Monday, April 12, 2010

Joao Ruas' Haunting Mysteries

From his aerie high above the city of São Paolo, João Ruas has been exploring a haunting world swirling with strange energies and spirits, populated by enigmatic women and a host of unusual creatures. Although his work is intrinsically contemporary, it simultaneously evokes the timeless verve of turn-of-the-century master illustrators like Leyendecker and Rackham. Having appeared on the scene only a year and a half ago, he has already made an indelible impression on our visual landscape.

"Dawn III"

Though João is feverishly preparing for "III," his solo show which opens in the Thinkspace project room on May 7th, he graciously spared some time to answer a few of my questions. If you're hungry for more background on João, you can also check out my earlier profile of him.

Erratic Phenomena: Tell me about your experience of growing up in São Paulo, Brazil. Was your childhood full of adventure, or did you spend it with your nose in a book? What gave you the most pleasure when you were a boy?

João Ruas: I only recall good things from my childhood. I grew up in the suburbs of São Paulo, in a true mixed-class neighborhood. I had richer and poorer friends, from all ethnic backgrounds, and we used to spend our days outside, flying kites and playing soccer. My interest in drawing was always present, but I didn't really focus on it until early adolescence, when I discovered comic books. My family never really stopped me from choosing art, and I am extremely grateful for that, even though at times they didn't know what I was doing, since no one in my close circle has any artistic background.

"Catch"

EP: Your earliest artwork was inspired by comic books. Tell me a bit about those early pictures, and how drawing made you feel when you were a child.

JR: In Brazil, there's a series of comics that's been running since the '60s called Turma da Monica ("Monica's Gang"), which every kid knows about and reads avidly at some point in their early life. It really appeals to the eyes, with a colorful pop and weird style. I was totally amazed how everything was so other-worldly, and how the characters had their own personality – it was like they were my real friends. I think that was when I realized the power of creating images had no boundaries, and it could reach unique realms. I used to draw them all the time in school. Then, one day, Peanuts was on TV and I got addicted to that. They were even more believable and fantastic.

My interest in drawing was always present, but it wasn't above the level of an average kid – I'd rather play than draw. That changed when I was 11. I found an issue of Spider-Man and actually read it... from that point on, it's easy to imagine what happened.

"Untitled"

EP: When did you first begin to imagine the surreal universe you now depict, your own "inner myth"?

JR: I think this universe surfaced when I was working in the UK. I had a lot of fun being there, learning about another culture and its behaviors, but the fact that I wasn't really creating – just executing somebody else's idea – had a big effect on me. My personal works started to have a certain narrative. I was favoring that instead of a perfect or realistic execution.

Sketches for a triptych in his upcoming show

EP: Do you envision your paintings as moments in a constantly unfurling narrative, or are these scenarios completely independent of each other?

JR: I don't think the pieces follow a timeline, but I have to say there's a feeling they inhabit the same universe.

"Haunted #25"

EP: Your "Haunted" series depicts nearly-naked girls in a variety of strangely ecstatic situations. I believe the "Haunted" paintings are about your past girlfriends, so they must have a great deal of personal resonance for you. Tell me a bit about what you're trying to achieve with this series.

JR: It relates to a lot of issues – most of them, yes, on a personal level. I am really fascinated by the fragmented moments that define a whole situation. I once heard the phrase "signature frame" – maybe it was a technical term, but for me it's a powerful idea, nevertheless. I think my memory is photographic, in the sense that it is static, as dumb as that sounds. I like it this way, though. The series shows what it was and what it could have been, basically.

"Haunted #20"

EP: What significance do the arrangements of red and gray dots that frequently appear in your paintings have? Their number and placement seem to carry the weight of symbolism, although they are utterly enigmatic.

JR: I enjoy the mystery surrounding symbols and the graphic approach they add to a painting or drawing. I like to call the dots "a pair of pairs," however – when they are three, they are not. I like the significance of four and three. I'm very bad at math, though.

"Beggar"

EP: Is there a deeper meaning behind your internet handle, "Feral Kid"?

JR: I would like to say something deep and meaningful, but it was just an in-joke between me and a couple of friends, back when I used to live in the UK. Channel4 was showing a series of strong documentaries and one of them was about feral kids. It's a theme you're not supposed to make jokes about, but we did. We started to imagine how it would be if you were raised by koalas or ducks, and then, obviously, it evolved to uber-nonsense. I enjoy nonsense – I guess it was all the Monty Python in my childhood.

