Elephant Room Gallery is excited to have Springfield-based Artist BURN353 back for another solo exhibition opening April 8th to show brand new works created over the last several months with an exhibition titled “Through My Mind’s Eye”. The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, April 8th from 6 to 9pm at Elephant Room Gallery located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop Neighborhood of Chicago. The exhibition runs through Saturday, April 29th.
Here is a recent interview we did with the artist…
1. What got you started as an artist?
I decided I wanted to be an artist in kindergarten. Since I can remember all I have ever wanted to do is draw or paint. I won 1st prize in the school art show in kindergarten. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I just thought it was so cool that people liked what I drew. After that day I was hooked.
2. What is your background in art?
My background in art is kind of a long story. I grew up next door to a sign painter. His wife would watch me when I was little. I would just sit for hours and watch him letter and pinstripe big trucks and make business signs. So from early on I knew art was a viable option for me despite what everyone was telling me. There were lots of nay sayers. My mother however was never one of them. She always supported my dream of being an artist. As long as I went to college I could be whatever I wanted to be was her motto at the time. I ended up getting my Bachelors degree in fine art. I worked for 13 years in the graphics industry as a lead designer. Now I do art and design full time.
3. Where does the name Burn353 come from?
I get asked this a lot. Basically back when I did graffiti I used the tag (name) 353. I came up with that by turning letters in my last name into numbers. My last name is HENSKE so at first I drew it like H3N5K3. Eventually dropping out the letters and left with 353. I added the burn part later because of some larger pieces I did on a freight train. I wanted to do several cars with one piece which some refer to as a burn or burner. The 353 itself wasn’t long enough for the piece I wanted to do so I just added burn in front of it. That way I could fill more space. I ended up liking the sound of it and kept the name.
4. What is the message you are trying to portray through your art and as an artist?
The message I want to portray through my art is not to take life so serious. Laugh a little. Have some fun. I like to make people laugh. I enjoy the look on peoples faces when they see one of my pieces and it makes them feel like a kid again. I use lots of retro pop inspired themes to give my work that nostalgic feel. I love to celebrate the things that were cool when I was a kid. It has a way of taking me back in time. I figure in a way my art can do that for people. Make them remember a simpler time in their lives.
5. Tell me about the Collection that you will be showing in April; what is it about?
The show in april will be a little different than the shows I have done in the past. I will have several design collabs in this show. I teamed up with a few artists and took a design they drew then did my spin off of that design. Some I took elements of the other artists design then added them to my current characters. I turned them into woodcut paintings. I really enjoyed the process of working with all these great artists. It turned out very well I believe. I can’t wait to see peoples reaction to the new work.
6. What can the audience expect from the exhibition and your work?
If you like old school skateboarding, vintage hot rods, classic cartoons, and skulls then this is the show for you. There will be pieces signed by Darth Vader and the Emperor from the original star wars cast. A few unreleased prints and toys. A variety of 80s and 90s mashups that will make you smile. I wanted to give a peek of my world and how I choose to see it.
7. Of that collection which is your favorite piece and why?
Hard to say because my favorites change every time I make a new piece. I love my Crazy Uncle chico piece because it was one of those pieces that just came together effortlessly. So It has a soft spot in my heart. My current favorites are my new collabs with 7sketches, Castro13, and Ben Mitchell. They are great artists that I worked with to create some cool new woodcut pieces.
8. What are some goals/plans you have as an artist for the rest of the year?
My goal this year is to just keep pushing myself to get better. I”m working on larger canvas pieces using hand cut vintage comic strip. So Im hoping to eventually have a show for that work.
9. What can we expect from you in the near future?
I have lots of things in the works. I have some custom old school skateboards being made with my art on it. I am also working on new hand painted toys, prints, buttons, pins. There is always something new and fun in the works.
Make Sure to stop by the Gallery on Saturday, April 8th, so you can check out the exhibition and meet the artist behind the work! Open hours for April with be Monday and Thursday 12-5pm and Saturday 11am-5pm.