Thinkspace is celebrating their 10 year anniversary tomorrow, January 10, with the opening of ‘La Familia’ and I felt this was the perfect time to share my undying love for this gallery. Here is my love letter with a personal backstory…
I had studied for 7 years to be a professional actress, and in the fall of 2007 I decided it wasn’t the path for me. This realization came when an ex-boyfriend of mine was signing up for art classes in college, and I was jealous of him because I had to sign up for another theater class. It was painful to accept that I didn’t want to be an actress. I graduated from High School early for acting, it was all I knew. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, except I loved art and writing. I felt more comfortable at art openings, than I did at film festivals. So I got a gallery internship after not signing up for my regular acting class, and started working at 01 Gallery.
The first Thinkspace opening I ever went to was Sarah Joncas and Camilla d’Errico in January 2008. This was a month after I decided to no longer pursue acting. As I drove away from the show, staring at the illuminated painted install shining out from the front window, I told my friend, “that’s the kind of gallery I want to be a part of.” I started my internship with 01 Gallery the following week, and was with them for 7 months before I knew it was time to move on. It was a Thursday when I sent out my resume to galleries around Los Angeles looking for a new internship; Monkey King, Gallery 1988, CoproNason to name a few. When it came down to Thinkspace, my dream gallery, I decided to call them instead. I think a part of me figured getting rejected immediately from them, would be easier than the torture of waiting for an email response.
LC, one of the owners of Thinkspace, picked up the phone and I nervously asked if they were looking for interns. He said he was looking for an assistant and if I could come in that day. I agreed, and jumped in the shower to be a presentable human being. I remember it wasn’t a convenient time for me, but when your dream gallery ask you to come in, you don’t say no. We chatted, and by the end of the conversation LC told me he was going on a tour for a month, but when he got back we’d get started. I quit my internship with 01 Gallery, and a month later returned to Thinkspace to get started as LC’s assistant. 2 years after being with Thinkspace, LC shared with me that he hadn’t officially hired me that fateful Thursday afternoon, but figured “hey this girl keeps showing up, and working hard…why continue the search.” For a moment I was embarrassed by my brazen assumption I had been chosen to be an intern, but then that assumption secured me a position with my dream gallery.
Now 7 years later, I’m no longer a Thinkspace intern, but occasionally a gallery assistant and solid family member. The title ‘La Familia’ of Thinkspace’s 10 year anniversary is so on point, as this gallery really developed a community and family in the ten years it’s been around. I came in a little late, but over the last 7 years I see familiar faces and seen artist grow from small pieces in a group show to practically selling out an entire large room (looking at you Jacub Gagnon). This gallery has helped to shine a spotlight on emerging artist and foster an environment for them to flourish. I’m not an artist, but at one point in time I was curating art shows and it’s solely due to the conversations I had at Thinkspace. Man I remember the day Audrey Kawasaki said I could do anything I put my mind to, I had the energy for it. I might have been buzzed on beer, but I swear she said it!
I love my blood family, but my art family has really shaped who I am today. I was raised to be incredibly cautious and rational. To not just look before I jump, but to inspect the ground and make sure I have the right permits. To consider what the tax situation is going to be like and will I need insurance. For me, growing up with that kind of pressure paralyzed me from doing anything. It was overwhelming to just think about possibly trying something new, and doing something on my own. LC taught me to just do it. He encouraged me to curate my first art show, along with the other owners Shawn and Andrew. They were incredibly supportive, and always gave me a blast in the Sour Harvest newsletter. Every Thursday for 3 years, LC listened to my romantic woes while I packaged art, spackled holes, and leveled paintings. He gave me advice on guys, while we searched for artist to invite to Cannibal Flower. I’d share an idea with him while eating lunch; expressing how I wanted to interview artist with silly questions like ‘what’s your spirit animal’, and he’d just say – well do it. That’s how My Favorite MAOI came to be, and although I’ve moved away from that blog, it taught me a lot as well. Some of the artist I had interviewed or worked with in my early art shows are now represented by Thinkspace, like Glenn Arthur and Kevin Peterson. What can I say, I think I have a good eye!
Picture from the show Black Market Sugar I curated at The Lab in Costa Mesa
Thinkspace was the catalyst in my life to a happier, more confident, and fulfilling path. LC, Valentine, Shawn and Andrew will stand in my future wedding photos like the important family members they are. If a terrible Si-Fi movie of my life was to be written and the plot was to ruin my existence, all the villain would have had to do was distract LC and prevent him from picking up my call that Thursday afternoon. I was totally lost with no direction when I landed on Thinkspace’s doorstep, and they raised me up like a stray kitten. I’ve grown and changed so much within the last seven years, and I truly attribute a lot of that positive growth to the people at Thinkspace.
I commend you if your attention span actually read my entire love letter. I could write a 1000 more words about how amazing this gallery is and the ways it has influenced my life, but then I’d really just have my heart bleeding all over this post. ‘La Familia’ opens tomorrow and it’s going to be crazy, and amazing!
I love my crazy amazing art family.
sorry David Cooley (he’s being covered by Valentine)