Tran Nguyen New Interview for New Works

Thinkspace Artists Tran Nguyen Erik Jones Alex Yanes

Tran not only creates beautiful work, she is equally stunning inside and out. This is the last  weekend (well today really, Saturday March 15) to see the “New Works” show at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City. NY artist Erik Jones and GA artist Tran Nguyen are showing in the main room, while Miami artist Alex Yanes takes over the project room. My favorite show of the year; there is a stunning balance of composition, beauty, and colorful fun through out the gallery. Erik Jones work connects Tran’s soft and ethereal pieces to Alex’s bold and chunky installation, although in separate rooms the entire gallery feels like a cohesive curated piece.

Here is a quick interview I did with Tran about the show, make sure to check it our before it comes down on March 22, 2014.

Tran Nguyen New Works

MAOI:  How would one phonetically pronounce your name? Or would you like to give MAOI readers a special way/nickname to address you with?
TN: My first name is pronounced “tron” like the movie and my family name is “wen”.  In summation, “tron wen”.
MAOI: How do you take your coffee or tea? 
TN: I recently made the transition from coffee to tea for health reasons.  I like it simple with no additives and blazing Godzilla hot.
MAOI: Did you have a “F**k yeah, that’s amazing” moment while creating this series? (modesty is over-rated)
TN: Yes — when I was creating “Living In a Forgotten Fissure I”.
MAOI: What was playing in the background while you were creating this recent body of work; music, Netflix, other?
TN: Ted Talks, The Amazing Race, artist podcasts, and a lot of music.
MAOI: What do you really like or admire about the work of the other artists your showing with at Thinkspace Saturday March 1, 2014. 
TN: Erik’s and Alex’s works are incredible on their own, but I find it amazing how we all complement each other so well, with each bringing their own creative innovation.  Erik’s is colorful like Alex’s while my work is figurative like Erik’s, and so on.

Interview with artist Casey Weldon


“Comparing your work to others is often only good for a kick in the gut. ” C.W.

Name: Casey Weldon
Nickname: Big Head (It is, physically not figuratively. I think)
Sign: Virgo

Food: French Fries
Book: Catcher in the Rye (Cheesy answer, but it’s the only one I’ve read more than once!)
Season: Summah
Favorite Medium: Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics

MAOI:  What animal is your spirit guide?

CW: Mmmm, Sloth?

MAOI: What superhero would be your sidekick?

CW: Which one is the one that gives good back rubs?

MAOI: Bathroom read?

CW: Any random trivia book.

MAOI: Do you remember the first public space you showed your art in? How were your nerves, what was the response?

CW: Yes, it was in Las Vegas and the response was mostly positive, and I was a sweaty mess. I am still often a sweaty mess.


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CODY LUSBY Smothers with Butterflies


(photo stolen from Matthew Hodges)

Name: Cody M Lusby
Nickname: Mustachio
Sign: Aquarius/Capricorn

Color: naples yellow
Scent: Bounce “outdoor fresh”
Food: cookies

MAOI: Are you superstitious?
CL: Not really, but I try not to walk under ladders and I don’t like breaking mirrors.

MAOI: If your art was a cereal, what would it be/ similar too and why?
CL: I would have to say “Basic 4” because it is a delicious blend of sweet and tangy fruits, crunchy almonds, and a wholesome variety of gains. Just like my art is a blend of spray paint, collage, acrylic paint and oil paint.


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Name: Henrietta Harris
Nickname: Henri, Sparky
Sign: Capricorn 
Color : Powder Blue,
Book : Brideshead Revisited,

Beverage : Coffee

Q1. What is the best show (music) you have ever been too?
A1. Definitely a Mint Chicks show (Ruban from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s old band) but it’s too hard to pick just one. I saw them practically every weekend for a few years.

Q2. If you could live in any time period or be anyone dead or alive, who would you be or where would you go?
A2. The 1960s for the music and fashion.

Q3. What is something you hate doing, but must do anyways?
A3. I say the word “like” in sentences too much and I hate myself for it. 



