Jay Runham

The Jay Runham Show

See what’s interesting to me from week to week.

Steal. Copy. Repeat.

Street Artist thinkITEM is making waves here in Edmonton. With his own brand of found art, this artist has shown what kind of life art has outside the galleries.

I was lucky enough to ask thinkITEM a few a questions and here is what he had to say:

What does ‘street art’ mean to you?
thinkITEM: Essentially it’s unsanctioned art left in the streets rather than the interior confines of a traditional gallery. 

What do you feel the difference is between graffiti, street art, and vandalism?
thinkITEM:Have to watch myself here. For me, I see graffiti as elaborate texts and images traditionally painted onto walls, trains, etc. Street art would entail sculpture, wheatpasting, stencil work or other types of similar installations in more non-traditional spots. Vandalism, for me, is when there’s no direction, style or thought put into what is being executed. But having said that, it’s a starting point for some Artists. If you follow say someone like BRUTE, you’d actually see his/her work evolving over time. It’s like a public sketchbook where the growth is on display for all to see. Though most of the public won’t see it that way. It’s a typical Art related issue….eye of the beholder, personal preference, etc. 

When did you get into street art and why?
thinkITEM: I got into the scene late last year. I just became disinterested in trying to obtain gallery shows, writing bios, Artist Statements, etc. It was something that I had always wanted to do, but didn’t know how to go about it. I wanted to do something that was a bit to the left of the already solid Street Art scene in this City so that it may have a chance of catching someone’s eye. 

What inspires you to create street art?
thinkITEM: I like the thrill of it and also seeing the public interactions with both the work and with each other. Strangers meeting strangers over their desire to obtain the same piece of Art. They themselves have become a form of Street Art. It’s brilliant. 

What is the story behind the name thinkITEM?
thinkITEM: It was unintentional. Years ago I designed and built furniture under the name of ITEM. Cause that’s what Designer do, they come up with these slick one word titles. So once that got rolling I needed a website. At the time think.com or .ca was not available, so my Web Designer suggested thinkitem.com. I thought “why not?” and went with it. From there it stuck and became an integral part of my evolution to where I am now. 

Who is your favourite artist? Locally? Internationally?
thinkITEM: Locally….Travis McEwen. Internationally….Ed Templeton. 

How would you describe Edmonton’s street art culture?
thinkITEM:Supportive and talented. There are some real good people in this town. 

How can the city of Edmonton be improved through street art? 
thinkITEM:Street art adds vibrancy and interest to an area. It draws people who want to be surrounded by interesting things. People love art, but some don’t love the atmosphere that a gallery provides for them. If an area has a reputation for being a dropping point for Street Art, I’d want to be there and hopefully witness it for myself. I read this article about an area in England that Banksy would hit on a regular basis. It got to the point where Real Estate Agents used that in there selling approach. That area’s market value soon rose. Now i’m not saying that I’m helping raise the property value on 104th street. But I’ve had people tell me that they’ve never bothered coming downtown till I started doing my thing there. 

If you could paint the High Level Bridge any colour what would you paint it?
thinkITEM: Nothing. I’d leave it as-is. I love the natural aged look it has. 

What is your favourite piece of art in Edmonton?
thinkITEM: Josh Holinaty’s mural on 105th st and 100th ave. I remember driving by when he was working on it and was blown away that we would have this type of public art in our City. It was a piece that I would normally see posted online from LA, New York or overseas. Has an Os Gemeos vibe to it. 

What do you aim to achieve with your found art?
thinkITEM: In all honesty, I have no agenda or plan. I literally make this up as I go. Whatever comes my way will come.  

What’s your favourite movie?
thinkITEM:Raiders of The Lost Ark. 

What’s next for you?
thinkITEM:I have a couple of shows funny enough. One is a group show called ‘Text Crutch’, that’s happening end of October. The other is a solo bit at SNAP gallery in January. I’m doing 2 large scale murals for that. Both 8 feet tall by 16 feet long. After that, a couple of collaborative projects that are still in it’s early stages. 

Where do you like posting your art the most?
thinkITEM: I like our downtown. Whenever I visit other cities, I find it’s always the downtown core that I spend most of my time. I’m never really interested in exploring outside of that area. 

Where on the internet can people find your work?