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WAM! BAM! KAPOW! ZAP! – Pyrmont Art

Zap artwork WAM! BAM! KAPOW! ZAP!   Pyrmont ArtArtist Zap1 WAM! BAM! KAPOW! ZAP!   Pyrmont Art

Zap makes you think lightening bolts, crackle ‘n’ pop sherbet, comic book superheroes with diamond winks and cheesy smiles and midday infomercials about a ZAP3000 microwave.

Zap doesn’t make me think of a 35 year old Romanian guy from the suburbs who by night, works in a supermarket as a packer and by day, a veteran street-artist.

He is commanding in stature yet attentive like a child. One eye is wolf blue with a pupil the size of a pinhead and the other hazel with its own huge dilated pupil reigning supreme.

Too coy to ask him outright at the time, his friend Jumbo later tells me, “That’s usually the first thing people ask him. Someone slung a fishing hook in his eye, it was a fishing accident in Romania when he was a kid.”

Zap was seven when he came to Australia with his mother from Romania. Arriving as an outsider, he was glad to find a gang to move with, landing himself in a world of petty crime, mostly stealing push-bikes, shoplifting and breaking into garages. But then at 12, Zap got into street art. He’s been going ever since for 23 years and has no plans to stop.

The term ‘Street Art’ is a relatively new movement that has risen in prominence over the past decade, differentiated from graffiti, vandalism, and corporate art. It is more heterogeneous than graffiti, including more mediums and styles such as stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting aka street poster art, flashmobbing and street installations.

Zap works on canvas paintings, sculpture and his street art features around Newtown, Surry Hills, Redfern and Chippendale. One of his latest projects is on a side street behind Performance Space, off George Street, Redfern. His style is unlike any other street artist in Sydney, inspired by abstract art from the 40’s, graffiti art from the 70’s and ‘80s, comic book characters, retro and futuristic styles. Looking at it, he says, “I like to create my own environment, like my own world.”

I take some photos of Zap in his dark sunglasses so that no one can recognise him. He stands in a formal stiff pose like an 1800’s explorer with his hands on his hips and one leg stepped forward. He won’t tell me his real name.

Jumbo later informs me that Zap comes from a more traditional background in graffiti where you don’t tell anyone your name whatsoever. He says, “You’re always looking over your shoulder for the cops, or you’re always worried about someone finding out where you live or getting hold of your photos. They know they are semi-criminal, cos of all the things they’ve done.”

Jumbo and Zap also collaborate often and have been working on projects since 2003. He says of their meeting, “We hit it off because we knew instinctively that we were going to do something quite similar. And when I saw his work I was like, ‘F*#?!. That’s it. I love it. This is good.’

They now have several upcoming projects including: 1 November 2009, May Lane in St Peters – will be plated with removable boards covered in street art, which will then go on a touring exhibition around Australia.

Article written by Di Cohen.

Zap street art WAM! BAM! KAPOW! ZAP!   Pyrmont ArtZap WAM! BAM! KAPOW! ZAP!   Pyrmont Art


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