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Ryan Shultz – Molded by Legos


Name: Ryan   
Nickname: Big Head Jehov-
back in the day. With a head of 23 inches in circumferences and was raised
Jehovah witness…but was still cool.
Sign:  Aquarius –
Food: Indian Food w/ Garlic
Nan. But can make the most badass Eggplant Parmesan.
Book: Lolita-Vladimir
Nabokov; a book with the most elegant pros ever constructed in the English
language. And there is something to be said considering the fact that English
was Vladimir Nabokov’s third language. His first being Russian, French second
and English third. If English is your first language and you can’t write better
than a man who has it as a third language…you suck
Season: Tricky, I love the
Fall because of the crisp air and leaves changing and walking around in the
woods, but it’s kind of tricky because when you live in Chicago the weather
gets so shit, you go “oh what a beautiful fall “ and you have a week of fall.
And then you have sticks for the next 6 months, all the leaves fall on the
ground and turns to brown mush and then there is just sticks and ice and
horribleness, so I’m almost a little terrified of fall because of what’s to
come. There is a bit of anxiety. Unlike Spring I might say spring is my favorite
season, or something I look forward too. My libido is on over drive and girls
are wearing skirts. Fall is good for a week and then for the next 6 months its
all sticks, ice, and horribleness…brown mush on the ground etc…making spring
very much something to look forward to.
1. If
your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
(Was taken with boisterous laughter)
Tuna fish
smoothie w/ orange juice: – bittersweet. Because you would not want to eat my
painting in any way (referring to the painting he was currently working on). My
work isn’t sexy like gelato. Or that his work is surprisingly tasty, in the
sense that you would never read his work as being something delicious but then
surprisingly is. Searching for something low calorie but tasty, a snow cone
with booze was decided. Snow cone (low brow) with an expensive alcohol (high
brow); it would be a fine Chianti Snow Cone
2. How
many times have you been pulled over and why?
He has
only been pulled over four times, although he admits it should have probably
been more. With his incredible luck of being let off, once he was pulled over
in another state wearing a crown with pink aviators going 115 mph. The officer
let him off, because he explained he was going to spend 4th of July
with his grandparents. He is incredibly lucky when it comes to authority.
3. Best
show you have ever been too?
saw Maulers 4th symphony, was moved to tears complete water works. Had never
seen Mauler before and it blew him away. The whole production every element to
it was phenomenal
Concert: Radiohead
in Florence “Hail to the Thief Tour” on a beautiful hill for free. The concert
was sold out, but he and his friend took turns looking over a wall 90 ft away
from the stage to see the show. With the acoustics amazing, hearing the music
was great, in beautiful scenery.
It is a tossup
between the two shows.
4. What animal
is your spirit guide?
At one time a
lot of hallucinogenic were taken to try to find the spirit animal with no
avail. But a chameleon seems to be the animal which sticks. Can talk to anyone
from a homeless man to a billionaire banker; regardless of topic or social
status he can always adapt himself to situations in which he can be able to
hold conversations with his company.
5. What
have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
There was
a looong pause of thought in trying to figure out this answer. Has never said
he was never going to do something and always been a reckless person. So…the
question was left un answered.
thing he has said he will never do, and does not look forward to doing in any
way, would be to sleep with a prostitute- but that does not answer the
5-II.  What do you hate doing,
have to do it?
Hates doing everything, all task or chores; shopping, laundry,
cleaning, buying beer etc. “I am a barely functioning individual that somehow
gets by”
6. You
were slipped a radioactive roofie by an evil scientist and now have mutated,
what’s your superpower?
Power as
of present- mind control
7. Most Embarrassing Moment?
During one summer romance, a lady
friend the time was extremely drunk on jack and proceeded to vomit on the bed,
in bathroom, and at some point was laying/ crawling in a river of vomit. Already
embarrassed for her, it was when she shit on my bed that took it to the next
level. Scrubbing her panties with a carpet cleaner, and scrubbing the bed. The roommates
helped out by scrubbing her down in shower.
8. Is there any toy you really wanted
as a kid but was never given? Did you ever buy it for yourself when you got
No not really. A self proclaimed really
weird kid, he would make Barbie dolls and GI Joes have sex. GI’s banging Amazon
women. Was given Stretch Armstrong by an aunt and crucified him, built a cross
and nailed Stretch to the cross and set it on fire. Does reflect on the fact he
had a huge Lego collection, possibly influenced the development in visualizing
3d; the conversion of 3 dimensional space into a 2 dimensional image.
9. Do you have a phobia? Or what is
your most irrational fear?
Does not have any phobias or any
irrational fears, no fears that not any normal person would have, i.e.: the
fear of death. If there was any fear, a fear of his would be sleeping too much.
Not as much a fear, but if he sleeps to long it would piss him off. Fear of
losing time. Currently is really focused on being a more efficient painter; by
not going out, sleeping in front of his painting, anything that would aid in
the obsession and being focused on art. So to lose time in over sleeping would
be the most irrational fear he has at the moment.
10. What’s the most interesting thing
you found lying on the street/sidewalk/ground/random place?
Was walking in Wicker Park brown
bagging a bear and found a book “Man, Myth and Magic”. A very odd, strange,
weird book with pictures of possibly burning babies and two headed dogs, photos
from a possible Rambers Museum. Avoiding the text, because the photos are
interesting enough on its own.  The book
was possibly from 1978 or 68.