Drawing for Fables cover, Issue #94

EP: About a year ago, you took over painting covers for the Fables comic books from the much-loved James Jean, who had made the series his own while working on it for 8 years. What have been the biggest challenges of working on Fables, and what have you learned in the process?

JR: Taking the Fables job was the toughest decision I've ever made, and sometimes I'm still not sure if I did the right thing by taking it. It took me about two weeks to say a final "yes" to the editor. That might sound ridiculous to most people, but I can enumerate a lot of reasons for considering and discussing it for a long time. In brief, the most important issue for me was that I was going to be marked as a James Jean copycat. To be frank, I think I have been regarded in that way by many since I took the job. I think the two of us have a very close set of influences, and we both combine figurative images and graphic design (I have a degree in design), so our work sometimes shows a certain resemblance. It would be very dumb for me to go after his look – James Jean has been in the spotlight for years. I think it's sad to go after anyone, anyway.

All I can say is that I'm trying to portray my ideals and feelings through my work, especially my personal pieces. The Fables covers are pure illustration – much as I like doing them, I need to leave space for requests, like color schemes and compositions that I would rather not choose, but which are necessary. It's my job to combine function and sensibility.

Fables cover, Issue #94

EP: One of the personal projects you've had in mind for a while is a graphic novel about Russian cosmonauts who were stranded on a space station as communism collapsed. Was this project to be called "Souvlaki Space Station," which is now the name of your blog? Do you think you'll pursue it further in the future?

JR: That was years ago... I can still see it becoming some sort of illustrated book – not a proper comic book, though. I have other, more concrete projects coming soon. One of them – and the main one – is a collaboration with Barnaby Ward. I think he may be pissed when he reads this, since the project is in the very very beginning stages, but he won't hit me since he lives so far away. Actually, I will use this space to beg his pardon, since I have not worked on it recently. Sorry, Barney.

Sketchbook, 2010

EP: One of your greatest modern-day influences is the inimitable painter and sometime cover illustrator Phil Hale, who employs dramatic lighting and subtly surreal anatomical distortions to convey dynamic, emotionally charged scenarios. Tell me about your relationship with his work, and why you find it so compelling.

JR: For me, he has such a strong signature and his hand is recognizable in absolutely any media, and that is something that I think any artist should pursue – that touch. I had the opportunity to go to his studio a few months ago, and above all, he's a very nice person.

"Haunted #11"

EP: You generally begin your work in pencil, which remains at the forefront of the final composition. Shifting into watercolor and gouache, you use a light hand, never allowing a piece to become overly finished. You've described an almost sensual relationship with watercolor, which feels literally "alive" to you in its interaction with the paper and the atmosphere. Tell me a bit more about the way you work. What part of the process excites you most?

JR: The beginning is the most exciting for sure, the possibilities are endless. I really find myself while using watercolor. However, I would like to feel the same with other techniques, since all of them have a certain charm. Watercolor is unforgiving, and that is the most beautiful thing about it.

Oil in progress for his upcoming show

EP: In your latest body of work, you've begun to explore working in oils. What sparked that decision? Does the new medium allow you to do things that you haven't been able to achieve with watercolors and gouache?

JR: Yes, you got that right. I wanted some "weight" for one of the series, and after some thinking and research, I decided to use oils for it. The reason why I really never touched it before is that I have a very strong allergy to the medium. However, I was able to try water-based oils recently, and that worked pretty well.

Work in progress for his upcoming show

EP: Lately, you've begun to employ collage elements, and are also incorporating some gold leaf, breaking up the flatness of the page with intriguingly varied textures and opacities. What inspired this choice?

JR: I want to break the flatness, like you said, but mainly my aim is to create a contrast between intricate detail and some expression through collage, almost in disdain.

"Elephantman"

EP: You deeply admire the Golden Age illustrators, and are especially fascinated with the work of J.C. Leyendecker, Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, Franklin Booth, Joseph Clement Coll and Ivan Bilibin. The work of these masters was lush and ornate, and had an unmatched fluency of line. Their intensely imagined fantastic subject matter would be the stuff of dreams for generations to come. Yet amongst the cognoscenti, they were disregarded for decades as mere commercial illustrators, rather than fine artists. Why do you think their work has become more relevant to us today? Is there some deficiency in our society which makes us yearn for a more craft-oriented aesthetic? Is there a void in the modern soul which orients us toward romantic and escapist imagery?

JR: I think they were the first pop artists, and people never really noticed it. They combined the old and the new, it needed to be flashy to draw attention, and they all managed it with style, hard work and a lot of will. However, they were never really taken seriously by some.

