to paint yes I only paint with acrylics, the brand I only use is Liquitex Heavy Bodypaint. For brushes I don’t have a particular favorite I tend to beat up brushes fairly quickly so they all seem the same from the most expensive to the least expensive. However, Trekell brushes are really easy to acquire they are a small company too so I buy those a lot. I use Trekell panes as well but the best panels I can buy are sourced locally here in Cathedral City at Custom stretched canvas super high-quality stuff.

How do you like to unwind outside of the studio? Do you have a process for sourcing and/or keeping track of your inspiration?

Outside of the studio, I hit museums as much as possible but on a daily basis, I watch my favorite films, and like I said in one of the other questions I love to drive and listen to music especially certain songs really put me in a place that inspires me to create.

What was on your playlist while creating this new body of work?

I listen to a lot of different music but my go-to when working on more culturally themed paintings is music from artists like Vicente Fernandez, Natalia LaFourcade, Juan Gabriel, Selena etc… classic rock like Pink Floyd, Les Zepplin, pretty much any Rock in the 70s and of course hip hop I am a 90s kid so anything in that era is always on my playlist.

Most artists express themselves creatively as a child, but there is a moment when a shift occurs from just being creatively inclined to be more artistically minded – do you know when that moment was for you?

Yes, I remember being chosen to work on a huge banner in middle school for the local zoo the program was after school for kids who were artistic and I remember the people in charge were really impressed and encouraged me to continue that moment has always felt like the beginning for me, but my mom always talks about moments as a kid where she can see that art was in my future but what mother doesn’t say that lol.

Have you ever worked outside creating public murals? If not, would you be interested in pursuing one day?

I’ve done 3 murals only, two in a restaurant it took me way too long and another through Thinkspace for PowWow Antelope Valley and yes I enjoyed it very much, it was a short timeline so it was difficult for me since I paint really slow despite contrary belief. I would totally do it again it was such a great e pero and I learned a lot.

What words of wisdom would you share with your past self when you were just starting to create art? Is there anything in your artistic journey that you wish you may have done differently? 

I wish I would have taken things more seriously early on in my life whether it was high school or college. I wish I would have been more eager to learn about art history and different movements. Instead today, I find myself doing a lot of research which I love but being a better student is something I wish I was growing up. 

What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?

To be 100% honest I am such a homebody and because I am so fortunate to be able to work from home it really wasn’t much of a change. However, I do feel terrible for those whose businesses went under, and for those who have to follow protocols daily, I couldn’t wear that mask all day. My heart always goes out to the healthcare industry the doctors and nurses on the frontlines I have it infinitely easier than them and I am beyond grateful for their sacrifice and hard work during this never-ending pandemic.

What big projects do you have coming up in 2022 and 2023 that you’d like to share more about?

We’ll there’s one that I just wrapped up and that was doing the key art for one of my favorite series on Netflix Narcos Mexico. It was beyond amazing to see them using my art for marketing and even did a massive billboard in Times Square which I was lucky enough to go see in person with my wife and daughter. In 2022 I have the 4 person show with Thinkspace, after that, I am in a couple of group shows and late in 2022 I have a solo at Antler Gallery in Portland OR. There are a few commissions sprinkled in 2022 but once I am all done with that I want to finish a series of paintings that I have been postponing for years now it was originally supposed to be painted for Greg Escalante’s gallery in Chinatown but after his passing, I set it aside. I never seem to have the adequate time to finish it so unfortunately it keeps getting pushed back but the goal is to finally finish it. The series is based on Alice in Wonderland but with a Mexican twist.

Gustavo Rimada Artist Statement

This body of work is an ongoing series I am working on where I am telling a story about how our ancestors connect with us. Whether it’s celebrating Dia de los Muertos in my work or telling old folk stories about our ancestors returning in nature. My goal is to create a space where you can feel the connection & spirit between nature and the afterlife. It is a series that is heavily influenced by my culture, the tones are meant to create a space where the subject is the focus. We are all connected with nature from the time we are born to the day we pass and this is my way of translating that journey.

Interview with Gustavo Rimada for his exhibition ‘Florescentia’

Thinkspace is pleased to present ‘Florescentia’ the debut solo show of Mexican born, California based artist Gustavo Rimada.