Back in November I had the pleasure of talking with Ryan over Skype for his survey. My first “verbal” interview and my first transcribed, loosely quoted, survey post. His personality is as rich and layered as his work, possessing a charm and dark humor.Without a clue, it wasn’t until the day of the interview did I discover Shultz was a contestant on the Bravo Show Work of Art. A show I personally did not care for from the pilot. I had become a fan of his work independently, stumbled upon him on another art blog never mentioning his TV fame. A hour plus long conversation with him was entertaining, informative, and includes a dozen more thoughts that I am unable to share, or have no desire to try and transcribed. Selfishly keeping it to myself.  If you ever get the chance to have a conversation with Ryan, be on your toes, alert, and ready for some knowledge.

Check out more of Ryan’s Work Here.

David Bray : A Snake With Your Tea?

(image courtesy of David’s facebook profile picture)


Nickname: Tragically I guess it would be DAVE. If i type it like this D.A.V.E it looks a little more interesting?

Sign: Pisces (if that’s what you meant? Or is it some kind of masonic thing I’m missing out on? Went for dinner the other night opposite the huge masonic building in Great Queen St in London. There are a LOT of masons. They all had a sign.)


Book. ‘Jesus’ Son’ Denis Johnson

Season. Winter

Beverage. Morning coffee, evening wine.

Q1. What is something you hate doing, but must do anyways?

A1. Anything involving arithmetic. I’m number blind. I tell myself that to cover up stupidity. I need numbers to count pens, measure pieces of paper, sugar in coffee, get on the right bus. All that.

Q2. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses, which one would you abandon?

A2.I think I’ve already lost my sense of smell. My girlfriend constantly tells me she can smell cat’s piss. I can’t. At all. Which either means she is a cat. Or I stink of piss.Tell me if I stink of piss.

Q3. Most rewarding moment of your life thus far?

A3. Every day alive brings its own rewards.

Q4. If you owned a parrot, what would you teach it to say?

A4. ‘He’s not here.’

Q5. How old were you the first time you got drunk? How was the experience?

A5. I was 13 or 14. Went through the contents of my parent’s drinks cabinet with a friend. We had a small window of opportunity when my mother went out. About 10.00 a.m.- 12ish. On a Thursday morning in the school holidays. I remember laughing. A lot. And barely able to stand. It was difficult to get it together to disappear from the house before discovery. It was a very methodical, measured approach.

Q6. Whats the most interesting thing you found lying on the street/sidewalk/ground/random place?

A6. A half eaten snake in Anerley, London. If you know it, then you will know that is no place to find a snake. I’m not talking grass snake, it was a hefty looking thing. Cobra size. It looked tragic. We left it. An hour later it had moved up the street by a mile or so.

Q7. How many car accidents have you been in?

A7. Four happened in the space of 6 weeks, culminating in me totally writing off my car. A slow impact, 5mph head-on collision. Really mundane. I think I prefer the slow crashes.

Q8. Do you have a phobia?

A8. Moths. I scream. Proper screaming. Embarrassing.

Q9. If you could morph into any animal what would it be?

A9. Bear. So I could see if I really do shit in the woods. What an unpleasant answer. Should have said unicorn. I don’t shit in the woods. Not that I could smell it. Going to stop typing about shit now.

Q10. If you knew when the world was going to freeze for ten minutes, what would you plan to do in those 10mins?

A10. Check out what’s really going on in that masonic building.

*I have held on to this survey for WAY to long now and it needs to get out into the universe damn it. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do a proper write up on the work except for the fact that its mysterious,  sultry, and seduces you to look a little bit closer. Please check out more of David Bray’s work on his website and check back later for a better write up. 

Kelly Allen – Pantone Purple C


Name: Kelly Allen
Nicknames: Silkies, Beeps, Punkin, Kel
Sign: LEO

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Season: Summer
Color: Currently, it is orchid (pantone purple C)

Q1. What animal is your spirit guide?

