Josue Thomas: Riot: AF Projects Los Angeles

6 August - 8 September 2021

"A reflection on my continuous effort to transcend change by reimagining ideology, objects and the status quo."

Josue Thomas is a Los Angeles based artist and designer.

This year, during the protests in Los Angeles and beyond, one would see Josue's posters and graphics reiterated time and again throughout the cityscape. Thomas has produced a new series of collages and photographs based on the ethos of this particular cultural moment. Thomas engages in a dialogue between his text based polemical works and his brand of abstraction. In order to create beauty, he is insistent that the work needs to be set against the backdrop of the urgencies of our political present. The artist is invested in race, representation, and creates constant and consistent messaging that cultural and racial equality is universal and inherent to humanity.

Thomas was born in 1984 in Hollywood, California. Both parents were artists who inspired and influenced him, and he opened a creative space downtown under the name Gallery Dept. In his first studio one found paintings, photographs, turntables, drum machines and keyboards. It was a multifaceted space for all aspects of his creative life. Collaboration is key to his practice. Thomas’ mantra is “Collaborate, Create, Rebel.” Thomas invited vocalists, painters, graphic designers to create there - all were welcome.

He formally founded the brand Gallery Dept. in 2017 and expanded to a hybrid studio, experiential creative laboratory in Hollywood in 2020. For Thomas transparency of his process is as important as his conceptual practice and his resultant product or object.

Iconic artworks that are notorious out of the Gallery Dept. studio include ART THAT KILLS, STOP BEING RACIST, YOU ARE LATE! And RECYCLE limited editions.

“You have a destination. On your route, curiosity pays you a visit. It behooves you to explore alternate roads. You choose another path and discover a new altitude of humanity that you never imagined. Navigating life with the utmost freedom, conceiving of abundance of beauty. Acquiring inspiration and compassion provoking admiration and attraction. There is no greater plan for the artist, her calling has already been closed. To be certain of your destination means you will always be at the right place at the right time.” - Josue Thomas