Thinkspace is pleased to present Ryol’s (aka Ryo Laksamana) new body of work, ‘Caught in the Art’ in Gallery I.
The exhibition fills the space with paintings that showcase how light is the most fundamental element in the visual arts. Light becoming the experimental medium in Ryo’s new series of oil paintings.
Our interview with Ryol discusses the influence of local street culture on the works, the impact of his friendships, and why boredom is an essential tool for pushing as an artist.
The work within “CAUGHT IN THE ART” explores how light and illumination create a mood. What are a few of your favorite pieces from art history that celebrates the use of light?
Madame Monet’s works, one of which is Women with Parasol. I can see how the painter captured the impression of light and color into the painting in Monet’s works.
As the pieces are playing on the idea of being caught in the act, what are some moments (that you feel open to sharing) where you were “caught in the act?” Do you think you are a mischievous person?
Some of the works are inspired by street culture in my neighborhood, particularly at red-light intersections. Clowns being apprehended by police and other stories served as inspiration for the visuals.
What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?
Because I grew up in my parents’ home industry, I enjoy a hectic situation. Something is missing if I see my studio in silence. Eccha and I have created a schedule from morning to evening that includes all deadlines and other responsibilities.
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
I do not have it, but I usually chat with friends outside the studio to exchange ideas, and those conversations serve as motivation for me to work in the studio.
You’ve shared that you enjoy listening to artist interviews and have even met a few artists you admire. Have you adopted any of their practices or wisdom into your studio that you’ve felt have vitally shifted your work?
My first trip to Los Angeles last year provided me with valuable feedback for my current studio practice. Every place I visit gives me a new thing, and I can learn to be better and better right now. Like Kenny Scharf Studio, which was my first studio visit in LA, and he gave me a new pop culture reference, and Obey Giant, which looks like a massive studio, and it looks proper, and I can see the trash of Shepard Fairey’s works and the perfection of Robert William.
Expressions of pop culture are seen within this latest body of work but have become less of the focus of the subject matter; what was the core spirit behind the icons you pulled into this work?
I did not use many popular icons in this exhibition, but I did draw some from the street culture around me. I believe the street culture I encounter around me is a component of popular culture, and I can sense its intimacy firsthand.
The eyes within your work have a sparkling static effect and various symbols. Could you share your thoughts on this choice and if it has any deeper symbolic meaning?
In my previous work, I used a realistic approach to create each eye in my works. I painted the eyes layer by layer to achieve depth, and I attempted to make the eyes in my works more lifelike. However, after discovering the sparkling technique in my working process, I discovered depth in another version after further exploration. This effect creates a lighter, more playful impression while still retaining a sense of depth and mystery.
You’ve shared that boredom with your work drives creative evolution. Do you find that you become quickly bored by various stimuli? How do you keep the creative process interesting?
My boredom, like a judge in a competition, is the best judge to keep exploring my works in the future. I am the most intimate with my works. So I can tell when I am bored and need to do something different.
Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has led you to where you are now.
In this case, perhaps I can say that my friends are my best process mentors.
Over the 17 years since their conception, Thinkspace Projects has carefully and thoughtfully built up their reputation as one of the most exciting and reliable sources of New Contemporary Art in not just Los Angeles, but on a global scale as well. They have proven their curatorial prowess, lending their skills as a gallery across the county and the world. No matter how many exciting endeavors they embark on, their LA gallery remains a cultural hub with new shows every month that span themes, styles, and mediums.
Now, they take commitment to the space and the Los Angeles art community and push the boundaries of the gallery quite literally, spreading down the block into a new space in addition to the existing gallery! On July 9th, Thinkspace makes their expansion official, with four simultaneous shows that juxtapose and compliment each other perfectly.
In Gallery One, visual artist RYOL’s (aka RYO LAKSAMANA) new body of work, ‘Ready Known’ fills the space with paintings that reflect his dissatisfaction with reality in comparison to the world he has imagined as a kid watching childhood cartoons. His pop-surrealist artworks are skilfully done, illustrating issues in a patriarchal society, social behaviors, and the fluidity of modern-day gender and gender roles.
