Gdansk chairs 2009
Defining negative space (green), Canvas 100x 100, spray and marker, 2010
Netherlands Vlissingen 2007
Zedz at Jeroen and Linda's House Amsterdam 2009
The ball 2010 80x80 acrylics on canvas
Praha 2008 landscape
MIxed media 2006 - 3 D graffiti
Zedz - D6 - Gekido -Super A (from left to right)
Praha amesfest 2008
Thalys 2009 Foto BY Pierre Tjerdman
Thalys Zedz 2009
Zedz Manchaster 2010
Ingolstad RGB 2006
Usually I will have a big introduction to an interview, well in this case I’ll keep it Short, as the interview covers a lot of information as we dive into many subjects on the Artist Zedz. Ill say this, Zedz is one of the most talented and inspiring artists out right now pushing graffiti into new mediums, as well as dimensions. If you haven’t ran across any of Zedz work I suggest you get caught up now, and pay attention. Im sure there will be some great new projects coming from Zedz in the future and we will continue to showcase new works from him. It was a pleasure to talk and get answers from an artist who’s attention to detail is not lost in his answers to all our questions as well. Enjoy.
GF: So I guess the first thing I would ask you, as I am familiar with your work but I apologize as I am not very educated on the history of ZEDZ. So for me as well as those out in the world that want to get to know who ZEDZ is what would you tell them?
ZEDZ-Basically I would refer to my website and invite people to have a look at my work there. I finished high school (while painting graffiti) and after that went to the art academy. I stayed in there for many years and when finished I had decided that graffiti is my main source and binding fact with art. I make typography and graffiti both for art’s sake. I started doing graffiti at an early age. After a while I found myself mostly interested in doing easy read-able pieces, styles that where easy to read and for me equally easy to execute. I realized pretty soon that its important to have a marked style and worked on that so to accomplish a trade mark. My graffiti is pure typography based and that is the starting point for my work: the letters of my name. I have a natural-born interest in dimensionality and that is always to be found somewhere in my works, either by creating 3D as well by denying its existence by for example making plane and plan-matic works. My work is influenced by a legacy of writers, visual artists, musicians, architects and friends (a.o.). I don’t like to think I am very unique I rather think I am a calculation, a total sum of adding and subtracting which might have some rare outcome sometimes. My work comes to existence as being the result of researching and experimenting. I like to think of paintings and drawings as being representations of a 3 dimensional reality/things that really exist. A canvas is a window, a painting is a drawing.
GF: I think that your analogy to your work being a calculation is very direct and analytical way of looking at things, I myself can see that same thought process when I look at your work. You also talk about typography as an influence for your graffiti which to me is very refreshing, many artists close themselves off to so much. This has been a question that I really wanted to ask other artists around the world that had an abstract or just totally different style than most other graffiti. How did they get there, meaning how did their style evolve to a point where it was OK to break from tradition. Better yet was there ever a tradition to break from in their particular situation? As an artist you are very recognized for your design work, gallery shows, and street pieces. What is left for you to do, what do you want to accomplish at this point in your career?
ZEDZ-1. I am indeed coming from a tradition of lettering and name writing. My interest in Lettering is not only in graffiti but more broad. I think its through graffiti that I am interested in letters and visa versa. For me it’s not only the tradition but it’s the challenge that keeps me on the topic. At the same time I don’t think I have to be read anymore and it’s not important to me to make understandable type. Lettering is an integral part of my work, for me that’s the context of my work sometimes that’s the only connection there is to graffiti ~ the part of name ‘writing’. The letters are the backbone and the load. Perhaps its just a game I play, though from a typographic point of view it must be exciting to see this crossover without crossing over. Its like the newspaper vs the theater (readable letters vs expressive display typography), one is having a more direct conversation and communication the other is perhaps more for experience and elevation. 2. For me the question is not so much ‘what is left to do’. There are many goals to achieve and some of the goals set are not set to be achieved, but are rather starting points or vanishing points.. For me it s not so much about the goal as it is about the journey.
Over the last few years I have been researching and playing with 3D objects relating to the human size and I feel there is a lot of potential in that. I really like to experience those pieces myself. There are many challenges ahead and many things to do, no worries about that, its more the question ‘can I do what I really would like to do’..
GF:”I have seen these 3D pieces that you have been making and am really inspired that an artist can take the great design and letter work they do and take it into another medium or add another dimension to it. I think your work translates well into the 3rd dimension and I hope to see where you take this further. Ideas are the first and foremost to creativity and I admire when artists like yourself have clear thought out directions in their work, I’m not saying other artists don’t but I think a lot of graffiti artists tend to leave their graffiti separate from their artwork. They do really interesting canvases or gallery work, but when they paint a wall the creative process seems to get stalled. How do you approach different mediums when deciding what to paint or create?”