Art, like everything, is cyclic. For many decades, art wasn't about execution and thought, but about explanation and connotation, and this is changing recently, from what I can see – at least to some degree. That being said, people tend to rediscover what could fill this gap, and I think they do it masterfully. There's obviously a wall dividing fine art and illustration – however, people in the art field are taking a peek to the other side, and that is great.

João's studio in São Paolo

EP: Among your inspirations is Edgar Degas, whose paintings of women in the Parisian demi-monde are striking for their psychological complexity, unusual composition and sense of movement. A philosopher of painting, Degas railed against his contemporaries, the Impressionists, for painting their spontaneous impressions of what they saw outdoors. He said, "Drawing is not what you see, but what you must make others see." Could you explain why you find his work and ideas so profound?

JR: He was really methodical in the sense that he thought that any aspect of creation had to be deliberately crafted, even the accidents. He made reality not a subject, but a tool, and that is something I aim for in my own work.

Sketchbook, 2008

EP: What other painters or illustrators from the past move you powerfully, and what aspects of their work do you find most intriguing?

JR: That is a hard question with an always-changing answer. I am rediscovering Andrew Wyeth right now – he is a master of the narrative in painting. On the illustration side, I would say Harry Clarke. I admire his graphic application on figurative work.

EP: If you could hang just one classic painting from history on the wall of your studio, what would it be?

JR: "The Astronomer," by Vermeer.

"Procession III," work-in-progress

João Ruas' solo exhibition, "III," opens in the Thinkspace project room on May 7th. If you haven't seem their beautiful new space in Culver City, make sure to come and check it out!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

ErraticPhenomena.com

I decided to get all official today and changed the blog address to erraticphenomena.com. The old address, http://commandax.blogspot.com, should still redirect you to the blog, but just in case you're using some sort of feed reader that doesn't accept redirects, I thought you'd like to know.

Remedios Varo, "Unsubmissive Plant," 1961.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thinkspace's Audacious Vision

If it wasn't for the folks at Thinkspace, I wouldn't be here writing this today. A few years back, I walked into the gallery on a whim and made my first serious art purchase. Drawn in by their adventurous curatorial eye, I've returned to the gallery again and again because of their open-heartedness and passion for art. So on the occasion of their big move to the Culver City Art District, I thought I'd ask them a few questions that might lend some insight into what makes Thinkspace one of the finest galleries in the scene.

L. Croskey and Andrew Hosner with Stella Im Hultberg at "Snow Angels" (2007)


The power trio of Andrew Hosner, L. Croskey and Shawn Vezinaw banded together to open Thinkspace nearly five years ago. But before Thinkspace was born, there was Cannibal Flower, the monthly art party that LC began throwing a decade ago when he noticed there were a lot of talented artists wandering around who had nowhere to show their work. Back then, the only galleries in LA showing this sort of work were La Luz de Jesus, Copro/Nason, New Image and Merry Karnowsky – and all of them had miniscule, obscure exhibition spaces. There just wasn't enough wall space for all the talent in town. Over the years, LC has given hundreds of artists their very first public exposure, including Lola, Luke Chueh, Joe Ledbetter, Brandi Milne, Joshua Petker, Mia Araujo and Sylvia Ji. In essence, LC opened up this corner of the art world, creating a forum for a wide variety of creative voices – amongst them most of the women rocking the scene today – and building a framework that supports evolution and diversity for everyone from graffiti writers to graphic designers to special-effects artists to professional illustrators.

Sylvia Ji and Andrew at "Behind Bedroom Doors" (2007)

Meanwhile, Andrew and Shawn – who were already obsessive art collectors – began publicizing the movement with their blog, Sour Harvest, which soon became the go-to resource for the skinny on where to see interesting art. When they first began their weekly listing of coming attractions, there was no easy way to know what art shows were opening on any given day, which led to many amazing events going largely unnoticed. Coming from the music industry, Andrew and Shawn knew that getting the word out about an artist is half the battle. Their tireless promotion of every aspect of this scene has been instrumental in the burgeoning growth we've seen in the past few years.

"A Cry for Help" opening spillover crowd (2010)

In 2005, Andrew and Shawn combined their music-industry marketing savvy and art-collector enthusiasm with LC's party-throwing expertise and sweeping knowledge of the LA scene, and the three of them launched Thinkspace. Over the years, the Thinkspace crew has discovered, nurtured and held the first significant solo exhibition for many of the popular artists in the scene today – such as Lola, Sylvia Ji, Andrew Hem, Brandi Milne, Natalia Fabia, Joshua Petker, Chris Ryniak and Camilla d’Errico.

