Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present ‘Tales of Past Times,’ the debut west coast solo show of Ador, one of three revered street artists featured this month, who have remained relevant and versatile over the years, blessing walls around the world, and now our gallery walls.
ADOR’s ‘Tales of Past Times’ presents 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.
To celebrate ‘Tales of Past Times’ and Thinkspace Projects final exhibition of 2021, our interview with Ador explores how his work builds upon itself and what he’s looking forward to in 2022
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
Tales of Past Times is a summation of my work in general. I use to represent childish characters as if they come from modern tales and some have few meanings behind.
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
All experiences complete the former and feed the next. What is important is the body of works, I can’t talk about only one.
Every research and every project is a step.
Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working on a new body of work?
My sketchbook is everyday burning and as ready as possible to let be a vessel that births a corpus of ideas. I notate, I write, I draw every day and sometimes an idea make come at any point in my day and in this case, I only have one thing in mind: let it exist.
What’s in your “artistic toolbox”? Are you particular about brands you use?
Sketchbook is the first tool and a starting point for everything. I develop a universe that I make alive with murals, canvases, drawings, books and shows.
How do you like to unwind outside of the studio?
I share my time between studio woks and murals, more or less, half & half. Each one needs the other.
Do you have a process for sourcing and/or keeping track of your inspiration?
I try to capture the craziest part of our surrounding. I can be in the street, in a great exhibition, in books, or when watching a bad movie.
Most artists express themselves creatively as a child, but there is a moment when a shift occurs from just being creatively inclined to being more artistically minded – do you know when that moment was for you?
I keep playing as a kid, and we call it work, but when I produce an image, I’m this kid who keeps playing.
Where have you traveled to either work on a mural or showcase your work in a gallery space? Do you have a favorite destination/wall and why?
As I said before, every trip or project needs the one before and feeds the next. It can be close to the place I live or at the end of the world, my approach is to stay on the train (or thought) and allow myself to keep bouncing between each idea.
Travel is the best way to find myself in a situation that feeds creativity. No favorite place. I went to many countries for shows or murals and each one is important in what I build.
What words of wisdom would you share with your past self when you were just starting to show your work/ create murals? Is there anything in your artistic journey that you wish you may have done differently?
I wouldn’t imagine 10 years ago make those kind of project happen. Today I’m so happy to share it and feel supported. I keep enthusiasm and I go on in sharing it. Maybe it’s the key.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?
Make life goes on and keep trusting in (some) humans. Without enthusiast people, nothing happens.
What is your proudest accomplishment of 2021? Life thus far? (can be art-related or not)
Every day, or week, or month I find a new accomplishment that makes me smile.
The show at Thinkspace is one of the more important and beautiful projects I had.
What big projects do you have coming up in 2022?
A book about 18 years of painting, I work at 2 solo shows, and I want to make kids book.
Adors first language is French. We have slightly edited Adors answers where appropriate, but have left most of the responses untouched to maintain the integrity of the interview and sentiment expressed.
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.