Monday, July 28, 2008

Interview with ZOSO

q)What is your name?

a)ZOSO. It’s not my real name, but that’s what I show under.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)Central Los Angeles,I have my studio in my apartment, it’s a craftsman style '4-plex', which is one quarter of a big old house.

q)What is your creative process like?

a)I never really have a formula per-say, so it’s always a bit different. Basically I always try to do things a little differently each time, which has it’s pro's and con's.I always just experiment and do what feels right at the time, and I have a lot of happy accidents. Lately I almost always do an underpainting and go over the whole thing again, its kind of a abbreviated version of the renaissance technique, and I am able to get some great depth and richness from it. It is quite time consuming though.

q)What is your favorite medium?

a)Oil paint, on panels. I used to paint in only acrylics, but I find the oils give me a lot more freedom and time to play around with shading.

q)What is your current favorite subject?

a)As is with my creative process, I can never stick with a solid theme for very long.

q)How long does it take for you to finish a piece?

a)It depends, usually several days. It’s very hard to keep track of how many hours I spend on a painting because I usually work on a couple things at the same time, and I take a lot of breaks. I'm not lazy, just easily distracted.

q)What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

a)hmmmm... I think the things I am most proud of is getting respect from my contemporaries. I have done a drawing trade with one of my all time favorite living artists, Greg 'Craola' Simkins, that felt very good. I did a collaborative mural with some amazing artists at a big convention down here, those are the things I really am proud of. Getting into nicer galleries and hanging on the same wall as people I hold on a pedestal gives me a nervous warm fuzzy feeling.

q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?

a)Too many to list. There is a explosion of great art going on right now, especially here on the west coast. It feels like a new renaissaince and everybody is feeding off one another. But the great thing with technology is that the world is small now and its not exclusive to one region. Art is cool again for the younger generation, and there is so much talent its mind boggling. I try not to pay too much attention and study their work too much because I don't want to unintentionally steal their ideas or let them influence my style too much. These days having a strong personal style and original ideas are the most important things.

q)Can we buy your art anywhere?

a)Well, I try to keep my website ( updated on what pieces are avaliable, but I will admit that it is not the most clear and user friendly. I will soon do an update to make it more clear and user friendly to see the pieces I have for sale through myself, but in the meantime of course you can just email me with any absurd question. My stuff is always avaliable through gallery shows first, so to get the first chance to buy something its best to get on my mailing list so you can check out whatever gallery I'm about to show at. My next show is a solo show at Munky King here in LA, they are a vinyl toy company as well as a store and a gallery. check it out!

q)Anything that people should know about that we don’t??

a)HHO gas (nothing to do with me or my art but I think its the answer to our energy woes). Google that shit, cars can run on water!

q)What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?

a)Sketch every day. I always have a sketchbook going and fill them cover to cover, I'm on number 15.

q)What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?

a)Well, it’s weird, but believe it or not I actually have fans. The thought of random people I don’t know being really into what I'm doing and getting a hold of me is very very encouraging. But on the adverse, the naysayers are equally as motivating. Trying to make it as a fine artist is not an easy gig, so when things get discouraging I feel like I have something to prove. I got a chip on my shoulder and am willing to fight to reach my goals.

q)How do you describe your work to those who are unfamiliar with it?

a)Short answer to a stranger I just met: "oh, you know, its kind of illustrative, character driven stuff, I do paintings of goofy little dudes mostly. Here, take a sticker and go check out the website". I don’t like explaining my work too much, especially if you've never seen it.

q)What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?

a)I went to a small community college (I don’t know if you have those in Italy, it’s the same as a university only it’s very cheap and non-exclusive, like a second rate university). I never graduated, but took a lot of art classes for a couple years and learned a lot. As soon as I quit school and started making work for myself, I kind of dropped everything I learned and painted in my own style, but later on I tried to combine my formal training with my own make-it-up-as-you-go-along technique. So I am probably 40% trained and 60% self taught.

q)Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?

a)Well, my whole setup is important to making my art, but if suddenly my easel or my nice oil paints disappeared it wouldn't slow me down a bit. I think maybe the most important element to my creative process is music. I always listen to music when I work and if I couldnt do that it would be an issue.

q)Who are your influences?

a)Historical artists from all over the place! Gothic art, the renaissance, romanticism, baroque, all that stuff is amazing. Art nouveau especially gets me exited. But also floating around my noggin is the pop culture I grew up in, cartoons and movies and graffiti. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. So much has already been done in the name of art.

q)What inspires you to create?

a)Relationships. The desire to succeed and leave an immortal trace of my existence in the world. My city. Traveling. Emotions good and bad. Other amazing talented people of all forms.

q)…your contacts…



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