Andrew Hem at "Brighter Days" (2007)

Always looking forward, they continue to build their relationship with a diverse array of creative visionaries, including Audrey Kawasaki, Stella Im Hultberg, Amy Sol, Ekundayo, KMNDZ, Dabs Myla, Sarah Joncas, Kelly Vivanco, Allison Sommers, Scott Radke, Tran Nguyen and João Ruas – all the while continuously scanning the horizon for undiscovered talent to showcase in the future. One of the most impressive attributes of the Thinkspace team is their prescient curatorial eye – rather than trawling through the rosters of other galleries to poach artists who are selling well, Thinkspace has continually trailblazed into new aesthetic territory, taking risks on the artists they believe in.

Shawn Vezinaw with Audrey Kawasaki at "Raveled" (2008)

At my behest, Andrew and LC took a break from prepping their beautiful new space for its inaugural exhibition on April 9th, and shared a few thoughts about their gallery ethos.

New Thinkspace exhibition space in Culver City


Erratic Phenomena: Thinkspace is truly a labor of love, as all three of you have jobs outside the gallery, and devote your spare time to promoting this art community - with Cannibal Flower and Sour Harvest - and building up the careers of the artists you believe in. Over the past five years, Thinkspace has provided so many of the artists who are now well-known in the new contemporary arena with their first exposure in a gallery setting. What would you say distinguishes the approach you take to running Thinkspace from the average gallery in the scene? Is there a unifying philosophy or vision that defines what sort of work Thinkspace shows?

Andrew: That’s a tough one to put a finger on. It really is a major labor of love, as we’ve yet to really pull much out of the gallery for ourselves. We’re constantly reinvesting to push things bigger and better. I think it boils down to the fact that we were all passionate art collectors ourselves, first and foremost, and have befriended a great many of the artists we collect and support. We approach things from more of a family vibe when we reach out to an artist, especially in the last few years. We really want them to know where we're coming from when we reach out to them about working together – that we have a vision and plan in place. Sometimes things connect, sometimes they don’t. It pains me when others don’t see what we do in an artist’s work.

The one main thread that connects all the work and artists we show is that we have to love it and want it on our own walls. We don’t show work because it’s in high demand, or another artist with a similar style is hot. If someone we work with heats up and fits that bill, that’s amazing, but by no means are those the criteria that catch our attention. I think our track record of introducing fresh and exciting talent speaks for itself.

Sarah Joncas mural from "Sour Hearts & Sweet Tarts" (2008)

LC: We really care about the artist – and not just the artists that show in our gallery, but any artist. That shows through our Thursday open-door portfolio review. 95% of the artists that come in for portfolio reviews are not trying to show at Thinkspace – they are coming in to talk about their art and career decisions. Then we have Cannibal Flower, to support those artists who do not have a gallery home yet.

LC with Isaac Pierro at "Red Forest" (2008)


EP: All three of you are avid art collectors, and have houses in which every foot of wall space is covered with art. Each of you has also told me that nothing short of a life-or-death situation could compel you to sell anything in your collection. How do you think being such serious art enthusiasts flavors your approach to being gallerists?

Andrew: We really just strive to show work that stops us in our tracks, and hope that those who support our gallery see in it what we see. I really wish I could open a few more spaces – such is the amount of amazing talent that we come across. There's just not enough time in the day to expose all the artists we wish we could. We’re honored that the artists we are working with have chosen us as their homebase out here in the LA market.

If we can see it on our walls, then we see no reason not to give something a go in the gallery. We approach things with an eye towards the future. Sometimes an artist just has that certain something you can sense or feel in the work – but the imagery or narrative content isn’t there just yet. That’s when we’ll start them out slow with some group shows, and offer up the promise of a more focused group show down the line, or perhaps even lay out plans for a solo a year ahead in our project room – just ways we offer to help nurture and grow an artist’s world and in turn, hopefully, their collector and fan base.

Scott Radke – "Deer 4" from "Pins & Needles" (2008)


EP: This year, Thinkspace is coming up on its five-year anniversary, which you'll be celebrating with a retrospective group show in November. What would you say have been your greatest triumphs and biggest disappointments? How has being gallery owners changed you as people?

