Some Beautiful Words From Longtime Gallery Family Member Bekka Koontz

In the back pages of the August 2006 issue of JUXTAPOZ there was an announcement of Thinkspace’s relocation from its original spot on Melrose, leased through a handshake, to artist Logan Hick‘s studio space on 4210 Santa Monica in Silver Lake, the re-located gallery headed up by L. Croskey and the Hosner brothers. A published mistake that would be rectified in later issues of JUXTAPOZ clarifying the relationship between Thinkspace co-founders Andrew Hosner, wife Shawn Vezinaw (Hosner), and close friend L. Croskey, who was the founder of underground art event Cannibal Flower that underscored the LA Art Scene in the early aughts. Andrew and Shawn connected with L. Croskey through mutual friends as the couple documented the burgeoning scene within the digital pages of their art blog Sour Harvest, which, at the time, provided regular updates on gallery openings, artist interviews and exhibitions of note to several thousand art lovers each month well before any other site was doing so and before many of today’s go to art sites had even launched.

Nearly twenty years later, Thinkspace has fostered the growth of emerging artists and leveraged established names to solidify the importance of New Contemporary work within the greater art landscape. Yet, the history and legacy of this LA establishment and third space for the Los Angeles creative community is threatened by the ramifications of having cancer in America and, with it, the opportunity to recognize one of the most genuine gallery owners in the art market. A fierce woman and gallery mother with a genderless name. Collectors often assumed Shawn to be a man and others that were unfamiliar with Thinkspace, and at times, the tone would shift, but people quickly understood Shawn was not one to be a pushover.

Andrew Hosner highlighted the impact of co-founder and wife Shawn Mary Vezinaw Hosner, who acted as the gallery’s Senior Director and Financial Coordinator in interviews and on social media by expressing how her contributions helped to propel the spaces forward with every growth spurt. The yin to his yang, a balancing force that ensured Thinkspace Projects was in a position to participate in art fairs that brought forth recognition to the movement and collaborative projects with galleries and museums developing curated exhibitions across the country and abroad.

Andrew, Shawn, and L.C. photographed by Estevan Oriol

The 20th-anniversary museum exhibition for JUXTAPOZ at the LA Municipal Art Gallery in 2015 was a milestone moment for Thinkspace, as the show was coordinated in tandem with the debut museum solo exhibition from the esteemed Robert Williams with ‘SLANG Aesthetics!‘. William’s show going on to tour four other museums across the U.S. 

The momentum growing with curated exhibitions at the Honolulu Museum of Art and Long Beach Museum of Art as part of our ongoing partnership with Jasper Wong, founder of Pow! Wow!, a non-profit organization of contemporary artists committed to community enrichment. Thinkspace’s intervention pushed Executive Director of the Long Beach Museum of Art, Ron Nelson, into this Contemporary art world subsect as he was “already looking down the rabbit hole of New Contemporary art and street art.” The show ‘Vitality and Verve‘ pulled in a record number of visitors over the museum’s 60+ year history, as the Long Beach Museum of Art became host to the first-ever all-ephemeral mural exhibition in the USA, which was executed by internationally recognized street artists and muralists who painted directly on the museum walls.

The New Contemporary Art Movement’s institutional recognition is part of Thinkspace Projects‘ continued mission. Ensuring living artists are being supported and able to be seen by a hungry audience of art enthusiasts who are looking for voices that reflect their unique experience. Our second special collaborative exhibition alongside Ozzie Juarez‘s Tlaloc Studio at Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, ‘TRADITIONS: Honoring Heritage, Ritual, and Family‘ pays homage to the many familiar and cultural facts of our diverse Southern California landscape. The celebration of life for our family member, Shawn Mary Vezinaw Hosner, was held just a day before this meaningful show’s closing, the culmination a bittersweet echo of how our community influences our voice. Shawn’s influence is seen amongst the hundreds and hundreds of faces who came to celebrate her brilliant life and rich contribution to the LA art and music scene.

The belief that a gallery needs to earn and maintain an artist’s respect through ethical and proactive investment in their growth has been a key component to the sustaining business model. Andrew, Shawn, and LC maintained secondary income streams for years to ensure the gallery’s profits were reinvested into its advancement in the LA art scene. The Thinkspace owners’ collective passion aligned with providing a platform for artists to be seen and exposed to a collector base that is more concerned with building an art collection based on personal taste and not potential resell value. Unlike gallery spaces that operate on the intergenerational wealth of the artistic elite that comes with gratuitous praise and prestige. Thinkspace had been running for 6 years before co-owner Andrew Hosner was able to leave his role at Century Media, and the gallery was able to hire full-time staff with Associate Director Ken Flewellyn. Shawn continued to uphold her role at Ipecac Records til 2017. L. Croskey, Head Preparator, a known Westside DJ with independent expansion of his entrepreneurial role with Art Bar LA in Mar Vista where he continues to provide portfolio reviews, a page from Thinkspace’s early days in Silver Lake where artists like Dabs Myla were discovered.

