Art that presents a mirror to society, with EBZ
Art shouldn't just sit pretty. It should also engage, provoke a reaction and ask questions. EBZ uses digital tools to throw a critical eye on social behaviour, habits and trends. His work, that places the black woman front and center, seeks to mirror the times we live in.
How did you get started? Are you self-taught or did you acquire your skills through formal training?
As far as I could remember I’ve always been able to put what’s in my head down on paper and accurately replicate what I see… which is essentially art / design etc. In all levels of education I’ve followed my strengths in the creative fields.
You’re also a curator. Tell us about that side of your work.
Curating was born out of the frustration of not being able to showcase my work in galleries. This was a time when you either had to pay to exhibit or be head hunted by a gallery. After several knockbacks I decided to rent a space and hold my own exhibitions. With the help of close friends, I was able to exhibit my work and at the same time invite my favoured artists. Later, along with a friend and colleague we set up Earth tone Arts which focused on showcasing upcoming artists who experienced the same hurdles.
Tell us more about your tools of choice. Which media do you work with?
Digital art allows me to work quickly and efficiently, yet I do paint in oils and enjoy the slow process it involves.
How do you get started on a piece?
There’s never a process when I work and at times I’m all over the place. Yet it all comes together in the end. My emotions give me away so my art can be a blatant visual rant and at times an ambiguous statement.
Your work focuses a lot on women. What do you want to say about the black woman through your art?
I love black women, but I’m completely puzzled by them. I’m attempting to show the ever-changing face of the black woman. Once so strong but now a shadow of her former self. Yet I still admire her. An excerpt from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner acts as metaphor for the current plight. “ Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink; Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink”.
We love your piece “Feral”: tell us a bit more about it.
The work I named ‘Feral’ looks at how vanity is celebrated, and is used a mask to hide insecurities.
You live in London so are really spoilt when it comes to art exhibitions and venues. Any places that you would like to recommend?
Just get down to East London.