We continue exploring the world of art through our Footpatrol Discussions series. This time, we head over to East London to visit South African born, London based painter Zach Zono. Bringing a vibrant approach to his canvas’, Zach often looks towards memories of his upbringing in Cape Town and the colours of the city with a mix of contrasting colour palettes.
Footpatrol: Hey Zach, It’s great to finally meet! Firstly, how’s things? We see you’re now in a new studio space, feeling like home already?
Zach Zono: Everything is all good this side! Feels good to be in a new space, the light is great and I love the window shapes. It took about a month to settle in and make a mess, so it’s feeling like home now.
FP: For our audience who may not be aware of you and your art, could give us a quick background on you and how you’ve found yourself where you are today…
ZZ: Certainly! My name is Zach Zono, and I am an artist currently based in London. I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, which has had a significant influence on my artistic journey. My childhood memories of the open spaces and vibrant colours of Cape Town’s landscapes have greatly shaped my artistic style.
FP: When looking at your art, the colours can’t help but make us think back to your upbringing in Cape Town, is this a happy coincidence or was that something intentional from the get go?
ZZ: The vibrant colours, vast open spaces, and the play of light and shadow in the Cape Town landscape have left a lasting impression on me. When I create my works, I often draw inspiration from personal memories and the exaggeration of retelling past memories. Lots of the time I think of the mountains surrounding Cape Town and the sunlight reflecting on the river. While my work may appear abstract at times, there is a subconscious influence from my hometown that shines through. It evokes a sense of nostalgia
FP: Your work has been shown in some great locations! Recently adding Drake’s store on Saville Row to that list. What’s it like holding an exhibition outside of the normal vast spaces galleries have to offer? We can imagine it offers a lot more of a homely feel, especially in Drakes.
ZZ: Holding an exhibition in a non-traditional space has been an amazing experience! It was such a refreshing change of pace, also seeing how people responded to the artwork in store was really interesting for me.
FP: So, Footpatrol… We couldn’t help but check out what’s on your feet today and were delightfully intrigued by the Nike Cortez. What drew your eye to those?
ZZ: The Nike Cortez are a classic for me. I used to have a pair that I painted in but I lost the left shoe and was never able to replace them until now. It’s such an everyday shoe, I was so bummed when I couldn’t find them anywhere. I’m happy to see they’ve come out with new ones.
FP: We’ve noticed on your Instagram you’re a rather well dressed gent whilst working in the studio, do the heavily paint covered overalls not do it for you?
ZZ: Haha! While heavily paint-covered overalls used to be the practical choice for me, I found that the paint makes its way through whatever you’re wearing underneath. So, I’ve embraced the idea of owning the occasional paint mishap and making it a part of my wardrobe.
FP: Back to your work, We’ve noticed there seems to be a tradition whereby the pieces are either large and almost room filling or more intimate smaller pieces. Is this something you intentionally do or are we just looking into things too much? Haha.
ZZ: The juxtaposition between large pieces and more intimate works is very intentional in my artistic practice. Each size offers a different experience and interaction for both myself, as the artist, and for the viewer.
FP: Couple of quick fire questions… Your favourite colour palette to work with?
ZZ: I have been really into hues of red recently
FP: Your favourite medium? We’re guessing paint and canvas but we could be surprised…
ZZ: Yes! Oil paint and canvas are indeed my favourite mediums to work with.
FP: I think that’s it from us… Massive thank you for allowing us to come down and join you at your studio and check out your work. We normally leave this last question open to you, a chance to share some words of wisdom or share anything upcoming, the not so shameful plug shall we say so, take it away!
ZZ: Thanks for coming past, Was great! Keep creating x