old skool spraying


zeso is the new york city-based graffiti artist whose spray cans have been adorning the street walls for more than a decade now. originally from france, zeso’s pieces mix old school eighties tagging with cartoonish characters that jump right out at you. the vibrancy and otherworldliness of zeso’s works are what make it distinctly his when you come across them in the street. whether it be an ethereal female traipsing through a field of mushrooms or a sunglassed rasta bunny gazing out over the city skyline or just a bold tagged ‘zeso’ upon the backstreet wall… it’s all zeso and it’s all so old skool.
interview with i.t.a.

check the zeso gallery

zeso it’s fantastic to speak with you here at powder. we’ve been captured by the bold spray can strokes of your work for some time now.

Thanks for the nice introduction!

firstly, what are you working on at the moment and what are you looking at achieving as we draw towards the end of two thousand and fourteen?

I am going to Meeting of Styles in Houston, Texas, some interesting commissioned jobs and selling prints on an online gallery in France. There are also some live performance projects taking shape too.

so what took you out onto the streets to create? were you painting beforehand and did someone lead you there?

I loved graffiti since I first saw it and the best was on the streets. So that is where I went. I never painted before then.

where does your inspiration come from and from there what’s your process when creating a new piece?

Inspiration comes from so many different places... Sometimes I have an idea and I want to sketch it. Other times I stand at the wall paint spontaneously.

there seems to be a whole alternate reality in the graffiti art of zeso. just where do the characters spring forth from? where is that other world?

I love to draw with spray cans. The characters and places that appear come from my imagination when I let it flow.

which street artists have influenced you along the way? and who would you recommend we keep an eye out for on the streets?

My favorite artist of all time is Gustav Klimt. There are too many current artists to name that I think a doing good work!

when you’re out on the streets how do you choose your canvas? just what are you looking for when you choose a wall?

The environment is very important when I can choose. Otherwise, I love flat surfaces so I can do thin lines and get crazy detail which I really love! It is rare to have the choice!

what role do you think street art plays for the public? what does street art give to the community?

Street art and graffiti are different forms of art that appear in the public space. The community gets to see art without going to museum with both of them.

have you ever run into any trouble with the law whilst you’ve been out on the street creating?

I had to go to court in France a couple times but nothing major.

you also work within studios and have appeared in exhibitions. what do you prefer the studio or the streets?

I prefer to paint murals, wherever I can.

the organisation five pointz was intergral for you and other artists of the time. they’ve since shut down. just what was five pointz and what did it do for you as an artist?

5 pointz was a spot that gave a lot of great writers a place to meet, paint and develop their craft. I enjoyed painting there.

and when you aren’t out on the street creating such stylised graffiti just how does zeso unwind? how do you like to spend a lazy weekend in nyc?

There is no lazy weekend. I paint as often as I can. If I am not painting it's probably because it is impossible.

once again zeso thanks so much for taking the time to chill with powder. we look forward to turning the corner sometime soon and coming across your next piece.

Thank you for the interview.