Thinkspace Projects presents our January 2022 exhibitions
Gallery One | IMON BOY | No Regrets
Gallery Two | STOM500 | Cortez
Viewing Room | Z THE RAT (aka ZEINAB DIOMANDE) | U’ve Seen It… U Can’t Unsee It
Viewing Room | CHIGOZIE OBI | Recent Works
On view January 8 – January 29, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 8 from 5-8 pm
Thinkspace Projects is thrilled to present Imon Boy’s latest solo show, ‘No Regrets.’ An incredible gallery show from the prominent multi-disciplinary artist, the exhibition explores the crossover between his graffiti work and studio practice.
While Imon Boy closely guards his identity, his work is full of personality, making even his persona immensely engaging. The Malaga-based graffiti writer has crafted a career by mocking the “graffiti establishment.” He rejects the idea of working for the purpose of impressing others or using traditionally technical skills, opting to create paintings and illustrations that are tongue-in-cheek but surprisingly tender, exploring and evoking universal themes and emotions.
Imon Boy creates varied work by placing characters within universally popular memes, representing people, and different destinations. He brings to the artistic plane everything that has formed him as a person throughout his life: graffiti, video games, internet, cinema, music, travel, etc. The key to the production of his art is the union of all of these influencing factors. These pop elements and his natural curiosity motivate the search for new forms and settings, leading to ultimately surprising work.
“When I work in the studio, I have all the time to create. I can debug all my ideas and play with all the details. In the street, I am more limited by technique and time. I enjoy everything differently. In the studio works, I feel as free as when painting in the street. I talk about myself, as I do in graffiti, but in a more subtle way. I capture everything that represents me and what has formed me as a person. Cinema, music, graffiti, friends, police, travel, girls or any experiences from my life. It’s like writing a diary. Some things are fiction, others are real and others I prefer to leave to the viewer’s imagination.”
About Imon Boy
Imon Boy lives and works in Malaga, where he was born. Discreet and solitary, the artist’s identity is a mystery. A conscious choice to uphold his relatability, he explains, “behind Imon boy there is a person like you.” His designs dismantle the stereotypical testosterone-filled image of the graffiti artist and convey a tender and ironic vision of what it means to paint illegally on the street, building an unexpected discourse riddled with ‘fails’ with the police and romantic messages for his secret love. Like any child of the 90s, among his favorite references are video games, movies, the internet, music and the trips he makes.
His reach spans the globe. In addition to tagging walls throughout Spain, Imon Boy has exhibited in locations including Munich, Seville, Hamburg, Sydney, Taiwan, Madrid, Los Angeles and New York City. In recent years he has found ways to merge his street art and fine art practices, sharing his work with more and more people.
Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present Stom500’s latest solo show, ‘CORTEZ.’ Named for the famous shoe model that Forest Gump wore during his run across the country, this exhibition pays tribute to the different states of the USA.
Stom500, who is based in France, wanted to travel throughout the country, despite finding it increasingly complicated due to the COVID health crisis. Determined to safely find inspiration, he planned a road trip designed to take him through as many states as possible. Drawing inspiration from this trip, Stom500 created ‘CORTEZ.’ With 8 pieces representing 8 different states, this exhibition plays with the notion of living together.
Just as Stom500 traveled through this country, the paintings guide viewers on a journey. Using his compositions of crazy animals and representations of motion, the artist manages to open a dialogue about the intention of each subject. The bees, the totem animal of the painter, are there to light the way, guiding the subjects and viewers. Each representation contains an element of whimsy, thanks to Stom500’s childlike wonder.
“Personally, I feel like I’ve kept some of my childhood soul. It’s just the toys that have grown up! I paint much bigger walls and play with pods instead of miniature trucks. Basically, graffiti is the opposite of what our parents told us to do. Don’t write on the walls they said! 30 years later it has become my reason to live and what makes them proud! My work has matured and I ask myself more questions about environmental and societal issues but it is still the child in me who is in charge.”
This balance between the mature and the innocently curious is what exactly makes this collection so engaging.
Cultivating a delirious and humorous universe fed by the euphoric energy of cartoons, this self-taught virtuoso from a neighboring village in the Swiss municipality of Basel multiplies his talents. Trained as a graphic designer, professional illustrator and renowned graffiti artist for the past five years, Stom500 is, as he amusingly calls himself, a true “Swiss Army knife.” Spray, brushes, acrylic,large murals, and small canvases are all in his wheelhouse. He uses mediums and styles as diverse with a predilection for animal themes that, under the veneer of fun, carry a relevant message, often humanistic or ecological. Like his swirling bees or his apparently incompatible bestiaries, like the crow and the fox inspired by the fables of La Fontaine.
Z THE RAT (aka ZEINAB DIOMANDE)
‘U’ve Seen It… U Can’t Unsee It’
‘U’ve seen it… U can’t Unsee It’ explores the intersection between what one longs for and the struggles they have to face. The artist describes these paintings as “love letters to my child-self”. Her relatively simple, yet simultaneously complex, compositions use of bright colors give a sense of warmth and safety that at times can still feel heavy. Contrasting the pensive characters, all of these opposing forces and their conflicting nature are a byproduct of one’s desire to create safety out of chaos.
About Zeinab Diomande
Born in 1999, in Virginia (USA) Zeinab Diomande (aka Z the Rat) left Abidjan (Ivory Coast), where she spent her childhood and adolescence, to pursue her university studies in Philadelphia (USA) in 2017. The artist explores the theme of mental health and her experience as a black woman. These themes mark out and feed her warm and colorful world. Adapting what already exists and reinventing it in a way that also shapes a new reality is the main focus of this expression.
Diomandé is currently studying at the University of the Arts, pursuing a BFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting and drawing. She has exhibited at the Delaware Contemporary for “Response Gallery” (Wilmington, DE). Additionally she was a finalist for the 2021 edition of the “AXA Art Prize” exhibition (New York Academy of Art, NYC) and previously exhibited at the Loui Simone Guirandou Gallery’s exhibition “Découvertes” in July of 2021 (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) to name a few.
Chigozie Obi (b. 1997 Nigeria) is a multi-dimensional visual artist who obtained a bachelors degree of Visual Arts from the Creative Arts department, University of Lagos in 2017. Her work is consistent in the use of vibrant colors and figures to portray emotions and stories formed from personal/shared experiences and focuses on the representation of Black people in their diversity.
Her work has been featured in several group exhibitions and she was one of the recipients of the inaugural Tilga Fund for Arts Grant (2020) and the Art.ng Grant for Visual Artists (2020), one of the nominees for The Future Awards Prize For Art (2020), one of the shortlisted artists for The Alpine Fellowship Art Prize (2020) and recently concluded her residency with Bethany Arts Community, New York, USA (2020).
Her work authenticates her keen interest for the human aspect of life, the body, beauty standards and the strive for self-acceptance. She aims to create sustained conversations about people and society – the cultural narratives adopted and how it affects people in it, especially women.