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MSG: That was the fun of walking around here, you
don't know what to look at first! You do a tour around
the room, think you have seen everything and then
realize you have only discover the first of many
SL: You will never get bored! For us, you know we
get bored so easily. Every time I come to this place
it's a blessing. Because I get to have a conversation
with so many different artists. There are so many
works in this place, you can never get enough. Some
artists criticize us for that because they are so
use to the traditional structure of galleries. They
say you should have white walls and just concentrate
on the work. I say when you paint, what do you paint?
It is all about the colors!
Artist: Kob Thanapat
MSG: It seems like many of those galleries are designed
for people who can't think about more than one thing
at a time!
SL: I wanted people, from the moment they walked
through the door, to see how many stories I have
to tell. The spirits will pull you in, just like
they did with you guys.
MSG: I truly believe they did.
SL: This makes me feel energized. Like the message
was received loud and clear, I did what I had to
do. I always said I wanted to do this for someone
else to take over so when the universe calls me for
the next job, I can just go. I just didn't know when
the universe was going to call!
MSG: As good as this was, just think of how much
better it will be.
SL: I can't wait!
MSG: This is such a diverse collection you have
here. When you see an artists work do you think "I
could sell this?" Does it talk to you and say
put me into your gallery? How do you put it together?
SL: We always said, as a true artist, even if I
don't like something, art is all about reaction.
If I can react to it, if there is something positive
about it, then I will bring the artist in. My job
is to teach the world. Our society puts things into
our minds. It tells you this is what you should eat,
this is what you should wear, this is how you should
look. We say no! The universe created you and your
smart enough to think on your own - to even question
Whatever you like, there is something in this gallery
for you. We have people who never had an interest
in art and come into this gallery and just have an
unbelievable reaction. I don't think about what is
going to sell. I am a business man but I am an artist
first. People are sometimes worried because they
can't buy anything, I tell them not to worry about
it. Whoever is going to pay the rent will come in
and buy something. I love that when people come in
here, as they are buying, they are smiling - they
are happy. That is the beauty of this place - that
is the beauty of wherever we are going to go. We
change the way you think. We want to bring something
fresh to the world. So many galleries, everything
looks the same.
MSG: Many galleries have become glorified home decorating
centers. "The blue painting will look good over
the sofa." I don't think that is what you are
aiming for here.
SL: Sometimes people come in here and they are shocked
by the colors, by the way we have arranged things.
Shocked because they like it. So many people are
afraid of color. But they come in here and do something
different in their home. That is what I wanted. No
one should worry about trying something, that is
the only way you learn. I always tell people anyone
can paint. Because it is you, it is what is inside
of you. The creation is already inside, you just
have to allow it to be. You have to go to the next
level every time you have the chance. I can't wait
to go to the next level because I love to shock people.
When we do this in the next space, I promise, people
will be amazed.
MSG: I want to talk about the next level. What do
you think you want it to be?
SL: Well, another dream will come out of it. I always
wanted a place for artists to come to, to be comfortable.
I want a studio for music and for movies. We are
looking for true artists, people who are always looking
to go to the next level. I want to build a team,
a great team. Again, it is not about me. It's about
doing the impossible, what people say is impossible.
I hope to make a movie one day of my own life. Where
I was born in Haiti, in a very small town, you couldn't
dream. I believe I am on a mission and my mission
is to give hope.
The beauty of the next place
will be that it is my building and I will not have
to worry about moving
again. I want to bring more nature to the gallery,
water, trees. I want walls of water, fountains, fish.
I have had so many people come in and say " I
had a bad day and I only had one thing in mind, to
come to your gallery!"
Teak Root Chair
MSG: That is a huge compliment.
SL: It is! My friends used
to say I would only be a shoe-shiner because I
didn't like school. But this
is my mission. If someone had come into this gallery
and said they would save it, at this location, simply
because of what it stands for - I would have signed
everything over. For me it is more, it is deeper
than money. That is what I want to take with me to
the next level. I want people to come and dream in
my gallery. I believe it will happen, I have no doubt
in my mind. All I ever wanted in my life is to have
a normal life... to do what I love so I don't have
to struggle. All my life has been a struggle. If
I have to make music, if I have to make movies, if
I have to paint, I want the opportunities to do just
that. If someone said to me "I will never give
you cash, but I will allow you to do what you are
doing, to allow more artists to come in," I
would be happy.
I feel artists give so much
but too often get very little back. So many people
don't respect you. As
if the the only sign of success is material things,
money. If you have money, then you have made it.
My family used to ask "how much money do you
make?" I used to be very upset about that. A
true artist, we care about respect, that people come
in here and say "Wow!" It is more than
sex, more than money, more than food. For the last
two days I have not had the time to sleep, but sitting
here with you right now...I feel so good. I don't
feel tired, I feel energized.
I know something positive, something big will come
out of this. I am already picturing the building.
MSG: I really believe this will be bigger than anything
you could have imagined!
SL: I get tired sometimes. I feel like I am doing
the right thing, trying to help others, but there
is no one to help me. I ask why is there no one?
MSG: What answer do you get?
SL: Well, people like you. When you guys left the
first time, I had such a great feeling because of
the way you responded. I never thought you would
really call and do this. That was the answer...don't
worry, help will come. People will respond to a great
Photographed By Evan Sung
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