Andrew: Being a gallery owner has really opened our eyes to the art world at large. It’s a sprawling and ever-changing beast that has so many intricate moving parts, all of which are in one way or the other interconnected and feed off each other. From press to collectors to artist relations, there’s never a shortage of things to do, see and learn from.

It would be hard for me to single our greatest triumph, as I feel we’ve had many – of which just surviving this past year and coming out of it all stronger and more focused is a major one. To be able to make this move, at this time, is such a triumphant thing for us. This is our third space, and with each move, we’ve taken things up a notch and upped our presentation of those we support. With this new move, the sky is the limit, really.

We’re curating a
show in London this June, with other satellite shows in the works for later in 2010 and throughout 2011. We’re just looking to spread our vision as far as we can. We hope to make many of the artists we work with household names in our movement. That is the greatest triumph, when an artist we work with reaches a level where they have ‘arrived,’ and can finally focus on being an artist full-time. To be able to provide the vehicle for someone to chase after their dreams and realize them is a powerful thing.

As far as disappointments, it's so hard to put a finger on the biggest one overall. I’d say the thing that lets us down the most is when we strive to break an artist out and it just doesn’t connect via interest and sales. It hurts, as we approach them with great hopes, and sometimes the reality of the business side of this world has to come into play. We can only ask so much of them, before all of a sudden we have a year or more's worth of work that is just sitting and not connecting with collectors and new homes. It makes us feel like we've failed, and we hate that. We like to think we have a very strong curatorial eye and everyone will see our vision, but the reality of it is that that can’t always be the case.


LC: In short, our triumphs are when the artists respect our efforts and put their all into the show, and it works out the way we expect it to, and sometimes even better than we expected. The disappointment is just the reverse of that. As a business, we put 100% into every one of our shows, and it disappoints us when we notice that the artists didn't put in as much – not knowing that they jeopardize their career, even more than the gallery's reputation. As far as how I've changed by being a gallery owner, I am now more business-minded.

Andrew with KMNDZ at his debut solo "Full of Grace" (2007)


EP: What advice would you give to someone who's just starting an art collection? Are there pitfalls to avoid? What qualities do you see in the ideal collector?

Andrew: Buy what you love. Buy what catches your eye and speaks to you. Don’t worry about what your friend or a fellow member on a collector board is saying is hot, and such. Don’t let others dictate what you buy, first and foremost. Art is a very personal thing, and something you will be living with for years to come. Don’t worry about the investment potential, because if you love it, you really shouldn’t be planning to sell it anytime soon. If something goes up in value and becomes a major investment, then that’s an added bonus, but don’t let that be your focus when collecting. Art shouldn’t be viewed as an investment. There are far too many other well-proven methods of earning money out there to choose art as a way to make a quick buck.

Don’t spend more than you can afford too soon. Been there, done that – more than once. Be mindful of your finances. Some galleries will offer payment plans, others will allow half at the beginning and the other half at the end of the show. These options can sometimes provide opportunities to up-and-coming collectors that might otherwise not be possible, so don’t be afraid to ask a gallery about payments – you don’t know until you try.

I like to see collectors who buy art they love and whose enthusiasm you can feel when talking to them about artists. Folks like that fuel me to go out and continue the good fight, and keep exploring for new talent that wows us – and hopefully in turn, our patrons. We love to introduce collectors we work with to other collectors we know. There's nothing more rewarding than watching new relationships develop that you can tell will help both parties love art all the more, and learn more about it in the process.

Ekundayo – "Dawning of the Age" from "Interlaced" (2007)

LC: For the beginning collector, there are plenty of emerging galleries and underground shows where you can get artwork for under $500. Don't worry about the investment – buy it because you love it, and if it becomes something that's worth a lot of money, then that's an added bonus. For example, I bought the first piece Amy Sol ever showed in LA, at Cannibal Flower. It cost me $250. And I'm sure my partners have other amazing price stories.

Amy Sol – "Everything" from "Karmic Magic" (2008)


EP: You spend a great deal of time searching for unknown talent to introduce at Thinkspace, and the quality of your discoveries betrays a forward-looking curatorial eye that's relatively rare in this scene. What do you look for in a developing or underexposed artist? What do you specifically avoid?

Andrew: Why, thank you for that. We’ve definitely learned from our past experiences, and now approach artists with a full plan that usually starts with a year's worth of group shows to help introduce them, while at the same time letting them further define their overall world, and then build them out from there. Between my endless hunting on the internet and my partner’s dealings with Cannibal Flower, we are constantly being exposed to fresh and exciting new talent. There's really nothing more rewarding than helping to expose someone’s work to a larger audience. To be able to be there and be that base and watch it all grow and come together is an amazing thing. Many of the strongest voices in today’s new contemporary movement got their start at Thinkspace or via Cannibal Flower. It’s a very long and distinguished list.