The wisdom of Shawn Vezinaw has accompanied each expansion of Thinkspace Projects, currently located in the growing West Jefferson district, is a factor that would be limitedly acknowledged by the art establishment as her husband and figured head Andrew Hosner has been the face and voice of Thinkspace Projects for a majority of the last 19 years. Shawn was never one to draw attention to herself. But ask any of the artists who have come through the gallery’s doors, and Shawn’s impact is felt through their ongoing career developments and outpouring of love. Shawn, like most mothers, her contributions can go widely unnoticed, and her influence is rarely seen, although experienced through the planned dinners, booked travel, and the cultivation of community through ensuring connections are made between the talented voices that will shape this next era of art.

Now, Thinkspace, in its 19th year, struggles to fully grasp where it may go from here as co-owner Shawn Vezinaw Hosner joined her ancestors on Wednesday, February 14th, after a courageous 15-month battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. The illness exhausted the Hosner’s personal savings and cut badly into Thinkspace’s savings and safety net. A once lean gallery that’s made it through several fluctuations in the economy now relies on its community more than ever to help see a legacy founded and fostered by Shawn continue on and shape the future of the LA Art Scene, as inspired and determined as the landscape its carved out the last two decades.

Thinkspace was the first gallery to host a solo, two-person show, and/or provide institutional inclusion of several prominent artists over the last 19 years including Michael Alvarez, Joshua Petker, Peter Chan, Lola Gil, Felipe Pantone, Hilda Palafox (aka Poni), Roby Dwi Antono, Ozzie Juarez, Keita Morimoto, Giorgiko, Yosuke Ueno, Robert Pokorny, Julio Anaya Cabanding, Noritoshi Mitsuuchi, Hebru Brantley, Taylor Lee, Imon Boy, Perez Bros, Amy Crehore, Ryan Hewett, Willem Hoeffnagel, Kristy Moreno, Audrey Kawasaki, Esao Andrews, B. Robert Moore, Sydnie Jimenez, Dabs Myla, Seth Armstrong, Ozabu, Yasuhito Kawasaki, Kukula, Camilla d’Errico, Brandi Milne, Andrew Hem, Amy Sol, Joao Ruas, Brian M. Viveros, Sandra Chevrier, Michael Reeder, Alex Face, Brett Amory, Ana Bagayan, So Youn Lee, Ryol, Cinta Vidal, TRNZ, Kayla Mahaffey, Sainer, DULK, MILLO, Saner Edgar, and ROA. 

Thinkspace Projects has curated and collaborated with several major art institutions in the Los Angeles / Orange County areas, including:
Long Beach Museum of Art (Long Beach, CA.)
Lancaster Museum of Art and History (Lancaster, CA.)
Lancaster Museum of Art and History: MOAH CEDAR (Lancaster, CA.)
MUZEO Museum and Cultural Center (Anaheim, CA.)
Fullerton Museum Center (Fullerton, CA.)
The Brand Library & Art Center (Glendale, CA.)
Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts (Palm Desert, CA.)
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park (Hollywood, CA.)
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center (Fullerton, CA.)
Fullerton College Art Gallery (Fullerton, CA.)

In addition to numerous curated exhibitions abroad with various museums and institutions, including:
Urban Nation (Berlin, Germany)
STRAAT (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (Mesa, AZ.)
Fort Wayne Museum of Art (Fort Wayne, IN.)
Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, HI.)
LSU Museum of Art (Baton Rouge, LA.)
Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst, IL.)
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ.)
University of Texas (El Paso, TX.)

Along with curated exhibitions with gallery partners in Hong Kong, London, Berlin, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, New Orleans, and Detroit.

Please help us bounce back after Shawn’s cancer battle

Shawn Mary Vezinaw Hosner’s cancer battle exhausted the Hosner’s personal savings and cut badly into Thinkspace’s savings and financial safety net. We need the help and support of our worldwide art community now more so than ever, and can not let cancer take away what Shawn and the Thinkspace Family has spent the last 19 years building.

Any additional funds raised will go towards a future art award / fund we are putting together with JUXTAPOZ. Full details will follow on this in the coming months.

