The creator of our inspired cover image is 22-year-old self-taught Russian artist Lora Zombie, who made a name for herself on the urban and street art scene, amassing a following for her bold and subversive watercolour works.
She’s since broken into the gallery circuit, with her recent Toronto and Los Angeles shows ‘Drugs and Unicorns’ and ‘Whales. Love. Procrastination’. proving hugely successful. Next on the agenda for the young talent is New York, where she’ll be exhibiting a one-off show for one night in November – the details of which were not confirmed when we went to press.
Working in watercolours and mixed media – the artist flicks paint onto the canvas with skilled precision, allowing it to run down the page and giving her pictures a palpable sense of freedom and catharsis. She’ll then pencil or colour in intricate details, using the paint as a base from which to work. Her self-proclaimed ‘grunge art’ is at once magical, nostalgic, psychedelic and often tinged with satire, sadness or irony – playing on notions of faded childhood ideals, American pop culture and human behaviour.
In her ‘Depressed Superheros’ series (featured on P104) Batman looks mournful sitting beside his cape, which is drying on a washing line; while in another picture Robin despairs into his arms on a swing, and Flash mourns his bleeding, blistered feet beside his bright yellow boots. Faded or degraded depictions of the iconic and the familiar are a defining feature of her work, and she says that drawing on “the world’s pop culture is an easy way for me to express my ideas”.
Animals are another source of constant inspiration for Lora, who features everything from killer whales to monkeys, tigers, birds and pandas in her pictures, often with an impressively lifelike intricacy that juxtaposes brilliantly with the more surreal elements of her work.
Children are also a recurring theme, and often star alongside the animals in her pictures. When asked about her preoccupation with small people, Lora just says this: “I like children and old people most, in between there are lots of jerks!”
And where did the name come from? From her other main influence: music. “The Gorillaz’ artist studio was called ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’, and I thought if ever I were to work there I should have a good artist name to fit in,” she says. But if she keeps on going the way she is, the chances are it will be Lora that has her own artists’ studio.
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