Mwanel Pierre-Louis’s ‘Memories and Manifesting’ takes over Gallery II, rounding out the already established Thinkspace locations. With work that combines realism and abstraction in a narrative that draws from personal interactions and pop references, Mwanel explores juxtapositions of fragmented experiences and a strong emphasis on the relationship between subject and color.
Then with just a quick walk next door, Thinkspace presents their new space with work from many more exciting artists. Gallery III, one of the new spaces, holds Sentrock’s ‘Crash Course,’ which explores the artist’s life right now as a new father living in the West Side Chicago. Sentrock uses this collection to find peace in life while everything around us is a struggle, hoping to pass that message on to the viewers. This collection contains his signature iconic bird mask in many of the pieces, representing escape.
Gallery IV houses the group show GROWTH, featuring work from artists like Abi Castillo, Caroline Liu, Dredske, Jamiah Calvin, Kiko Miyares. With each painting in this collection, viewers are taken on a journey not just through the new space, but through the mind of each individual and the collective. Somehow both embracing conflict and cohesion, this show represents pure potential. With two floors, over 4,700 square feet of exhibition space, plus a 15,000+ square foot courtyard that connects the two spaces, this is certainly a massive undertaking, but it’s one the Thinkspace team is entirely prepared for.
“We were very involved and hands-on throughout the entire design and renovation process, which resulted in two beautiful new gallery spaces for us to expand our program within, not to mention one of the nicest courtyards in LA for our patrons to enjoy. If all that wasn’t enough, we’ll launch our residency ’The Bungalow’ this fall. As we prepare to celebrate our 18th birthday, we feel we are just getting started.”
The opening reception welcomed attendees to explore over 8,500 square feet of exhibition spaces and the new fully landscaped 15,000 square foot courtyard that connects the two spaces along with DJ Mr. NumberOnederful, refreshments, a video installation from Michael Allen, live painting with Goopmassta, installations from Balloonski and Spenser Little, a taco stand and more.
RYOL aka RYO LAKSAMANA bio: Originally from Banyuwangi in East Java, Ryo Laksamana is a recent graduate of the prestigious Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta. This young artist’s career, however, began much earlier while he was still a student, and in the past few years his artworks have been exhibited quite extensively within and beyond the borders of Indonesia.
At a glance, Ryo’s paintings are charmingly whimsical; pop surrealist artworks skillfully done in an illustrative style reminiscent of the world of anime. The visual veneer of his artworks camouflages the fact the artist broaches subjects that are in contrast quite contemporary.
Upon closer examination, the subjects this young artist’s works address are far from frivolous. Among them, critiques of traditional patriarchal society, social behavior that is quick to judge others, as well as the fluidity of modern-day gender and gender roles, to name a few.
MWANEL PIERRE-LOUIS bio: Mwanel Pierre-Louis is an Artist based out of Miami, Florida. His work combines realism and abstraction in a narrative that draws from personal interactions and pop references. Mwanel’s paintings feature juxtapositions of fragmented experiences and a strong emphasis on the relationship between subject and color. Born in NY, from Haitian descent, he’s spent time living and absorbing the culture from New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
SENTROCK bio: Joseph Perez, best known as “Sentrock” is a self taught street artist. Sentrock witnessed street art as a form of expression, birthing his interest to pickup a spray can and continue to share his artistic voice. His early works were developed from graffiti writing in Mexican-American neighborhoods. Sentrock’s signature bird-mask over a human figure has become his most recognizable declaration. Sentrock describes his bird-mask as analogous to humanity: a person who is able to find or escape to their freedom by placing them in a different reality.
Through his work, he has become a catalyst for his community. His work presents undertones of hope, freedom and expression. His work encapsulates his background, history, upbringing, empathy, and compassion for his community.
