NO.21 ZACH ZONO: UP OUR STREET - 8 Holland Street's neighbours, near and far

“I have paint flying in the studio. It gets on my shirt, my jeans … then on the couch. It just gets everywhere!” Producing works from his Dalston studio, Zach Zono's childhood in South Africa proves a potent influence on an artist-musician whose talents seem boundless.

Introducing a new artist to the 8 Holland Street family is always exciting – especially one who dresses up for the occasion! “Getting dressed for the studio is definitely my way of getting into a work mentality,” a t-shirt and joggers don’t quite cut it, Zach Zono explains. “In my flat I have a ‘paint drawer’: I'll grab a button-up and some chinos I wear especially. I’ve tried overalls and dungarees but the paint seeps into whatever you’re wearing underneath, so I just own it.”


Having called London his home for several years now, recently within the studio Zach has been drawn to memories of the open space and colours found on the Cape Town vlei where he grew up. “I look at a lot of images of the mountains that surround it – especially anything with the sun on the river.” However abstract Zach’s work may seem, he’s beginning to recognise the prevalence this landscape has on his work; “I’m pushing the boundaries with it, and I can feel something within each piece that takes me back to my own hometown. It’s super nostalgic.”


Zach’s ambition is to paint big and to paint bold. His smaller works pack a punch, but his wall-fillers transform a space. “The leeway the paint gives me on a bigger piece lets me get my gestures through. When I am staring at a white canvas it is so intimidating, but once I have a colour on it then I can start seeing the shapes within them.” Some pieces may have seven to ten layers of trial-and-error beneath what we see; it’s a refreshing insight into each work’s journey from those intimidating beginnings! The canvases brim with the same charm and confidence of their maker who never fails to surprise with the many talents and layers making up who he is – much like the canvases themselves. 

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