“I took the teaching job because it boasted a pretty light work week, and I wanted to be able to dedicate my time to improving and developing my art practice to the point where I could live off it,” Zack tells us. “I had landed on wanting to be an illustrator the year before moving to Le Mans, my final year of college, in which I had fallen in love with some of the work I’d seen in publications like the New York Times and the New Yorker.”
“I was in Doha for six months, and by the end of my contract, I was starting to get enough offers for freelance work that I felt comfortable making the jump to doing only that. I then moved to LA and have been here ever since.”
Zack describes his style as contemporary flat, with inspiration from pre-Columbian, ancient Egyptian, and Native American art. Pictorial rugs and tapestries inspire him, too, particularly ones from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“I’m also a huge fan of abstract, geometric painting: artists like Josef and Anni Albers, Etel Adnan, Andrew Masullo, and Joaquín Torres Garcia. Also, graphic designers like Tanaka Ikko and Tanadori Yoko.”
Very idiosyncratic inspirations make for a very nuanced art style, but you may be surprised to know that plenty of US beer drinkers have probably come across Zack’s art. Like, a lot.
“Someone on Instagram sent me information about Pabst Blue Ribbon’s annual art can contest, where you can submit a design for a chance to be featured on a run of something like 30 million cans,” Zack explains. “I submitted something and ended up winning. The cans got a wide release in the US in October last year, and since then it’s been pretty fun to see the cans at my corner store or while doing grocery shopping. I even saw a guy by my studio carrying a pack of them down the street a few weeks ago.”
“Two people have searched, and message requested me on Facebook to tell me they hate it, but I’m okay with that.”
Haters gonna hate. While he may have already hit the jackpot in illustration, Zack is turning to murals as a new creative outlet.
“I picked up painting recently to try my hand at doing murals. I love it – it’s made me think about my work in a whole different way, and has been a welcome relief from my long blocks of screen time.”
“My plans in 2021 are to paint more; I can’t wait to do more large canvases and murals. I had convinced myself that my lack of formal training or painting background would be immediately apparent and that what I liked about my work wouldn’t come through. And while I’m not a technically skilled painter at all, I’m proud of what I’ve managed to produce with a lot of tape, planning, and re-doing.”
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