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the art collectors » GLIMPSE :: Thinkspace Gallery + Andrew Hosner

Monday, January 5th, 2009

GLIMPSE :: Thinkspace Gallery + Andrew Hosner

thinkspace

It is our pleasure to present a look into the world of Thinkspace Gallery in Silverlake and its proprietor, Andrew Hosner. Thinkspace has been a real springboard for emerging artists who have amassed a global following in the past couple of years. With a ‘collecting’ perspective, Andrew carefully shapes the future of his art endeavors. Having such a solid foundation patiently built, it’s easy to say that Thinkspace will be among the leading authorities in the ‘movement’ for a long time to come.

We had the opportunity to visit the gallery, as well as Andrew’s home, all in one afternoon. The passion supporting the effort is manifested in what can only be called a ‘comprehensive’ personal collection – a visual symphony that is part of everyday living. It’s extremely rare that we obtain such insight into the life of a substantial player in the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Los Angeles.

Together with an in-depth interview, we present a litany of photos, edited from much more, forming our first in a series of focused profiles. Thanks, Andrew, for letting us see behind the curtain.

How long have you had an interest in art and how has it evolved?

From a very early age I would constantly draw and doodle on everything. I started to take art lessons myself when I was 7 or 8 years old from a close family friend by the name of Bob Shane (who later was also my high school art teacher). In the early days, it was all about the extreme image of the band KISS, which led to my love for the album covers of some of my favorite heavy metal bands. From there I somehow got very into the work of Salvador Dali and his story as an artist, as well as Alfons Mucha. I started to collect both their prints, mostly just cheap ones from local poster shops, but still, I was lining my walls by my early 20′s with contemporary artworks. From there it led to a love of graffiti and street work and not long after that I met my wife… which prompted my move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.

Once I moved out to Los Angeles in the summer of 2001 to move in with my wife to be, Shawn Vezinaw, we combined our print collections and it was only a matter of time before we were going out every weekend to all the main openings at early hot spots like Merry Karnowsky, Track 16, La Luz De Jesus, Copro/Nason, and others that helped to shape the scene that is flourishing so strongly today. It was Jeff Soto’s 2nd solo show (and first with BLK/MRKT – now Kinsey / Des Forges) that we made the dive and picked up our first original painting, a modest piece from his epic installation for that show. I think we made it maybe two weeks before we had made a couple more purchases, and from there, there was no looking back. It only got worse once we found out many galleries offer up payments… oh man, how I wish I hadn’t found out about that hahaha.

Can you elaborate on Thinkspace?

Thinkspace was started out of a joint collaboration between Cannibal Flower and Sour Harvest back in the summer of 2005, with our first show taking place that November. The two parties were brought together by a mutual friend, artist Nathan Spoor, who then helped us to come up with the name for the gallery and helped us launch the 1st version of our website. Our main aim is to be a catalyst for the developing artist and, as we grow, many of those we work with and/or admire are working towards becoming established names and we aim to continue to grow with them by branching out our already aggressive advertising and more.

We aim to update our site almost daily and we also have a super active blog that supports the whole community and has since 2004, not just the behind the scenes action at our gallery, but the whole LA movement as a whole. We also just debuted on the art fair circuit at this past December’s Art Basel
as part of the GenArt Vanguard fair and are already making plans for our next fair. The scene is really becoming international quickly, which is opening up so many avenues. It’s so exciting.

What artists are you most passionate about, professionally and personally?

Ekundayo – professionally, we have been working with Ekundayo since our 1st group show and my wife and I purchased one of the very 1st works he had sold via Cannibal Flower (our partner’s one-night only monthly art party in downtown LA)… so we feel a very strong connection to Dayo and are so stoked to see things really coming together. He’ll have his debut NY solo show this April at Ad Hoc and has some other big moves coming up throughout 2009. We’ll have him back in ’10 or ’11 for his big LA return… until then he’ll be spreading the word on a global scale. He’s one to watch for sure.

