We all have a place we want to be, whether that place is a city we want to visit or something we want to achieve in our lives. This is the inspiration behind Los Angeles based artist Bumblebeelovesyou‘s upcoming exhibition. Opening on June 20th at Thinkspace Gallery, “#WhereWeBeelong” represents this shared dream in images of children wearing bee-striped shirts. When we visited Bumblebee at his Culver City studio, he shared, “I feel that the children in the paintings are exactly where they belong at that particular moment in their childhood which we all can relate to.” Childhood is where our dreams first begin. We relive those memories in pieces like his titular painting, “Where We Beelong,” of a little girl laying in the sun and daydreaming.
The evolution of Bumblebee, covered here, began with hanging paper mache beehives in pay phone kiosks. His creative focus has since changed, but throughout his career, he has always made artwork with a social message. In Bumblebee’s new paintings, this refers to social media. He plays with this idea using motifs like emoji hearts and smileys, combined with an overall palette of black, white, and yellow. Apps such as Snapchat and Instagram have not only become a way for the artist to connect with his friends and followers, it’s also a venue to sell his art. Before our visit, Bumblebee had just sold a drawing exclusively on Snapchat.
With a quirky attention to detail, Bumblebee is also preparing a schoolhouse-themed installation for the exhibit. This includes painstakingly hand-stenciled notebook paper and drawings on fine art paper. The most challenging piece for him to create, however, was made from about 100 different layers of hand cut stencils, portraying a girl falling asleep. “There are so many thoughts in your head at the end of the day, everything seems to just float away right in that moment, and of course it reminds us all that the last thing we usually see beefore bed nowadays, is our cell,” he says. “#WhereWeBeelong” by Bumblebee will be on view in the Thinkspace Gallery project room from June 20 to July 11. Take a look at more photos from our studio visit below.