Overall, we like to look for that spark of originality, that something special that will help to define their work. There are several painters out there who are amazing – but from one piece to the next, there’s no connecting thread that lets you know upon first viewing who painted that piece. That’s really the one thing that is a must, a defining element that will help in establishing them as something outside the ordinary. Visual recognition of one’s work is a big thing.

Audrey Kawasaki's "Drawing Room" (2008)

EP: Most galleries discourage aspiring artists from submitting their work, or allow submissions, but tell artists not to expect a response. Thinkspace holds walk-in portfolio reviews with gallery director L. Croskey every Thursday afternoon. What's the philosophy behind this unique practice? What future successes have walked into LC's portfolio reviews over the years?

Andrew: We aim to create a feeling of community via our networking with local artists. Everyone needs a sounding board, and LC is great at that. I’ll let him elaborate a bit more on this.

Shawn and Andrew with Ekundayo at "Interlaced" (2007)


LC: A lot of artists are looking for someone to be honest with them about their work. Their friends and family are biased, telling them that their work is great, even though the artist knows that something is missing. As an artist, I wish there was someone around who could have given me some honest advice, from a collector's or curator's viewpoint. I can provide 10 years of underground art show experience and the five years of standard gallery practice I've learned from Thinkspace. Over the years, I've had a chance to see my advice work through artists who are now successful – for example, Luke Chueh, Ekundayo, Dabs Myla, Lola, Joe Ledbetter, Mia, Chet Zar – and those are just a few.

Lola – "Tickled by the Nurture Tree" from "The Rememberlings" (2007)


EP: There are those who extoll the virtues of large expanses of white wall and looming ceilings in a gallery, but I've always felt the freshness and vision of the work on the walls was more to the point. Would you say your low overhead in Silverlake's Sunset Junction hipster enclave has allowed you to take bigger risks with new artists and unconditionally support the artists you love, rather than fretting incessantly about covering the rent?

Andrew: I can’t agree with you more on that statement. It really is about the vision and quality of the art, at the end of the day. The thing is, politics and perception play into the art world in very major ways, and it was time for us to make a move. Many of the artists we've worked with for some time are growing quickly now, and we must grow with them, and offer them more in terms of the gallery in which we will showcase their work and the clientele we hope to attract. Of course the low overhead of our old space in Silver Lake helped us take more risks in those early days, and we’ll never stop aiming to expose new talent, but we have a great many artists we have worked with now for 3-5 years, and it’s come time to step up and provide them a very polished base from which to further grow and prosper, and with our new location and plans for the years ahead, we hope to continue this exciting upward momentum for some time to come.

João Ruas – "Dawn III" for his upcoming "III" (2010)


EP: This April, you are transitioning Thinkspace into an elegant new setting in Culver City's gallery district. Where do you hope to take the gallery in the years to come? What would you like to see happen to the new contemporary movement as a whole in the next five years? Where do you see it going in the next 25?

Andrew: My hopes for the gallery are first and foremost to maintain the high level of craftsmanship in the work we show, and to continue to grow things outward and upward in terms of the exposure we gain for our artists and the collections in which we place their work. In the future, we will aim to do more satellite shows in different markets by partnering with exciting spaces, with the aim of expanding the audience for our artists, as well as their collector bases. We’ve already done several successful shows of this nature, and are excited at our first international venture this June in the UK with London Miles Gallery. Other future plans include more editions with our artists and more involvement in the international art fair circuit.

As for where we see this movement in five years… I just see bigger and better things. There are already at least half a dozen major museum shows planned before the end of 2010, and many already coming together for ’11 and ’12. With major art establishments now on board and seeing the reality of it all firsthand, via record-breaking turnouts, the sky is indeed the limit. It is a very exciting time to say the least. The future looks very bright.

Hopefully the history books will realize the importance of this moment in art history, and in 25 years this period will be looked back upon with the same reverence and respect given to the pop art movement of the ‘60s.

Audrey Kawasaki – "Oiran" from "Smitten" (2007)


Thinkspace will debut its elegant new Culver City gallery on Friday, April 9th, with Anthony Pontius in the main room and two small group shows in the rear galleries. Look for the former Kinsey/Desforges space, and come join the party!