Q2. What superhero would be your sidekick?
A2. The Flying Pig from Kids in the Hall

Q3. Bathroom read?
A3. Bust Magazine

Q4. Where and When in time would you go?
A4. That is a tough one. I can’t pick just one. For today, let’s say Hawaii, 1800.

Q5. If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5. Blue Moon!

Q6. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6. Unfortunately not, although my sister did. She invented and entire species, called “Popies.” She described them as little people with green eyes, white hair, wore jogging suits, and had suction cups on the ends of their fingers, so that they could stick to the TV. She would tell me epic stories of how they drove in double decker buses and had lots of fun adventures. So amazing!!!

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7. Quotes I coined:
“A son of a bitch is a puppy.”
“A son of a gun is a bullet.”

Q8. Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8. YES! I LOVE that kind of stuff.

Q9. Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9. Yep. Usually 2.

Q10. Best show you have ever been to?
A10. Quintron and Miss Pussycat!! They rock my world. I love them sooooooooooo much!
I was lucky to get to see them on a whim during a trip to Madison, WI with my sister. I had no idea who they were before we got to the show. I was mesmerized. I dream of the day I get to experience their amazingness once again.

I wish I knew of great master artist to compare Kelly’s work to or steal ideas from other interviews and about me’s. But as that just wouldn’t be my style I will jump back into the MAOI style of artist reviews…A painted collage of flora, fauna, flesh, and fur. Kelly isn’t your typical abstract artist but her concepts play in the land of dreams. Jumping from one idea to another till you wake up with bits and piece of your own personal subconscious wonderland. A foggy memory with key elements stepping out from shadows and clouds of color.  To see more of Kelly’s work please visit her website. 

Timothy Karpinski

Name: timothy john karpinski jr.
Nickname: tea moth y , pinski
Sign: pisces

Book. Still life with woodpecker by tom robbins
Animal. Kitty cats
Color. blissful blue

Q1. Are you superstitious?
A1. yes very, i love ritual and use it in art making.

Q2. Best show you’ve ever been too?
A2. artshow: souther salzar at jonathan levine, or barry magee at redcat, music: efterklang

Q3. What have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
A3. fall in love again

Q4. Bathroom read?
A4. pocket french dictionary / national geographic

Q5. Most Embarrassing Moment?
A5. getting naked at a party and reading poetry

Q6. If you knew when time would freeze for 10 minutes, what would you do in that time?
A6. make a sandwich

Q7. What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?
A7. pinky and the brain

Q8. What’s your vice?
A8. drawing in public places

Q9. When are you most creative morning, mid day, or evening?
A9. early morning, very late at night, and blends of both

Q10. You were slipped a radioactive roofie by an evil scientist and now have mutated, what’s your superpower?
A10.  i can read her mind.

There is something completely whimsical and delightful about the work of Timothy Karpinski. Like the butterflies of first love his work lifts your mood instantly. His close attention to detail and meticulous dedication to cutting out perfect pieces of paper to place back together sets him apart from most artists in the scene. The work has a completely organic and innocent nature to it like a child creating with construction paper in an elementary school art class. At his gallery shows he has created magical installations, awakening the curious voyeur in all of us. Walls covered with poems and doodles and decorated with owls and other eclectic nick-knacks give you the feeling that this maybe just what Timothy’s world at home looks like. The first piece of art work I ever purchased was a small piece by Timothy entitled “Ready To See My Sweetheart”. It’s a very modest piece of a boy standing with balloons and flowers in hand; calling to the romantic in me I hope to one day live that picture I bought and be greeted with balloons and flowers.