Your support can make a tremendous difference in making sure Thinkspace Projects is around for years to follow and that we also build towards a lasting annual award in her name. Any contribution, whether big or small, will be greatly appreciated. Here are some ways you can help:

Make a Donation: Your financial contribution will go a long way in helping us honor Shawn’s memory and legacy, helping us to rebuild our savings so that we can operate at full capacity and to build towards an annual artist fund / award / contest with Shawn’s favorite magazine, JUXTAPOZ.

Share Our Campaign: Please share this and our fundraising campaign with your friends, family, and social networks to help us reach a wider audience.

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude in advance for any support you can provide. Together, we can ensure that Shawn’s legacy continues to grow and allow another generation of emerging artists to be inspired by her vision, love and kindness, while simultaneously helping our family in this most difficult time.

Thank you for being a part of preserving the memory and legacy of one of the best humans ever (in our humble opinions).. If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to reach out.

SHAWN MARY VEZINAW HOSNER
3/11/66 to 2/14/24

SHAWN FOREVER.

Photo by BirdMan

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Robert William’s “SLANG AESTHETICS!” Opens at LSU Museum of Art

Robert Williams: Slang Aesthetics! visits Louisiana with the opening of it’s latest showing this Thursday, March 8th, at the LSU Museum of Art. The exhibition will be on view throughout the spring and summer, closing June 17th.

Here is what the museum had to say about its upcoming exhibition:

Presented courtesy of the artist, Thinkspace Gallery, and Josef Zimmerman, Robert Williams: Slang Aesthetics showcases 25 new oil paintings and ephemera by the artist upheld as the godfather of the lowbrow and pop surrealist art movements. A true maverick who sought to create work that channeled the shifting energies and immediacy of counterculture, from the 1960s onward, Williams’ paintings invoked a return to craftsmanship, figuration and popular imagery that rejected the elitist tenets of conceptual minimalism.

Phoenix New Times Interviews Robert Williams

Robert William’s ‘SLANG Aesthetics!‘ currently on view in Mesa, Arizona at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, grabbed the attention of the Phoenix New Times who connected with Williams for a ten question interview. Read the full interview on the Phoenix New Times website.

Are you part of a specific art movement?
I belong to an arts movement that’s kind of undefinable. It’s kind of a feral art movement of realists that have been scourged and put themselves back together over the past 30 years. It’s been difficult to be a realist since World War II, because abstract expressionism has cramped realism, and pushed it towards illustration.

When I was an art student in the early ‘60s, you were either an abstract realist or you weren’t anything. But a lot of mangy characters have come back to realism through surfer art, hot rod culture, skateboard art, and tattoos. The art world put its foot on the neck of those things, and I’m an evil product of that.

I’m considered the father of lowbrow art, although it’s not a great term. A lot of young artists prefer the term pop surrealism, but that’s not applicable to me. I’m just left in the bushes, in the wilderness on my own.

Robert Williams “SLANG Aesthetics!” at The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Robert William’s “SLANG Aesthetics!” opened at The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum on Friday, September 8th. The loss of friend and fellow art advocate Greg Escalante hung in the air, but the night proceeded as a celebration of the movement Escalante and Williams built together.

Last Week of ‘JUXTAPOZED’ & Robert Williams ‘SLANG AESTHETICS!’ at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

It’s the last week of ‘Juxtapozed‘ and Robert William’s ‘Slang Aesthetics!‘ at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. With the holiday weekend in full swing, our friends in the Midwest should head out to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and see these amazing exhibitions that will be closing after Sunday, July 9th.

Slang Aesthetics!‘ showcases the work of influential artists Robert Williams, who is known as the godfather of the low brow and pop surrealist art movements. The exhibition displays paintings, studies, and massive sculptures that are doorways into the mind of Williams.

Juxtapozed‘ co-curated by Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery, Gary Pressman of Copro Gallery, and Adjunct Curator of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Josef Zimmerman, is the second installment of exhibitions the gallery has brought to the Museum to date. The exhibition showcases new and exciting work from the steadily expanding New Contemporary Art Movement. A continuation of Thinkspace’s mutually reinforced mission to garner institutional exposure and recognition for New Contemporary Art, its history, founders, key players, and artists, the exhibitions celebrate the impact of its most enduring media platforms, Juxtapoz Magazine, and the work of one of its most iconic trailblazers. Now widely considered the largest and longest running art movement in history, the New Contemporary Art Movement encompasses everything from Street Art and Muralism to Pop Surrealism and Hyperrealism.