Getting Down With devNgosha at TheAudience
Hosting a private art show inside the offices of a startup may seem like an odd combination to most people, and in most instances, it would be. However, after meeting Oliver Luckett, the CEO of theAudience, the cutting edge West Hollywood social media company co-founded by Sean Parker and Ari Emanuel, the unusual venue choice makes sense. After the initial shock of taking in all of the amazing art in Oliver’s highly decorated office, you quickly pick up on his passion and innate love for supporting and collecting art, and the fact that the rest of his office buildings look more like highly curated modern art museums than office spaces.
Oliver hired two of his favorite artists, a duo now known as devNgosha, to paint a mural on the third floor of his office about a year and a half ago, and then commissioned them as resident artists to stay on and create more art. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Had to give them work, otherwise shit might blow up,” Oliver explained.
The mural was the first official project that devNgosha (comprised of artists Devin Liston and Gosha Levochkin) completed together. Milk Made sat down and talked with the artists to learn more about the art they created during their residency.
Milk Made: What was the first piece of art you remember creating and completing that you felt personally defined you as an artist?
Gosha Levochkin: I was always painting with acrylic and showing my work already but it wasn’t until I moved onto watercolors and I did my first watercolor piece that I thought that, "Oh this is it. Oh, I’m supposed to do this."
Devin Liston: It’s funny because it’s the same for me because when I switched to oil from acrylic five years ago, the first portrait I did was actually a picture of Pharrell, his head on an ice cream cone melting. And I was like, "Whoa," ’cause I was scared to do oil, like so many people and then when I did it, it was so natural for me. And now I’ve switched back to acrylic and I don’t paint in oil anymore.
GL: And it’s funny because it’s the same for me because watercolor was my medium but now I’m challenging myself to go back to acrylic. We’re basically saying that—we’re really challenging ourselves, cause I think we conquered the two hardest mediums—watercolor and oil—and we now both use the same technique with acrylic that we learned from when we used watercolor and oil.
MM: Where did you draw inspiration from to complete the mural at theAudience and the pieces for this showcase?
DL: Just Oliver is inspiration….
GL: He’s for sure one of the main reasons why we continued the whole collaboration.
DL: He’s been so supportive the whole time. And recently, as in the past six months, we’ve become artists in residence at theAudience. Basically they’re funding everything—he’s paying us to paint and helping us.
GL: It feels like a blessing. I’m not trying to sound like a suck up too much, but that’s rad. Who does that? People who believe in your work.
MM: Do you ever feel any pressure from getting this opportunity?
GL: Yes. Well, we’re more fucked than anyone if we don’t do well.
DL: Absolutely. Actually, our first show was called Pressure.
MM: Do you ever feel like you need to create things that Oliver likes specifically? Or that you need to obtain his approval for anything?
DL: He allows us to be ourselves. He has to. The pressure is to get the work done…he trusts and knows what we’re doing, and we get what he’s trying to do with us. The relationship is really natural and it’s fucking awesome. It’s awesome. It’s really awesome.
**Photography by Phil Sanchez