Please check out more of Timothy Karpinski’s work at his website and blog

Sylvia Ji – Potential Ballerina Paleontologist


Name: Sylvia Ji
Nickname: Ji-unit/ Sign: Aquarius

Holiday- fourth of july, I love bbq’s, beers, fireworks and summer nights.
Scent – I love the smell of a restaurant kitchen, especially garlic, onions, and carrots being sauteed in olive oil.
Pizza topping – the Asian in me loves anchovies
Q1. What is the best show (music) you have ever been too? 
A1.Radiohead at the Berkeley Greek
Q2. If you could live in any time period or be anyone dead or alive, who would you be or where would you go? 
A2. I think i’d love to travel back to the early 70’s and see a bunch of Led Zeppelin concerts.
Q3. What is something you hate doing, but must do anyways?  
A3. Paying bills and taxes!
Q4. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses, which one would you abandon? 
A4. I could go without taste, but only for a little while.
Q5. Most rewarding moment of your life thus far? 
A5.Being able to quit the 9-5 and fully commit to art making.
Q6. If you owned a parrot, what would you teach it to say? 
A6. I’d teach my parrot buddhist sayings, something to keep me motivated.
Q7. How old were you the first time you got drunk? How was the experience? 
A7. All I remember was me and a bunch of friends singing bohemian rhapsody at the top of our voices, then passing out.
Q8. Biggest Pet Peeve? 
A8.Drivers who don’t use their turn signals! This kills me!
Q9. What was your childhood ambition? 
A9.I wanted to be the best ballerina paleontologist ever.

Q10. Is there any toy you really wanted as a kid but was never given? Did you ever buy it for yourself when you got older?  
A10.I guess not a toy, but a pet! I have two cats now!

 Sylvia Ji paints the presence of strong and powerful women with a mysterious gaze rendering them further in to their untouchable state. Known for her Dia Del Muertos women, their faces painted in the Day of the Dead sugar skull style, she makes each pattern as unique to her subjects face as the character she creates. Recently her work has been exploring Native American allegory and the essence of its rich history and culture. Painting her love for culture, understanding, emotion, and life into each piece not only does she capture her audience but commands it.

Please view more of Sylvia Ji’s work on her website.

Catherine Brooks – Hot Motorcycle Babe!


Name: catherine Brooks

Nickname: sparkes, cat, doomferret, kitsune, rabbit, mole, rice pudding, space monkey.



cookie. Pecan Shortbread

season. Spring


Q1. What is the best show (music) you have ever been too?

A1. I have been to only a handful of shows, I actually don’t enjoy them, but I keep going to see GWAR over an over again.

Q2. If you could live in any time period or be anyone dead or alive, who would you be or where would you go?

A2. I would want to be Charles Eames.

Q3. What is something you hate doing, but must do anyways?

A3. oil the chain on my motorcycle.

Q4. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses, which one would you abandon?

Smell, its half of tasting, so I think tasting might be half smell, it seems the most efficient to only give up 1/3 of the Olfactor. Also I have a very strong sense of smell and it usually isn’t a good thing.

Q5. Most rewarding moment of your life thus far?

A5. I am very into the reward system in my life, I constantly reward myself or just seek pleasure in general. From a philanthropic perspective I think the day I found myself putting my coat in the room of a friend’s uncles 16 year old step-daughter (at a party) Her room was like many teenager’s plastered with magazine photos of bands and fashion shoots. Its like one big inspiration board for who they want to be and what they think is cool. Above her vanity mirror she had cut out and glitter glued every one of my paintings from the pages of RVAMAG (Richmond’s only art magazine.) I felt super proud that she saw that work and with no connection to me, saw something in it that inspired her. I felt like maybe the honesty and power and grace I hope is in my work might be influencing someone. Thats what I really want.

Q6. If you owned a parrot, what would you teach it to say?

A6. “Winter is coming!” and “I can see your insides!” or “Muad’ Dib” or “I can see your sins!”

Q7. How old were you the first time you got drunk? How was the experience?

A7. I was 15 and blake bullard made me fuzzy navels, i danced around his living room while he played his grand piano, i ended up laying under it listening to the sounds and laughing. it was so wonderful.

Q8. Biggest Pet Peeve?

A8. I don’t really have one, except even though i like doing the dishes at my apartment i secretly hate washing dishes from food i didn’t eat and/or am allergic too. it makes me bitter. just for a second.

Q9. What was your childhood ambition?

A9. I always wanted to be an artist, pretty much thats it.

Q10. Is there any toy you really wanted as a kid but was never given?

A10. Did you ever buy it for yourself when you got older? I honestly don’t think so. I liked the toys I had, the ones i could never get or make i still can’t and I wasn’t as into toys as I was into books and tools. I have definitely bought myself alot of those.

Cathrine Brooks paints beauty suspended in a world of ribbon, nature, bubbles and pearls. Capturing the essence of femininity, it’s power and elegance. Her creativity transcends the canvas as she sometimes pushes her worlds onto laser cut wood and books with bottles. With an electric personality the work equally vibrates with life. Using light to highlight and illuminate her subjects, she creates romance and mystery, a dreamland where our imaginations can wander.

Please check out more of Cathrine’s work on her website