I am proud to introduce you to LA-based artist, ThankYouX and featured him in my new video! We were connected through friends from NYC earlier this year and after spending time getting to know him, it became clear he was on to something special. Growing up in a conservative Oklahoma surrounding, I had difficulty expressing my emotions and suppressed them but found joy listening to music to help connect and process my emotions. Listening to music became therapeutic for me and it allowed my emotions to flow. Looking back, I realize how beautiful music allows stories and sensations to flow through our bodies! One can easily cry to a song and release all sorts of emotions. When I discovered ThankYouX’s painting process developed while listening to music, I felt an immediate bond and wanted to get to know him better. ThankYouX allows himself to get lost in the colors and stays open to sensations letting the can or brush lead the way. Take a second to think about a song that triggers love, sadness or even ecstasy! When you think about those feelings, what songs come to mind? For me, any song from the 80’s takes me back to my time in Oklahoma where I was still ‘finding myself’ and figuring out who I wanted to become. Those sensations are undeniably beautiful and sweet. For the month of November, I’m very proud to have curated the new exhibition, ‘Guided by Sound’ for Soho House West Hollywood featuring new works by ThankYouX. Last week I conducted this interview and look forward to introducing you to his process and highlights from his career to date. To see images of his works Email me to schedule a private tour. Please also check out Episode 2: Top 5 Emerging and Mid Career Artists on IGTV and YouTube!
Q: YOU STARTED OUT AS A STREET ARTIST IN 2009. HOW HAS YOUR WORK EVOLVED SINCE THEN?
A: I was doing tons of art in the street all over LA and was in love with it. Everything I put up was quick and it was more about the message and the placement and rush. The early stuff was very image based. Stencils of Warhol, Steve Jobs, Daft Punk, etc, then I got sick of that after about five years and was starting to be inspired by more abstract artists. That’s when I found my geometric cube patterns. They were a mix between freedom and structure which is something I often think about. After almost 4 years making those and doing shows and murals all around America I wanted to experiment more. With this new body of work, it’s really just based on movement and motion. Very abstract and very moody.
Q: WHAT WAS THE FIRST BREAKOUT CLIENT OR EXPOSURE THAT PUSHED YOUR SALES FORWARD?
A: First break out client would be Demi Moore. She had seen my work painted on a wall during Sundance Film Festival and asked who the artist was. We met and she wanted a piece. That was more of a moment like “wow! I can’t believe that a famous person likes my art.” So it didn’t necessarily push my sales, but it pushed me forward. The thought that cool people liked what I was doing gave me the confidence to do more. There have been many key people in my career that have helped push me forward. Biggest person would be Roger Gastman. He’s become pretty much a mentor/advisor on my art career. He’s really smart and knowledgeable about art and one of the few people I trust with opinions.
Q: WHERE AND WHEN DID YOU CREATE YOUR FIRST MURAL?
A: First mural was a large-scale portrait of Andy Warhol in downtown Los Angeles. It was 2010 and I felt like being asked to do that one was a big step in my career. Shout out to LA Freewalls for making that happen.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT THE NEWEST BODY OF WORK AND SHARE YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE PIECES.
A: Like I said above it’s all about movement. This specific body of work was great with the help of music. I call it ‘Guided by Sound’. And every brush stroke is part of a song that I hear. It’s painted to the beat or the melodies of whatever I have on my headphones. Some sad music and some crazy aggressive music and some very happy music.
Q: WHAT ARTISTS INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE YOU CREATIVELY?
A: Warhol, Frank Stella, Mark Bradford are some of my favorites.
Q: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOCUS ON ART FULL-TIME AS A CAREER?
A: 2011 I quit my job as an art director and went with art full time. Painting in my bedroom and all over the streets of LA.
Q: TELL ME WHAT PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF PAINTING.
A: I pretty much love anything that has to do with the ocean or space. Reach out to Kipton for a portfolio of works currently on display at Soho House in West Hollywood this month!
Q: IS THERE A SECRET PROJECT YOU’RE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH ME?
A: Nope, it’s secret. 🙂
Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD? :
A: Create your own path. Nobody else’s path is for you. You can be inspired by someone else but always always always create your own path. It’ll make for a better outcome.