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TJ Rinoski

TJ Rinoski Offers Moments of Calm in “Balm” at Galerie Derouillon in Paris

An interview with the artist Tj Rinoski on the eve of his solo exhibition “Balm” at Galerie Derouillon in Paris.

TJ Rinoski’s exhibition “Balm” opens today at Galerie Derouillon in Paris, marking his European debut. Rinoski’s paintings capture the delicate interplay between external environments and interior spaces, translating his evolving artistic vision into mesmerizing compositions.

Speaking with Whitewall, Rinoski delved into the inspirations and themes behind his new works that explore intimate tranquility of interior scenes. He shared insights on how his artistic practice has matured, the calming effect of his work, and the significance of his show’s title, “Balm.”

TJ Rinoski Exhibition view of “Balm,” TJ Rinoski, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, 2024, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

TJ Rinoski Goes From NADA in New York to Galerie Derouillon in Paris

Rinoski reflected on the journey from his solo booth at NADA in New York City, where his seascapes were prominently featured, to his current fascination with interiors he finds unexpectedly soothing and introspective. This new direction allows him to combat the angst and turmoil of contemporary life, offering viewers a serene escape through his art. His meticulous process, influenced by his background in tattooing, has evolved to embrace a more precise and layered approach to painting. 

Paris, with its visual splendor and cultural richness, has already begun to influence his work, infusing it with fresh perspectives and vibrant hues. As he prepared for this show, Rinoski discussed the challenges and inspirations of his Paris residency and how the city’s unique atmosphere has sharpened his creative focus.

Looking ahead, the artist envisions a period of reflection and refinement, aiming to create larger, more immersive works that continue to blend the serenity of interior spaces with the evocative allure of his earlier landscapes.

TJ Rinoski TJ Rinoski, “Sea Breeze,” 2024, oil on canvas, 16 7/8 x 12 3/4 inches, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

WHITEWALL: Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration behind the works that you are showing in Paris for your first show in Europe at Galerie Derouillon?

TJ RINOSKI: For the work here, I’m diving into more interior spaces. My last show at NADA focused on a coastal town where I am from. It included seascapes and ocean-inspired material. While painting the seascapes I painted two cottage bathrooms and I loved how those came together. 

WW: How did you find inspiration for the pieces shown in the show?

TJR: I felt like the interiors soothed me more than the landscapes I was working on, it surprised me, not only as a place to clean yourself up but as another way to be introspective. In a painting from NADA titled Silver Morning, there is an old soaking tub with still water, it’s like someone draws up a bath and abandons it. I enjoy that remoteness for some reason. Hence, I started with a focus on the tubs here, the red velvety one and the close-up on the water. And then as you paint the initial ideas, others come. 

I try to scribble them down as fast as I can. But focusing on spaces at home that can calm me down became a clearer direction. I titled the show “Balm.” Like the topical ointment that relieves skin because this body of work elaborates on how I think my works tend to be softer.

For the last two years, the works seemed to be responding to my own anxieties and overall anxieties I see in my friends, the people around me, the political climate, climate change, social media, and the world’s “impending doom.” I can’t help but notice the overwhelming number of people, especially in the US, in this breathless state. And I’ve realized that my work has this breathing room, this kind of relaxing quality. I’m constantly editing, subconsciously, for the right components to fit that recipe. 

So I think going back to the title of the show, I wanted a lot of these works to combat some of that angst and turmoil that we’re facing because I think it’s only getting worse.

TJ Rinoski Studio view of TJ Rinoski, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, 2024, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

Tj Rinoski Paints Scenes in Response to the World’s “Impending Doom”

WW: How did your practice evolved? Since the NADA show, does seeing your works in a different environment impact your creative process?

TJR: When I was starting out, I was bouncing around a bunch of different subject matter trying to figure out my voice. And I think the word “CHARMED” which was the title of my first solo show in New York with Fortnight Gallery, showcases all of these different interests that I had. A bunch of moments that entranced me.

Then going to NADA, I was able to focus on a certain subject, location, or time. So I knew I wanted to hone in on the town I was from which is why I painted the seascapes, coastal cottages, fish still lifes, and things of that nature inspired by that area. 

So that’s what is happening in Paris with the interiors. I have a new subject that allows me to hone in on how I want to attack the paintings. Initially, the paintings were very aggressively painted like I would almost attack canvas and throw so much paint at it. 

Trying to almost carve away the image as a whole. Now I feel like I’ve refined that attitude, still attacking the canvas and sculpting the image but with a little more finesse. But you know, it doesn’t always work out.

TJ Rinoski TJ Rinoski, “Our Bedroom,” 2024, oil on canvas, 10 x 13 5/8 inches, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

WW: Coming from tattoos your relationship with canvas and skin has evolved? When you described that aggressively going into the canvas? It’s almost the opposite of what you were doing on the skin?

TJR: Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny you bring up the tattoos because my paintings started to develop and become more mature right when I started to tattoo. And I realized that through tattooing every day and painting every day, my sharpness, my eyes improved exponentially, with how precise I can place things in perspective. That’s come from how precise you have to be when tattooing. Tattoos are forever, you can’t mess that up. Hence why I think there are some stronger arrangements like the close-up of the bathtub water and the sink behind you (images of the relevant paintings) they’re much sharper with their angles. I’m able to tweak the scene more to my liking. In the past, it was a little more limited, the works were more straightforward, like the candles (image of the candle). It’s a pretty straightforward still life. You just couldn’t walk into them as much. And my understanding of light manipulating colors is stronger. For example for the candle painting I knew I wanted the candles to shine in the dark but not in the night, so how do I work that tone and get the candle light to pop but everything else is kind of dimmer. I don’t think I would have been able to make that until now. So mixing paint and pulling clean lines for tattoos have considerably enhanced my practice.