Josh Keyes – personally, he always surprises me and is an endless well of ideas it seems. He’s smart, raised by parents who were in the gallery world… this has instilled in him a vision and plan that is so rare in artists, I wish he could bottle it and sell it off. He is an artist’s artist and one that I feel will be a very important artist for many years to come. Looking forward to adding many a work from Keyes to our collection over the years. Two and counting…

There are many more… professionally, I would say look at our 2009 exhibition schedule here: Thinkspace Upcoming Shows. We really aim to work with those we feel strongly about and have a 2-3 year game plan in place for many showing with us this year, so the commitment is strong, and the vision clear.

As for personally, past Keyes, I also feel strongly and we deeply collect several works from Mel Kadel and Brendan Monroe. Just two artists that have touched a nerve deep within my wife and I, and I don’t see ever stopping getting new works from both.

Where do you see contemporary art going in the next few years? Can you envision decades down the line?

The return of figurative based art is definitely making a huge resurgence. One stroll through the main fairs at this past December’s Art Basel was strong indication of that. Also, with the economy in a great state of flux, the next year or two will be very, very interesting as collectors will become more and more picky with their choices. This will lead to some problems for some of the smaller galleries out there, as well as many of the artists that do well in group shows, but are still fighting to really establish themselves. It will definitely be a challenge, and one that I feel is needed, since many have been coming up a bit too quickly due to the plethora of group shows in the past year and a half or so. This will help to slow things down, bring up the quality and ultimately push us all to do more, step up our game and really focus on those we can call our own.

As for a decade or decades down the line… man, just looking at how far we’ve come since the mid ’60s – which is barely a 40 year span… it’s hard to say. I hope for one that cities become even more involved in the arts and more far reaching public art projects come about, more graffiti free zones that inspire community tie-ins and such… just more art and outlets for art to the public. With all the worries facing many museums and institutions, I think if we can manage to keep them around and thriving, will be all we can ask for. With the strength and diversity of talent coming out of the schools now, I am rather confident the next decade will continue to inspire us all to keep collecting… I know I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

What’s your favorite thing to do each day?

I love to start the day just walking about our lil’ home gallery and taking in new aspects of works that always inspire me. I always feel really blessed to have all this art about me, and we like to take it in rather often, and try not to take it for granted. Almost hand in hand with that, I love to catch up on the art world, going from site to site, blog to blog, and seeing what’s going on each morning for an hour or so. I’m a bit of an information fiend, and there’s such a strong influx of information out there each and every day, it’s a bit of a challenge just keeping up with it all. Having our blog, Sour Harvest, and being a manic collector as well, drives me to keep up with everything all the more. Too much so if you ask my wife hahaha

How does music cross into your art endeavors?

When we were talking I remember bringing up how my wife and I have made many connections between the two worlds we work within. Much like the music world, when a certain style catches on, the bigger labels will come on and try to sign those artists that started that style, and in their wake several like-minded artists will pop up mimicking their style, which are then picked up and promoted by all the smaller labels… just like the art world, once an artist starts to really become popular and $ell, the bigger galleries come along as they see the $$$. Then the younger artists, or even older artists stuck in a rut, will change their style to somewhat ‘fit in’, and kind of flood the market for a bit… it’s happening now and there are many that will be thinned out as more and more galleries pull back from group shows and more and more collectors become pickier as times become tougher due to the economy and all. Not to mention many galleries have closed in the past year… just like many smaller labels and smaller record store chains.

Past the similarities in the ebb and flow of both markets, we also took all we learned 30+ combined years of marketing in the music industry and applied it to how we do and present things via our gallery. It really allowed us to hit the ground running in a big way as far as having a strong visual aesthetic and commitment to clean design. From early on we set out to make sure you would know a thinkspace ad or postcard when you saw it, all of which goes back to strong and focused branding/marketing.

What were your highlights for 2008? Both from collecting and from a gallery viewpoint?

Gallery highlights from 2008:
The ‘Red Forest’ exhibition with KMNDZ and Ekundayo – by far the most amazing transformation of our gallery to date, so much so we’re in the midst of creating our first book in conjunction with the artists to document the exhibition.

