Sherman Gallery – Marina Del Rey 2018

Croation artist Lonac has created impressive large-scale, site-specific murals across Europe and worldwide, combining photorealistic rendering with illustrative and two-dimensional stylistic elements. He’s now taken his signature style to canvas for his first solo exhibition “Strange Tales” with Thinkspace.

“Stange Tales” is currently on view from now through May 26th.

To view available pieces from the exhibition click here.

Waiting for the sky to dry” mural for “No Limit Boras” in Boras, Sweden. | Photo by Brian MacElvaine
“Vices” mural for Art Public Leiria festival in Leiria, Portugal. | Photo by Silk Fat Blues
‘Dionysus’ for Graffitina Gradele 2017. | Photos by Silk Fat Blue
“Mockingbirds” New mural for Grenoble Street Art Fest in Grenoble, France. | Photo by Andrea Berlese

Interview with LONAC for “Strange Tales” – Opening Friday May 4th

Thinkspace is proud to present, ‘Strange Tales‘ the first solo exhibition of
new works by Croatian artist and street muralist Lonac in our main room. Lonac combines photorealistic rendering with illustrative and two-dimensional stylistic elements, as a self-taught artist he has refined through extensive fieldwork over the years. For ‘Strange Tales’, Lonac will present new drawings, paintings, and sculptures, all inspired by his penchant for surreal storytelling. In anticipation of Lonac’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Lonac to discuss his latest body of work, creative process, and catalyst for his artistic pursuits.

Join us for the opening of “Strange Tales”, this Friday, May 4th from 6 to 9 pm. 

SH: Tell us about this show. What is the inspiration? What were you exploring in the work?

LONAC: This upcoming show was a great opportunity for me to close myself in my studio and to finally use my outside experience for series of paintings, wall sculptures and some drawings. On the streets, in the past 8 years, I combined illustration style with realism, did some wall animations, played with old skateboard decks and made bigger and smaller installations with it, and a number of big murals with realistic characters. I always like to jump from one theme to something totally different and that’s what I wanted to do for the show as well.

SH: What 3 websites do you check every day or people you follow on social media?

LONAC: I used to check Batman news site a lot, but since the last few movies were not that good, I kind of stopped visiting the news. But yeah, I really really like movies so I think every day I listen John Campea YouTuber who talks about movies. He lives in LA I think. On Instagram, i follow mostly artists that I admire and respect, the same as festivals and magazines, Juxtapoz, Hifructose.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

LONAC: The best thing is when I come to learn something new. I always try to do something a bit different than the last time, something that might be a challenge and a new lesson.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?

LONAC: My nitpicking. It’s something that’s just part of my nature, but sometimes it makes me crazy. Everything must be in its place. I’m also always aware that it could be better so that’s why I’m never 100% satisfied, and that makes me work even more until someone slaps me :)

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.

LONAC: Nah, after this show I’ll have a few days of a break but there are a few festivals I’m going to paint and even between them I think I’ll be painting in my studio. I can’t rest for too long, always have to do something that has to do with creativity.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?

LONAC: On the walls, the format of the building, and the elements that are sometimes on the wall are what kind off help me with the composition. Surroundings as well sometimes. In studio work, I think it depends on the idea and do I know already how I want the whole image look like or do I want to start with the main part and build the rest out of that. With some of the paintings for the show, I just started building the composition by adding elements that compliment the main subject of the motif.

SH: How often are you in the studio, do you work on the pieces daily or do you have creative spurts with concentrated efforts or work and then long periods of not working?

LONAC: I can stay inside for very long time with small brakes. Once I start working then It’s kind of just that until I’m done.

SH: What do you eat when working on the show? Are you a 3 square meals kind of person, or have snacks on hand?

LONAC: Uh, I started eating more, usually I mostly “eat” coffee. I can have 2 meals and that’s enough, with some fruit here and there but I dont eat that much. Sometimes in the morning, it’s just coffee, then lunch and then more coffee, and then something with caffeine.

SH: If you were to collaborate with a band or musical artists to create a music video inspired by your artwork, who would you work with?

