An interview with Lynnie Zulu by Cedric Bardawil

Cedric Bardawil: How would you describe your work?

Lynnie Zulu: Vibrant super graphics with a psychedelic twist! I want my work to draw the observer into a mysterious and curious world.

CB: What can we expect at your upcoming exhibition Jungle Fever?

LZ: Jungle Fever has been a lot of fun to put together – the theme is riddled with exoticism, mystery and discovery. It has been pointed out that all of my illustrations for this show are of women – maybe I have subconsciously chosen them because symbolically forests are female and hold their secrets.

CB: Has living in London affected your thinking, your process?

LZ: I’ve found living in London fast and infectious and subsequently a great environment for the work I do. It has definitely kept me on my toes. It’s a huge contrast to where I grew up in the Scottish borders – being bang in the centre of where it’s all happening was always a big ambition of mine.

CB: How long does it take you to complete a piece of work?

LZ: It varies all the time depending on what i’m drawing. The amount of detail, layers and scale are all factors. Anything from an hour to a couple of days.

CB: Where do you find inspiration?

LZ: Music is always a great way of breaking the ice. It produces the best environment for me to escape into my own world. I like to work very spontaneously and this is the great way to release my inhibitions.

CB: What are you listening to at the moment?

LZ: I’ve been listening to a lot of Afrobeat, Calypso and Hi-Life – all very upbeat quirky music. At the exhibition you’ll get to experience Nick Hadfield’s DJ set, which will give you a good feel of what i’ve been listening to whilst creating this work.

CB: Can you describe your studio?

LZ: Super cluttered with the run up of this show. A2 drawings covering the walls and posca pens literally spilling out everywhere. My working space tends to be quite chaotic on the run up to a deadline. I like to make sure i’m surrounded by an abundance of different materials so i’m always stimulated. A lot of pot plants too!

CB: There is no such thing as an accidental artist, is there?

LZ: Depends on your perspective. On the one hand artists put a lot of thought into their work, sometimes a piece of work might develop vey quickly and naturally but it cant be described as accidental because there is preconceived thought and skill involved. However on the other if you look around you in nature for example, art is happening accidentally everywhere.

CB: Does art in any way encapsulate a happy moment?

LZ: Definitely. I’d say the majority of art encapsulates a positive energy. Decorative art is especially positive, as it is accessible to everyone and is part of our everyday life. We like to surround ourselves with beauty to radiate a positive identity within ourselves: something that people have done since time began. I’ve always been very interested in tribal and ethnic art which is all about beautiful aesthetics. It’s hard to know what the state of mind the artist was in when they produced a beautiful piece but the effect it has on the observer is what is important. Some artists focus on sad and tragic subject matter, whilst these can be interesting stories, people generally do not like surrounding themselves with things of a negative nature.

CB: You have worked with various fashion labels, and musicians. What is next?

LZ: I really enjoy working with a variety of different clients, I think it’s made my work more versatile in its application. I’d like to experiment by working on large scale work in a far off country: I’m always looking forward to new opportunities I haven’t imagined yet.

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