‘The Drawing Room’ exhibition curated by and featuring Audrey Kawasaki – this show introduced us and many collectors to some great new talent, and showed that Miss Kawasaki can indeed do it all, having curated a highly successful exhibition and branching out her own work via the introduction of laser cut pieces as well as showcasing her broad range of talent, from highly detailed graphite pieces on paper to beautiful mixed media works on wood panel. All just after coming off her 1st ever sold-out European solo show in Rome, Italy.

‘Sour Hearts & Sweet Tarts’ with Camilla d’Errico & Sarah Joncas – it was the 1st time in Los Angeles for both and the first time we arranged to bring the artists in for the opening. Both did a great install and made a big impact. A huge honor to have hosted the first big show for both of them. Huge years ahead for both in ’09.

‘Mostly Memory’ with ELBOW-TOE & ARMSROCK – over a year and a half in the planning and couldn’t be happier with how it came out. They both brought their A Game and the press and our patrons received it with open arms. Very happy of the show and so stoked with how much each put into it.

Collecting highlights from 2008:
Finally getting an original work from Phil Hale (thanks Gregg!).
A small original from Sashie Masakatzu (on the hunt for an Orb painting)
Anthony Lister diptych (of Skellator no less!!!)
Herbert Baglione original (big things ahead for him!)

What are your 2009 highlights for the gallery? Goals for your collection?

‘From The Streets Of Brooklyn’ – been putting this together for ages with Andrew from Ad Hoc out in Brooklyn. All involved in the show are SO excited. It’s really the first time a gathering of this scale has been attempted outside of New York. This will really offer a pretty definitive snapshot of the streets of Brooklyn circa 2008/2009. Very, very proud of the job Andrew and the Ad Hoc crew have done with putting this together and we’re over the moon to be hosting it. Just a great array of styles represented, can’t wait for all to see this one. Great way to kick off the year!

Esao Andrews solo show – one of my wife and I’s favorite artists. To be hosting his debut Los Angeles solo show means the world to us. We are honored to be working with him and have plans to continue building with him. As he continues his relationship with Jonathan LeVine, I think this is an important move for him to align himself with another strong gallery on the opposite coast.

Andy Kehoe solo show – We hosted a small solo for Andy a year or so back, but this will be his first full solo in our main gallery. Excited to see his world come to life in our space. As with Esao, Andy’s relationship with LeVine continues to grow, and he too has made an important step in choosing us as his homebase in Los Angeles.

ModArt magazine curated group show – very excited for this as ModArt is a great magazine – the closest thing Europe has to a Juxtapoz or Hi Fructose. Totally cutting edge and just a great aesthetic and vision to those they choose to support and expose. Harlan (the editor) has put together a varied show with some powerful players included.

Also very much looking forward to the solo shows we have coming up with Matthew Feyld, Anthony Clarkson, Allison Sommers, Timothy Karpinski, Stella Im Hultberg and Sarah Joncas – all our artists we have worked with since almost day one and have had a very significant role in the development of their careers. The upcoming shows will be very important steps for each of them and we’re amped to go that extra mile for each of them.

We are also very focused on building a strong west coast home for artists that are established outside of California via established backing in other important markets (ie: Esao Andrews & Andy Kehoe this year and looking ahead to 2010 we’ll also be welcoming Damon Soule, Yosuke Ueno and Nicholas Di Genova to our family of artists – all with strong representation in NYC and/or Europe).

Collecting goals for 2009:
An orb painting from Sashie Masakatzu
A larger work from Josh Keyes
An original work from Swoon
Eric White original
And probably god only knows how many new artists that will grab my eye – always on the lookout. Just gotta stop for a bit and save up for that addition to our home… to make more room for more art! Hahaha

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Armsrock and Elbow-Toe kill it in Mostly Memory; we caught the final days at Thinkspace:

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In the project room, new work by Jon Todd:

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Possibly the coolest toilet in LA, by Ekundayo:

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Andrew shows us ‘the back room’, with new works available:

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thinkspace

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Now, for the pièce de résistance, Andrew’s home, a gallery onto itself:

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

thinkspace hosner home

Posted by pirovino | Filed in GLIMPSE, Galleries, Graffiti, Interview, Los Angeles



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