The Nancy Victor Gallery played host to the Pop-Up show from Zeus, master of 3D sculpture (and sometime fish tank designer). Pop-Up is a show that consists of six minimalist ‘pop-up’ pieces, similar to children’s pop-up stories – but for adults (or very mature preschoolers with a keen eye).
The city scapes are the first pieces to be draw you in, each city scape is complete with trees, street lights, and vehicles, beautiful, precise and delicate work. As I peered into the street view like an oversized voyeuristic giant I almost expected a Borrower type person to shout up at me from one of the windows of the skyscraper and tell me to get lost.
The cut-out works really impressed me. In one frame lay the pop-up sculpture and in the adjacent frame lay, what looked like, the discarded paper carcass of the pop-up ( a bit like peeling an apple or an orange without it breaking)… a work of art in itself.
Pop-Up is a clean, linear, minimalistic show, an architects wet dream, a beautiful series of works.
I caught up with Zeus & asked him what was on my mind & funnily enough he told me…
E/C: Your history in graffiti reads like a graffiti artists fairy tale; introduced to spray paint by Doze, hooked up with hip-hop and house music industry legends such as Paul Oakenfold and Dougie E. Fresh, the first graffiti artist to exhibit in the V&A, single handedly teaching Prince Charles some spray can control… I could go on but the list is endless. Right place, right time or was most of it constructed by you and all part of your masterplan?
Zeus: If fairy tales start in Wandsworth, then yes. I was lucky to go to a school that was mixed raced and mixed sex so I was introduced to all sorts of music ( reggae, hip hop etc ) by hanging out with my mates. I became good friends with a guy called Jeff Tater aka Bionic from London Posse and he used to get Break Dancing videos from his cousin in the USA and we used to double video them and swap footage. It was mainly Robot at first then the Rock Steady Crew came over from America for a Trade Fair selling music systems and I went down there and was blown away. I am afraid that this is the only time I have ever stalked anyone (that I will admit to). Being someone who loved to draw I was really interested in the decor of the space and met Doze and kind of pestered him to show me how to paint, from there I just kept painting around the streets where I lived (mainly Wandsworth Roundabout) and Ladbroke Grove. The big shift came when ‘Wildstyle’ the movie came out and I saw the character Zoro and what he was doing… and as my middle name was Zeus I just went mad with putting up Zeds everywhere!
E/C: What took you off the streets and into 3D sculpture, was it a gradual evolution or did you just want to collect your £200 instead of being told to go straight to jail for graffiti?
Zeus: Ha ha, yes very funny play on words, as you know I did a ‘Streetopoly’ version of the family game by changing the names of property to street artists. The 3D graffiti stuff was there I guess from the late 80’s as I started wanting to make things that could go anywhere and not just on walls. I became a father at the ripe old age of 17 and then became separated from my daughter and my girlfriend and it affected me big time. I decided to take a trip away to Australia (like most Pommes do) and it really open my eyes to a lot of different things. They say you sometimes have to go away to come back with a fresh look and that was exactly what happened… I guess swimming with sharks in Australia inspired me to make the fish tank which was in my head since 1987
E/C:The fish tank is a stroke of genius and hugely coveted but what would be your ultimate sculpture if money were no object?
Zeus: The fish tank was never meant to be the size it is, I wanted to make it 12ft x 9ft or even bigger. I am trying to make one to fit a midget inside, people are always saying to me “I bet it is hard to clean?”, so I want to make one that has a personal midget cleaner who will come clean the tank once a month. I have been trying to find out heights of midgets and if there are any diving midgets that could help but I just keep getting midget porn come up… looks like this one will take a bit of time to sort out but I will do it. I also want to buy a train and cut it up into a word using the whole train.
E/C: Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life are showing you?
Zeus: I never know what’s round the corner but that’s what is exciting for me, I am only tied to the fact that bigger projects cost money, everything I do I try to make myself, I don’t have a factory of workers or a trust fund, I use every penny I can for art, it’s my crack! I’m glad I choose art and not crack but it still takes over your life… it’s not for the faint arted.
E/C: Is there a question you ask yourself?
Zeus: What would I like to be remembered for: as a forward thinker, a visionary in both art and life and as the greatest living artist to ever live in Wandsworth.
Many thanks to Zeus.