We met up with the wonderful Zuzu Galova, read the interview here...
Tell me about your background? You grew up in the Slovak Republic?
I grew up in the small town called Komarno, it's located on the borders of Hungary. I could say that I'm half Hungarian as well, as my dad's side of the family is Hungarian.
Well, I was a very active child. I was a competitive swimmer from my 6 years so I had very little time for other activities. But even with limited time, I was always found doing something, creating, drawing. I couldn't sit still. For example, even watching TV was always for me accompanied by other activities.
Your current work is broad and experimental to say the least (I like the various pictures of people with horse heads on Meat Factory Clothing 'lets be weird together'!) Do you actively try and maintain this open/experimental side or it comes naturally to you?
With Meat Factory Clothing it came naturally :) I like to shock people or challenge them, especially in terms of nudity. We are still so afraid/ashamed of our own bodies. I consider a woman's body one of the most beautiful things in the world. It's very aesthetic and I really enjoy drawing it or taking photos. Something that's very natural is in some eyes still considered wrong. But why?
You have had quite a bit of experience in the corporate sphere – Coca-Cola in Slovakia, as an Art Director in Prague – would you say you there’s an overlap between your more playful projects (‘Bunnies/Meat etc.) and your advertising work?
For me to have these experiences is very useful, cuz I am able to execute my ideas to the final steps. I did enjoy working in advertising, you have different clients, tasks, but sometimes you don't see the final outcome. With my projects, I can decide what I want according to my tastes.
Your aesthetic certainly varies very greatly – your AP profile says you have a dark and a light side that you explore. Would you agree?
Yes, I think every person does. The dark side is that animal inside you and it's up to you if you tame it, unleash it, explore it. For me, I have those moments when I enjoy be myself, be wild and free.
The series Animal Inside of Me was humorous but slightly dark - could you comment further on the conception behind that? (On a personal note it felt like to me a commentary on feminine identity but maybe I missed the mark?)
Yes, you are right. In the series is called "Horse power" I play with the feminine identity. Each woman has got something special inside them, pride, stubbornness, power. We love to explore (our sexual senses as well), be wild, be free. The horse is a symbol of these "super-powers", showing female couples as a symbol of the careless life that is hidden in each woman, under the layer where we are everyday caring, loving, responsible creatures for others. Take it as a symbolic revolution in every woman.
For this work you did drawing classes - why was this work the one you chose to 'share' with others by opening up the role of artist to them?
I felt it would be nice to share this project. It's about observing you, how you act -react to certain situations. We should listen to ourselves more, that’s what I am learning as well and it's nice to see how different people react to the different situation.
Also sharing that drawing technique - shading with the dots, many people found relaxing. You see them at the beginning dotting as crazy and at the end of the class, they calm down and relax.
Does identity play a large role in your more personal, artistic projects?
Yes of course. Sometimes the process in not conscious, but it's all happening somewhere inside me. The new series I've been working on (similar to Animal inside me) called Fish and I is very personal. It's about the self-reflexion, where the fish represents part of me, that's inside me. My star sign is Pisces, I've got the connection to the water. I've been refusing some things about myself, now I am learning how to accept things as they are.
Art&Life described you as ‘having a passion for the natural world ‘. Animals, certainly aesthetically, seem to play an important role in your works (horses/bunnies/giraffes). Why is this? Are there other modes of nature that interest you?
I love animals, as I had a pet for years, it taught me to have that relationship with animals. We have so much to learn from nature. How Mama Earth works, we have to respect it. Since I moved to Australia, I live close to the beach, so being close to ocean gives me a lot of energy, and keep me grounded.
They also described you as being known for having ‘a diverse skill-set’. What is your favourite medium/type of project to work with? Why?
Depends on my mood. I love to draw. Thin markers and this dotting technique can be quite relaxing and it’s a huge learning process. It takes so much time, so sometimes I’m learning how to be patient - as I’m super excited to see the final result :)
Your work speaks to children and adults alike - do you think that most ‘grown-ups’ have a childlike side?
Yes, we all have our inner child, but many of us have forgotten it. There are many ways how you can find it, art is a great medium for it, also dance, yoga, ... it's kinda unleashing your animal as well, there is a thin line in between. it's about re-exploring that carefreeness. These days we have way too many problems, tasks, stress, so we are losing that connection.
Are there any other artists/creative makers who particularly inspire you?
I admire Frida for her stubbornness and beautiful work. Her life was full of pain, but she still managed to be one of the greatest female artists in the history.
What has been some of the more dramatic aesthetic changes you have gone through on your journey as an artist?
I keep changing my style as I go. I love to explore different mediums, so it's quite hard for me to stick to one style. For example, as I learned how to use graphic programs on the computer it has changed the whole perception of the art and possibilities.
Any plans for future projects/exhibitions?
Yes, I am looking forward to August, when I will have my solo exhibition with my series Animal inside me. I've got the gallery from Marrickville council and I am excited to share some of my art with the audience.
You can see all of Zuzu's works for sale here.