ZEDZ: The approach for painting pieces differs throughout the years. Most of the times I will work from a sketch, though I also really like to start from blank with no sketch at all, and go along with the process. Doing 3D I actually didn’t take the liberty yet, to just cut and create.. I almost always had to keep in mind that the work has to be transported, or there is a limitation in time and budget (material), so for this I have to calculate and think a bit more on forehand. Where I take a lot of freedom when painting in for example the picking of the colors, I plan the colors for a 3D piece on forehand but also have to think of the amount of wood and screws, construction and so on… The process is way longer
GF: That is an interesting dilemma I guess the farther you go with the 3D objects the more engineering gets involved. This process would seem to be a whole new level of creating art far from the origins of painting a quick graffiti piece, yet it still contains that essence. To me that is what I really like about your work that you are pushing these new directions yet still have one foot in where your work originated from. Ever since graffiti’s birth there have been artists as far back as you can think that have transitioned their work into galleries and into in some cases museums. It seems with the new influx of street artists in the last decade that there seems to be a whole new genre of artists emerging almost graffiti/street art hybrids. Do you pay much attention to any of what is going in the current scene, if so what is your take on this new breed of street artists?
ZEDZ: Yes I do look around at what’s going on and it seems more easy for me to keep track of whats going on in graffiti and the so-called ‘street art’ or the ‘street art-scene’ then whats going on in the much broader art-scene. Honestly, I really enjoy whats going on in the streets and what is connected to it beyond (the gallery, magazines, the internet, the fashion scene, etc), which doesn’t mean that I think it is all good and that its all quality output but I enjoy it all and regard it as a whole lot of pleasure. I enjoy art being a public thing. The unexpected appearance of a piece of work in an unexpected place where it might be available to the broadest possible public. I don’t like to criticize and really am in favor of experiment and progression, so in that sense I am almost always pleasantly surprised by new directions and ways of presenting work.. I can see there is a lot of inspiration in street art .. If you ask me the quality is in adding and in putting things in different perspective that makes the art really interesting. The ‘cross bread’ and the straight liner, I respect it both. It’s sometimes like the one cannot exist without the other. I don’t really like the concept of the gallery artist. I like the more romantic idea that work is there to be discovered piece by piece. Though the working or playing with media for promotional purposes or as platform for art is to me as a finding or creating a good piece on the streets. The way I like to see art is in transit or in transition…
GF: I can see that, I have a similar perspective on the new street artists I don’t live in a city so I don’t see much of it in person I only see it on the internet or in pictures. So for me my experience is skewed in a way, if I were to see more work in its natural context I think I can make a more genuine critique of the actual artists. It seems in a lot of major cities there is a huge influx of artists deciding to paint on the streets, I am curious to see how Banksy’s new film will encourage or inspire a new wave of street artists. This could be the street artists version of style wars. Being that you have been around awhile and have a deeper understanding of the scene as a whole, what advice would you have for a new artist coming into this hybrid graffiti/street art scene?
ZEDZ: To the new artist entering the hybrid scene..: I don’t think I am in a position to give advice… even though you might consider me having some expertise (which is needed to give advice to start with) I don’t think its wise to start telling anybody in this art what to do.. I think.. Besides I am not into doing street art so much as I am into “doing my own thing” or something that you might consider coming from graffiti and thus being street art.. I would like to see these kind of labels being removed and just focus on doing what you got to do ../ on what has got to be done…what we (you) feel is right… perhaps by stating this i gave some practical insight in my way of understanding that might be interpreted being advice after all.. but perhaps less from experience and more from the heart without getting too precise or too specific.. 2 About the street art movie that you are speaking about.. I don’t know if you should compare it with style wars….. Maybe that’s where the whole comparison with graffiti ends .. Perhaps it makes clear its different worlds.. Of course there is some spin-off.. Realize the time frame is different.. When graffiti started we barely had VHS (video) and graffiti developed through an era in which at the same time mass media developed into an almost personal tool.. the Graff mag came into existence and the Graff mag again embraced street art and turned lifestyle…or opposed and rejected it.. the photo of the graffiti became more important than the actual piece.. now there is internet instead of TV.. .. Lets wait and see what happens.. the future is now (non fiction) but actually it is still to come isn’t it..?
GF: I can understand that, although giving labels might help us identify certain aspects or a specific genre, it doesn’t need to define any artist or there work. The work and execution are far more important than any label or paragraph I could write. It has been great hearing your thoughts on your art and we appreciate you taking the it took to do this interview. Any last words or shout outs?
No last words. it’s not that time.. Shout outs.. To all that reach this line after reading the interview.
Zedz Website www.zedz.org/
Zedz Contact firstname.lastname@example.org