Featuring new works from: Jamiah Calvin Abi Castillo Ikechukwu A. Christian Delisha Dredske Maya Fuji Laust Hojgaard Kazuhiro Hori Yasuhito Kawasaki Kwang Hyun Kim Caroline Liu Mr. B Baby Nika Mtwana Kiko Miyares Caroline Weaver
All exhibitions on view July 9 – July 30, 2022
Thinkspace Projects 4207 + 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
Gallery One | ADOR | Tales of Past Times Gallery One | PEZ | One Smile, Many Styles Gallery Two | DRAGON76 | Noroshi Viewing Room | REEN BARRERA | Ugly Phases Viewing Room | RYOL | Reimagined Heroes
On view December 11, 2021 through Saturday, January 1, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday from 5PM-8PM – Masks are required during your visit –
Thinkspace Projects is thrilled to present three debut west coast solo shows, each from a revered street artist. It is a tough task to be a relevant and versatile street artist for an extended period of time, but ADOR, PEZ, and DRAGON76 have accomplished just that, blessing walls around the world, and now the walls of Thinkspace Projects. As some of the very few street artists who have been consistently active for a long time, each has amassed the love and respect of many peers and fans around the globe. While the styles vary, this union of prominent street artists presents a cohesive experience that is not to be missed.
ADOR’s ‘Tales of Past Times’ is an incredible gallery show from the prominent street artist, presenting novel scenes that allow the viewer to create their own story and interpretation. The work contains the humanoid characters that have made ADOR’s murals so iconic, albeit on a smaller scale. In his newest works, he has created work that is influenced by, and even extracted from, tales of our own deviances. Although the characters are whimsical, they are deeply rooted in reality, thanks to ADOR’s observational nature.
“I think my main influence is watching people and staring at the surroundings. Everything that surrounds me inspires me, just as much as other artists do or a simple act as taking the metro. I look at everything and sometimes I invent stories. Our time is rich in exceptional phenomena. I used to visit exhibitions, watch movies to research what other people did.”
A spectator by nature and practice, ADOR’s collection is a feat of creativity, with pieces that work cohesively and as stand-alone creations. Each is meant to inspire a story, stoking the imaginations of the viewer. Although the intended audience changes, sometimes only connecting to those that are a kid at heart, other times only to the very young, the engaging nature of the work remains.
“I would like people to create their own stories and use their imagination of my characters. I have my own story for each character, but it can change depending on my mood, maybe the weather! Each image I paint can work alone… but maybe each image is the following of another one.” ADOR hopes that people can see themselves in the whole story, and reflect on their own related experiences.
Staying relevant and innovative over a long period of time takes flexibility and the ability to evolve, two things PEZ has demonstrated. While elements of his signature style are constant, PEZ has mastered variability in an impressive way, as demonstrated by “One Smile, Many Styles.” For his debut west coast solo exhibition PEZ does not disappoint, delivering a myriad of styles for his long-time fans to enjoy.
“In the beginning my style was very basic, always characterized by the “smiling fish” character. In recent years it has evolved in such a way that I’ve created my own universe through different compositions that are currently very geometric. I’ve added a lot of color and balance to the compositions so that the character isn’t so isolated. I’ve searched a little more for the presence of characters from a universe that’s very influenced by graffiti and pop-art. So far the idea is always to evolve the style and change while taking from what I’ve been doing in recent years, but always trying to find a solid scheme in which the characters are sustained in a world of color and joy.”
In this latest body of work, PEZ has curated his recent endeavors. Rather than feeling confined to the painting, the medium he is best known for, he explores a variety of mediums, creating a cohesive experience that immerses viewers in what he has dubbed the “PEZ Universe.” He asks his fans to travel to this fantastical place exploring all his different styles and mediums. Here, one can find sculptures, acrylic works, spray paint based works, woodcuts, and other surprises. He aims to stimulate his signature joy in others.
In Gallery II, check out DRAGON76’s “Noroshi,” the artist’s debut solo exhibition with Thinkspace Projects and first on the west coast of the United States. The title of this show, “Noroshi”, is the Japanese word meaning smoke signal, a fitting title as smoke is prominent in much of the artist’s work. Furthermore, just as smoke spreads, DRAGON76 hopes to spread his style and message through this collection of work, enveloping viewers in his own world.
His intricate and complex style is rooted in a combination of Graffiti, Manga and Ukiyo-e. The landscapes and figures are defined by black shadows, mimicking traditional block printing, and are superimposed upon textured layers of vibrant colour, creating a striking effect. His work connects to the soul of the viewer with a touch that is passionate and full of vitality, rooted in his street art past.
DRAGON76’s style is constantly evolving, producing work that focus on the coexistence of conflicting things, such as past and future, stillness and movement, justice and evil, and this show is no exception.
