Marco Zamora Fine Art Bliss

LA based fine artist, Marco Zamora takes on the urban landscape much like a documentary filmmaker who captures the complex layers that make up a scene. Marco scouts his subjects with his camera, absorbing the energy of the street transcribed by the careful flicker of his brush. Marco Zamora creates scenes that absorb the urban landscape into a reconstruction of clues that connects us to a vision that beckons close introspection.

Marco’s most recent gallery installation is currently up on view at the POVevolving gallery in Los Angeles and directly titled, “New Work.” Fortunately, I caught up with Marco to chat more about his new show, noting his approach along the way. (Above: “Building Blocks,” 18x18" Gouache on wood panel : available for Lucid Dreams exhibition opening July 8—August 9)

mM : At first glance it seems that you are a documentary painter—capturing the essence of urban life as it exists for the moment and the unique ways it presents itself over time. Are your paintings more of a time lapse of what is happening in an instant or more like a portion of a film, revealing a long segment of time? Please explain.

MZ : As a time lapse of what is happening in an instant, but in a way both. I say this because I am capturing actions and things that are only there for a short period of time, but it is continual. Everyday there is a new object left behind or someone searching for something more. I photograph certain objects over a period of time to see if they are still there or if they have changed do to their surroundings. It can be as simple as an inflated balloon signifying a celebration being there one day, then the next being deflated and left behind.

mM : Do you leave visual clues in your work for people to discover later? How would you describe your visual narrative or the underlying story line in your work.

MZ : Yes. For the newest paintings I wanted to create a place where you have to search. I want people to discover something new in the work every time they look into it. Collecting plays a large role.

To capture something that is valuable for a moment and then let go. Maybe some of these objects were never important in the first place but they served a purpose for that period of time. And by valuable I think that depends on who is viewing it. For me these images of how we live, the things we do and attain are very valuable. I collage the collected imagery from the present and the past, whether it is people, objects or scenes. The work invites people to analyze and take deeper meaning from the surroundings we occupy, rather than disregard or take for granted. Everything is valuable and serves a purpose.

mM : Do you observe with headphones in, if so what music you listening to OR are you letting the street sounds, voices, clamor of the hustle play out. How does the sound of the street interject a place into your work? Is this a major influence into the work itself?

MZ : No, I don’t use headphones. I like to be aware of my surroundings and what is going on. Yes, it does play a big role. Sound creates individual feelings of where you are and instigates memories and emotions. For me, these sounds cause my mind race.

mM : Is there a reason that many of your subjects are disguised in your work wearing sun glasses, behind large moving objects, laying down, quarter view, etc? Are you paying a homage to the people/personalities/individuals you meet within the urban landscape?‹Please explain:

MZ : Yes. I have a fascination for the unknown. I’m anonymous when I photograph and do not know the people that I capture. Part of it is out of respect for the people on the street and the other is how I like to see things. Most of the subjects in my paintings end up portraying themselves in this way.

mM : You have a new exhibit at POVevolving Gallery in Los Angeles entitled, “New Work.” How has the response been? Please describe the largest painting piece in your show and share a little bit about the process and where you derived your subjects and the color palette for this show.

MZ : The response has been great and very happy with this new body of work. The title of the the main painting is “Smile.” I wanted to work on a larger scale and create a piece you could get lost in—a view of the street with an abundance of what is taking place in the now. I know some of the imagery is heavy but it’s real.

Each object and person was placed specifically in the painting, not reflecting a direct representation of any one photo that I took. The color palette is taken from various places and memories—my childhood, watching my mom use these bright palettes to decorate and secondly, actual street scenes from my preliminary studies. They both give me a sense of nostalgia, using colors from old stores and buildings that have been painted over and over. The faded pastels and peeling paint of the buildings from the hot sun with the neon signs trying to gain our attention. In a way, I am trying to do the same.

mM : Describe a bit about the POV video installation and your approach to 3-dimensional installations. Please include the title.

MZ : My approach for installations and sculpture is very similar to my approach to painting. The difference is that I am using real objects rather than imagery to create the work. A painting can only take me so far in that sense. The installations help me see my work in a different aspect because they are a little more organic in the sense that I don’t really know the outcome. I really enjoy the process.

The gallery show features a video installation titled “Cinder Block”. I wanted people to smell, see, hear and feel my work. Maybe, to see as I see. I decided to make a wall out of 240 cinderblocks and colored lumber. The outside of the piece was raw, and similar to the black and white in my paintings. Within the piece a video plays a four-minute loop of daily life on the street. But first, you need to find a broken block to peer inside.

mM : Where was the backpack installation installed originally and what was your concept behind this piece? Where did you get all of the backpacks and bags?How many were there?

MZ : The back pack installation was originally installed at the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and my first large installation. The concept came from a series of paintings I was working on about the baggage we carry out of necessity and pack them full of nostalgia. I wanted people to feel overwhelmed. It was an overload of the unknown. There were about 400 bags and the installation was “Untitled.”

mM : Do you have mad photo logs of your journeys in an urban setting? Do you take lots of pictures or do you sketch while chilling on a park bench? Please describe your process to develop your ideas:

MZ : Yes I have tons of photos. I actually get a lot of my photos while riding. It allows me to be in the open, stop and go anytime I please. The only time I sketch is when I am going to make a sculpture or installation. Everything else is collaged prior to painting.

mM : Looking close at your paintings there are a lot of tight details. How long might painting take—days, months, years and when do you know when a painting is completed?

MZ : Each painting is different, of course the more detailed the longer it takes. Not sure, week, month? I’m not sure I could spend a year on one piece. I would go insane. The painting is usually done when I don’t have a choice.

mM : What’s the most genuine comment you have ever heard about your works?

MZ : That my work is humbling.

mM : Share a bit about your travels and what you will be up to this summer:

MZ : I try to travel as much as I can. Last summer I had a solo show in Barcelona,Spain and spent a month there. I loved it. So for this summer I will be moving there for about 4 months to create work in a new environment and of course enjoy the surroundings. But right before that I will be involved in a group show curated by you titled, “Lucid Dreams” in San Diego on July 8th.

There are a couple of small projects I will be working on with Vans and will be collaborating with Cream In Barcelona on making art for some track bike frames. Very excited.

Many kind thanks to Marco Zamora and all good fortunes for a wonderful trip. The following article was originally written for Bliss Magazine. Marco Zamora is a featured artist in “Lucid Dreams” exhibition July 8—August 9. For earlier entries please visit—A—B.

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