WW: Did this residency and actually being in Paris will influence the subjects or the way you will be painting or the inspiration for the future?

TJR: I think it’s trickling into the inspiration for the future, I had an initial list of paintings I wanted to make while I was here. And that’s kind of how they start. They start with words and maybe quick thumbnails like that. But I see the influence of Paris already working its way in. I’m hoping I can get the cityscape behind me refined enough. I’m not too excited about the colors just yet I have to tweak them a little more. 

TJ Rinoski Exhibition view of “Balm,” TJ Rinoski, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, 2024, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

“It’s a dream-like scenario,”

—TJ Rinoski

I have a balcony view at my apartment here. And there’s something about the spring light. It’s so long, it creates this crisp blue for a while and the colors start to change. 

It’s a dream-like scenario for a long period of time and the sharpness of the horizons in the buildings creates a tight but rich gradient. And I don’t think I’ll have time to capture all the ones that I’ve seen but that crisp blue keeps coming back to me which is why the cityscape/window view was something I wanted to create.

TJ Rinoski TJ Rinoski, “Lost Tub,” 2024, oil on linen, 10 5/8 x 16 1/8 inches, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

A Residency in Paris Offers New Insights and Inspirations

WW: What do you hope viewers will take away from the show?


TJR: Going back on the title, “Balm,” I hope there is a soothing component to these paintings that elaborate on my work from the past. I’m hoping they are able to escape a little bit and walk into the paintings to get some serenity and peace. Except for one. One may or may not have an airstrike in it.

I’ve always been fascinated with escapism. I think that’s why I like films so much. I like paintings that give you just enough information to immerse yourself like a cheap magic trick. You know like when someone acts like they are pulling off their thumb. But in general, I hope that they are a little entranced and able to escape some of their day-to-day madness even if its just for a moment. 

TJ Rinoski Studio view of TJ Rinoski, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, 2024, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

WW: Did you have any significant challenges while coming to Paris?

TJR: Yeah, I mean, Paris is so exciting. There are so many things to do. And with my wife being here, we definitely enjoyed ourselves the first couple of weeks. The most difficult thing for me to do is to choose what to paint. And I spend a lot of time making these little watercolor outlines, or thumbnails and sketches. And with Paris being so visually beautiful and stunning, and every restaurant looking like pages from a magazine, it’s hard for me to de-stimulate myself. In a way, I just wanted to be out there and be involved. But since time has gone, I’ve been able to dial in and focus on the work.

WW: Did you see an evolution in your work after a few weeks in Paris? Going back to the previous discussion regarding sharpening over here and in your eyes? Do you think that that will impact your future works, not just because of the light or because of what you’ve seen, but because of the art that you’ve seen other people and things that you’ve experienced in Paris? 

TJR: I think on the one hand, going into the museums and seeing some of my favorite paintings and painters of all time on the wall and seeing if my paintings could live next to them, if they’re worthy, is a constant push. And on the flip side of simply being here.  I’ve never done a residency before. And a month to prepare for a solo show to fill a room has forced me to work on multiple paintings at a time.

I’ve done so much painting this year preparing for NADA and this residency. The culmination of all that time really focusing on just painting has been a blessing and allowed me to realize its never good to force it. Its always smart to leave and come back with eyes refreshed. No matter the deadline. Which is why I have so many on the go. 

In the past, I’ve never painted four or five at a time, it’s always been maybe one or two. But I have to keep moving. And if I feel stuck with the color or the arrangement, I just move on to the other works.

I think the culture here in Paris has helped with that mentality too. In comparison to New York City or even back home. It’s a constant hustle. Whereas here, people take their smoke and espresso breaks, they have long lunches. I love it. Its seeping in and I hope I bring it back home with me.

TJ Rinoski Exhibition view of “Balm,” TJ Rinoski, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, 2024, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

WW: The balance between work and life is much better. 

TJR: It’s much better here. It has allowed me to let go of trying to finish something quickly and jump into another thing. That wasn’t the case before. I’m also better at letting go of the initial thought or idea. I’m letting things take grip and leave things how they look when I put it on there, rather than changing them all together.

The sunset over there (image of the painting) had windows that had these panels on the sides of them. I spent so much time on those windows. And they just did not sit well with me, I couldn’t stand them. I think it just cut away from the overall purpose of the show or what I was gearing towards and the painting, which is simplicity and an ability to take the edge off. I missed just the simplicity of the water and the sky, and the ridge of the balcony. I had to wash over the whole thing again. I ended up liking it even more.

WW: Can you tell me a bit about the future plans for you after the show and after the summer?

TJR: It’s been such a crazy six months, it has been the most intense and exciting stretch of painting/experiences. I had my first fair and having it be my own booth and experiencing NADA on its full scale, its full tilt in New York City. It felt like a drug in itself. Then I left for Paris a week later. A completely different country for a month. It has been exciting and I am so grateful but it’s been quite a lot to digest. So I’m planning on taking a little bit of a break. 

However, once I pick up the brushes again I’d like to create less in quantity and focus on a few larger works. Expanding upon some of my favorite ideas from here and NADA. I definitely still want to work on interiors, the few larger paintings I’ve made, have been landscapes. These are larger environments that you can walk into. And I want to see if I can create that same illusion and manufacture that same sense of immersion with different subject matter.

“’I’d like to create less in quantity and focus on a few larger works,”

–TJ Rinoski
TJ Rinoski TJ Rinoski, “Prayer Candle,” 2024, oil on canvas, 4 3/8 x 6 3/4 inches, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris © Grégory Copitet.

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