As an added bonus this month, we’ve two very special collections of works on paper from two of our rising stars out of Southeast Asia. Following his show at the Pintô Art Museum in the Philippines, Reen Barrera is bringing his work back to Los Angeles again for a special collection of works on paper. ‘Ugly Phases’ follows up the artist’s sold out exhibition with us this past summer and showcases his strength and versatility while working with different mediums.
Barrera has taken the idiom “it’s written all over your face” to heart and beyond, crafting his work around a central character he created early on in his career as an artist. Ohlala embodies Barrera’s thoughts, displaying them through a variety of colors painted on the being’s face. This serves as a mechanism to silently communicate, focusing on the unspoken rather than what is loud and clear.
In this new series of works on paper, the Barrera finds himself embracing accidents like drips, smudges, and splatters, allowing these to lead him to the final product.
Alongside Barrera and following up his debut with our gallery this past October as part of our Chicago showcase, RYOL (aka Ryo Laksamana) returns with a small taste of what we can expect from his upcoming July 2022 debut U.S. solo exhibition. At a glance, RYOL’s paintings are charmingly whimsical; pop surrealist artworks skillfully done in an illustrative style reminiscent of the world of anime. The visual veneer of his artworks camouflages the fact the artist broaches subjects that are in contrast quite contemporary.
Upon closer examination, the subjects this young artist’s works address are far from frivolous. Among them, critiques of traditional patriarchic society, social behavior that is quick to judge others, as well as the fluidity of modern day gender and gender roles, to name a few.
In “Reimagined Heroes” we see RYOL reinterpreting some of his favorite pop culture icons. From Pikachu to Cookie Monster to Basquiat, RYOL takes on each and gives them a remix through his creative lens. The level of maturity already seen in RYOL’s aesthetics, and his deep awareness of the world around him, are indications that many exciting things lay ahead in the near future for this young creative.
About ADOR ADOR (b. 1985 France) is a graffiti artist with murals dotting the globe. Born in Nantes, ADOR studied arts and grew up in the northwest of France, where he started tagging and drawing on the walls around him. ADOR utilises his playful and wonderful imagination to artfully blend passion, beauty, ugliness and life, all which are linked to his surroundings. His public murals often hide a very impactful message, presented by his never ending cast of playful human-like characters.
ADOR is very active on the international wall festival circuit and has murals from Montreal to Shanghai. In recent years he has participated in Meeting Of Styles, Shenzhen – China; Over the Wall, with Le Voyage à Nantes, Nantes – France; Street Art Festival, Bratislava – Slovakia; Graffeurs au château, Tours – France; Can You rock, Montreal – Canada; and HipHop Session, Nantes – France.
About PEZ PEZ (aka Jose Sabate | b.1976 Spain) is an urban artist from Barcelona, Spain and a pioneer, active in the scene since 1999.
PEZ (fish in Spanish) has been painting around the world for over two decades now, sharing his smiling fish character to pass on good vibrations for all that pass by his colorful murals, now located in over 20 countries.
About DRAGON76 DRAGON76’s (b. 1976 Japan) artwork is passionate and energetic. Known for doing artwork for CD covers and producing art that is heavily connected to music, he moved to New York in 2016 and has since expanded his artistic field. He went on to win ART BATTLE NY three times, and then won US CHAMPION in 2018.. Since then he has continued work in the streets. Most recently he completed the largest mural in Texas for the United Nations ZERO HUNGER project, measuring 13,000 square feet in total.
About REEN BARRERA Born in Paris, France, in 1990, Reen Barrera spent his childhood recreating his favorite cartoons with papier-mâché’. As a teenager, he repaired wooden church statues and would keep the excess wood scraps to make toys and figures out of. He naturally circled back into this practice after graduating from art school. With “Ohlala’ being the omphalos to his universe, Barrera presents a colorful commentary based on personal experiences.
About RYOL (aka RYO LAKSAMANA) Ryo Laksamana (aka RYOL / b. 1993 Indonesia) grew up in the coastal city of Banyuwangi in East Java, Indonesia. Ryo, grew up with Sunday morning cartoon movie series, “Emo” music, and Indonesian translated manga comics. Laksamana is a recent graduate of the prestigious Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta. This young artist’s career, however, began much earlier while he was still a student, and in the past few years his artworks have been exhibited quite extensively within and beyond the borders of Indonesia.