Who Is ThankYouX?

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Oftentimes many of us look at art and are either instantly inspired or have a desire to learn more about the story behind it. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two. As an LA brand, we’re grateful to be surrounded by different visual compositions from artists who stem from all walks of life. We caught up with LA artist, Ryan, also known as  ThankYouX, who shared details about his creative path and gave us an inside peek into his process.
Every time I do a body of work, I like to have all the art pieces connected.
How long have you been living in LA? What is it about the city that inspires you?
I moved from Orange County to Los Angeles about 10 years ago. I think I’m most inspired by the melting pot of culture in LA, where it’s people from all over the world with similar dreams.
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Where did the name, ThankYouX, originate from?
The name, ThankYouX, came from back in the day when I was doing street art stuff. I was putting up these big stencils of Andy Warhol and underneath that, I would just write “thank you” and then sign it with an anonymous X. At the time, I was just doing a tribute to Warhol and kind of paying homage. Every artist is inspired by him whether they acknowledge it or not, so I just came out with it and said “thank you”. I was putting them all over LA and different art blogs started referring to me as, ThankYouX—so I kind of just went with it.
How did you get started painting?
I’ve been painting ever since I was a little kid. I left painting in my early 20s and started focusing more on graphic design. I was touring in bands and designing t-shirts for bands—that’s how I was paying my rent. I started incorporating the graphic design elements into my paintings once I moved to LA and started focusing more on painting. Over the years I went through a few different phases, which now led me to my way more abstract phase.
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Tell us about your process.
Every time I do a body of work, I like to have all the art pieces connected. I use a lot of raw canvas. So what I’ll do is I’ll have a canvas on the wall that I’m painting, and then the next canvas I’m about to paint will be underneath as the dropcloth. You’ll start to see elements or colors, color palettes, from the painting I'm painting on the dropcloth. Once I feel like it’s ready to be hung up on the wall to be the next painting, I kind of start from the dripping from the previous painting. That way, I can have a starting point. And that way they are all linked together by a similar color palette. Each one is basically like a cousin of the other one.
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Have you ever experienced a creative block and if so, do you have any personal tips to overcome it?
I usually put on headphones, listen to some loud music, walk around the Arts District, and get coffee.
What’s one of the most memorable projects and/or collaborations you’ve worked on and why?
Anytime I’ve worked with a school, that’s the most important collaboration to me. Inspiring the next generation is really powerful. Hopefully they will be the ones inspiring my kids when that day comes.
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You mentioned you toured in bands. What was that experience like and how has music played a role in your life?
Touring in bands when I was younger was like college to me. I learned so much and met some amazing people. It was pre-Instagram days so we just had to figure stuff out. There weren't maps on cell phones yet. We used actual maps! Imagine that! Music is what shaped me. I’d say 80% of my friends today are people I met from being part of hardcore music.
Reflecting on the ‘90s, is there any song or album in particular that you feel will always resonate with you?
In the ‘90s, I liked everything from Strife to The Cure to Ace of Base. Don’t judge me.
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You had the opportunity to test drive our new 4-Way Stretch jean. What are your thoughts on it and how does denim in general fit into your wardrobe?
The stretch is great. Nothing worse than not being able to move around while I’m painting. I will continue to paint in them and hopefully won’t get too much paint on them.
For anyone in LA looking to see your work up close and personal, where can they find it?
For now, @thankyoux on Instagram, but I have a big art show coming up at Avenue Des Arts Gallery in May, so look out for that!
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We all define luck differently. What’s your take on it?
The thing about being lucky, you have to be able to acknowledge that you’re in a situation and take advantage of that. Luck isn’t random I feel like. I feel like you just have to be aware of the situation and put yourself in a situation to be lucky.
Keep up with ThankYouX on Instagram: @thankyoux
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