Post-War & Contemporary Art / THANKYOUX Starting Somewhere 2022
Sold for £57,000 inc. premium
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Collection of the artist, LA
Throughout ThankYouX's distinguished career, the artist has paid homage to his inspirators, the Los Angeles native spending his formative years surrounded by the street art of Invader and Shepard Fairey. Before his international recognition as a pioneering NFT visual artist, ThankYouX's stencilled public pieces from the late 2000s drew inspiration from the works of Andy Warhol, nodding to the Pop Art luminary's technique of photographic silkscreen printing. Themes of Americana and pop culture permeate the present two works, Starting Somewhere and Purpose. Like Warhol, himself a champion of integrating new technologies including computers into his art, ThankYouX's artworks challenge the binary nature of the traditional art versus digital art debate. The present works attest to ThankYouX's dexterity as an artist; they embrace materiality, the theme of constant change, and technological innovation.
Amongst the artist's studio works, his canvases with an embedded digital screen have elicited excitement both with online crypto art communities and the wider contemporary art audience. ThankYouX has honed this technique in recent years to express multiple layers of a story, and to allow the audience to switch between a microcosmic and macrocosmic perspective. Whilst the canvas provides a commentary on how an individual's choices can lead to new frontiers in life, the NFT display extrapolates this idea further by inviting the viewer into a new visual plane and, metaphorically, a new dimension.
In the artist's words, 'Starting Somewhere expresses being unafraid to venture into new unknowns. Not letting obstacles hold you back from new ideas. To get to where you want to be, you must start somewhere.' This committed and passionate attitude reverberates throughout ThankYouX's technical approach in the present work. The atmospheric swathes of white, grey and black are disrupted by thick flashes of energetic cerulean and crimson. The dramatic impasto imbues the canvas with an instinctive character, and the cube motifs allude to the artist's digital NFT artworks as well as his larger murals painted on the streets of Los Angeles.
True to his curiosity and innovative nature, ThankYouX includes unconventional materials in his works – a practice which echoes the masters of Neo-Dadaism such as John Chamberlain, César, and Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In Starting Somewhere, ThankYouX uses a unique, gold-coloured material called aluminised polyimide which was gifted to him by NASA. This material is typically used to protect satellites from the Sun as they orbit the Earth. In combining the realms of technology and painting, ThankYouX's works amplify the interdependency of mankind. Pioneering a hybrid of physical art and digital art, he juxtaposes blockchain based technology and digital displays with canvases and paint. The two works on offer effectively convey the tension and liminal feelings one encounters when pursuing a life-changing objective.