Characterized by graphic aesthetics, Rimada often works with bold color palettes and stylized subjects. His paintings intermingle Mexican visuals, art history and contemporary tattoo culture which become a bridge between his ancestral heritage and his current life in the United States. A dynamic dance of history, color and representation that beautifully represents the blending and celebration of two cultures becoming one.

In anticipation of ‘Florescentia’, our interview with Rimada discusses his time in the army, creative influences, and his favorite tv show/podcast combo.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Florescentia’?

In a tough year, I wanted to be inspired by the idea of blossoming, the idea that we can flourish past any negative aspect of 2020.

Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?

Everyday before getting started I go for a drive listen to my playlist or finish a podcast grab coffee and hit the ground running when I get back to my studio.

What piece challenged you most in this body of work and why? 

The largest painting of the Jaguar was very challenging because it’s so large and I knew I wasnt gonna fill every bit of it , so finding the balance of it not looking bare or too busy was a bit challenging. It was also done at a very stressful part of 2020 and it took me about 3 weeks longer than it should have.

What do you like to play in the background while painting; music, podcasts, other?

I usually don’t listen to any music or podcast while painting. The tv is always on so I am either watching documentaries or some of my favorite series/movies. My absolute favorite show right now is Lovecraft Country and then after each episode, I listen to the 1-hour podcast breaking it down.

Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you? Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style?

Early on when I first started painting, discovering Juxtapoz & High Fructose was everything! At the time I was living in Alaska and it was unreal to me what was going on back home in LA and seeing all those different works from Mark Ryden, Robert Williams and Todd Shorr was a huge push early on. But as I started diving back into painting I went back to studying Mexican artists like Frida Khalo, Diego Rivera, and my favorite Jorge Gonzales Camarena. They were key to finding myself as an artist.

What was the timeline like from finding out about the #otterthinkspacecontest to submitting your entry?

I always stay super busy, so I was working on commission work/group show paintings. When you said you were giving a small solo I pretty much dropped everything and went for it so from the moment I found out to the day I submitted the piece I worked on it nonstop.

Do you remember what you were doing before you found out you had won the content?

I think I checked my phone and refreshed it every 5 minutes from the time I woke up (lol) but at the time I found out I was on my easel working. After I found out I was running around my house with my family cheering me on! Lol.

Do you think your time in the army informed you creatively or artistically?

My time in the army, unfortunately, did neither it was a creative killer. However, I did realize I needed to do something with my life that didn’t require being in the army. So when I got out I was equipped with a drive that in my opinion is unmatched, I don’t credit the service with any of my artistic abilities but they do get a ton of credit when it comes to pushing myself past what I think are my limits and never taking no for an answer.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s an unprecedented time, and it’s a weird time – what are you doing to create a sense of normalcy for yourself?

This kinda goes back to the first question, keeping my ritual going and seeing my friends at my coffee spot is a great way for me to feel as if nothing has changed despite us being in this horrific pandemic. To be fair, I am the kind of person who just stays home all day every day so it hasn’t been that difficult for me to abide by the rules. I do feel for people ( essential workers ) during this unprecedented time, we need them more than ever and I try not to take them for granted so I tip fat when I get take out.

If your body of work inspired a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, what would be the ingredients and name of your pint?

Awe man I am a super boring ice cream consumer lol but my favorite Ben & Jerry’s is “ Americone Dream “ so being of Mexican descent and coming to this country with a suitcase and a dream I would have to tweak that to “ Mexicone Dream ” lol the ingredients would be some banana ice cream, waffle bits, caramel syrup, some coco chocolate bits, and a little magic.

Opening Reception Saturday, November 14th | Guidelines Below

We will be having a public reception this Saturday, November 14 from noon to 6pm. No appointment necessary, but masks will be required at all times and social distancing enforced. Entry will be limited, as we will be sure to watch capacity and make sure no more than a dozen patrons are in the gallery at any given time. We want to assure the health and safety of our artists, staff and patrons.

We will also be offering timed visits each Saturday during the remaining run of the exhibitions. A link to a scheduling platform will be on our site in the week ahead. Please let us know if you have any questions at all. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing some of you this Saturday.