LONAC: I had a pleasure to do that with a Croatian didgeridoo player Dubravko Lapaine. He’s one of the top players, and me being a didgeridoo player and his friend, that was a great experience. But for someone outside Croatia hmmm. Some time ago I would say Tool or something like that, or Soundgarden but Cornell is gone so….Maybe Jose Gonzales or some Brass Band like Young Blood or Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Love trumpets :)

SH: Has there been an artistic catalyst in your life? Something, someone, some event that made a significant impact on you that has lead you to where you are now.

LONAC: I think ten years ago MaClaim Crew kind of saved me from quitting art. That was really the starting point where I decided to learn to paint by myself and do walls alone- 10/15 years ago there were mostly only graffiti in Zagreb, and anything else wasn’t that appreciated right away. It took time :)

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?

LONAC: There’s too much spray cans, MTN 94 and Gold Montana. In smaller boxes I have all sorts of oils that’s I buy across my street where is a very good friendly art shop. Isabey, Rosemarry , Liquin, Louvre, Van Gough, Rubens, Etude, ….all sorts of brands of brushes, mediums, and paints I piled in last 10 years.

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?

LONAC: Wouldn’t mind going on a live performance of Django Reinhardt

LONAC’s “Strange Tales” Coming In May

Strange Tales
May 4, 2018 – May 25, 2018

Thinkspace is pleased to present Strange Tales, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of new works by Croatian artist and street muralist Lonac. Currently based in his hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, Lonac has produced impressive large-scale, site-specific murals across Europe and worldwide, combining photorealistic rendering with illustrative and two-dimensional stylistic elements. His public murals are painstakingly detailed and primarily executed with spray paint and minimal brushwork, a technique he has self-taught and refined through extensive fieldwork over the years. In his solo debut with Thinkspace, Lonac will present new drawings, paintings, and sculptures, all inspired by his penchant for surreal storytelling.

Lonac’s earliest forays into mural making and street art predate his time spent in art school at the University of Zagreb’s Academy of Fine Arts. His first attempts were undertaken as a child on a wall in his backyard, followed by an experimental effort on the grounds of his primary school. This is one of those great apocryphal artist stories in which the art teacher, recognizing the ‘vandal’s’ talent, had the school council subsidize the cost of the young renegade’s art supplies. Since those first precocious initiations into the world of public art, Lonac has gone on to produce some of the most compelling murals in Bosnia, Croatia, China, Great Britain, Italy, the United States, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

The artist’s Croatian pseudonym translates loosely to ‘cooking pot,’ a nickname he hated as a child but went on to embrace while in search of a moniker as a young graffiti artist. After having spent his teen years as a graffiti writer, he began exploring figurative subjects and styles, expanding the scope of his aesthetic and the reach of his content. Working from a combination of influences, including a love of comics, graffiti, music, film, and an immersion in skateboard culture, Lonac developed a signature style that incorporates highly sophisticated representation with free association and surreal juxtapositions. His works often contain portraits of people he knows, including himself, his father, and friends, bestowing a level of intimacy and diaristic intimation to the imagery instead of a generalized anonymity.

Emotionally driven, Lonac’s works are often about personal disclosures and social commentary brought to life through the playful combination of the hyperreal and surreal. A recurring figure in his compositions, the bird, is often present as a symbol of war and peace, while other symbolic introjections appear with varied references to wildlife and natural imagery like fish, wolves, and owls, for instance. Used to embody or typify human behaviors, conflicts, or détentes, these poetic analogies contribute to the imaginative impact of the works while keeping them firmly in the realm of fantasy.

This allegorical penchant for extended metaphor is never far from Lonac’s imagery, nor is the tender observation of human foibles or their momentary redemptions. Some of his other subjects have included children in a tender moment of prototypical flirtation, the imminence of a couple’s approaching kiss, and a woman bathed in light while indulging in her morning ‘vices.’ Other murals have included a giant architecturally sized squirrel scaling the side of a building, an emancipated beatle newly released from a jar, the artist’s father at work on the construction of a ship model, and a woman’s reaction mid-result of a ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ petal-plucking ritual. Another still, depicts a pumping anatomical heart in which the building’s ducts become arterial extrusions structurally incorporated into the piece; an animation of this phenomenal mural went viral at the beginning of 2016.

Lonac encourages images and references to interact freely in his works in unexpected ways. This world in which logical boundaries are temporarily suspended delivers with playful pathos to reveal a rich spectrum of human vulnerability.