Graffiti Artist Xenz Showcases his Cloud Cuckoo Land Collection
Xenz is a graffiti artist hailing from Hull, East Yorkshire. He painted his first graffiti piece in 1987 at the age of 14, initially signing his names as Sense. This signature later morphed into Xenz. He studied textile design in Edinburgh, and following a move to Bristol, he collaborated with respected artists and painters from the burgeoning graffiti art scene. It was while here that he became renowned for his expressive landscape murals. Xenz’s works capture fragments from his imagination and combines them with elements from the natural world.
His unique ability for covering a blank canvas using a spray can and imagination defies ready description. He set up his first studio in 1995 and held his first solo show the same year. Since then he has been to Basel, New York, Miami and solo in Australia and India. His work is in such demand that it spans across private collectors and corporate collectors. Simply Woman snatched a moment with him at Blackhall Studios, Shoreditch, where he recently showcased exhibits from his Cloud Cuckoo Land collection. The venue was packed with ‘arty’ looking clientele in their early thirties upwards, and the atmosphere buzzing with chatter. Xenz’s pieces did a fine job of covering the studios plain white walls. On display were paintings barely bigger than A4 size, to landscape murals of around fifteen feet in length. Most feature tropical birds and flowers in their natural environment. Prices range from £350 to over £5,000.
Xenz, these exhibits of yours are very interesting and unusual. From where did you draw inspiration?
I recently travelled to Jamaica. There I was inspired by waterfalls and also studied the positions of the sun at different times of the day and how it affects the surrounding landscape.
Some of your pieces are monstrous in size (we are looking at a piece of about fifteen feet long). Do you plant them in advance? How long does it take to do such a piece?
If I were to work full time on it, I’d take about four or five months. Sometimes I plan pieces I advance but mostly the ideas just come to me depending on my mood.
How do you store and transport your larger pieces?
If you look closely, you’ll see the bigger pieces are segments pushed together. They need to be dismantled for transportation and storage. Pieces may be stored I a garage studio, which is paid for by me.
You’ve travelled extensively I see. Does touring become expensive or do you have sponsors to help out?
No. I avoid sponsors because I’d rather not have their names alongside my works on a solo event. It tends to detract from what I’m trying to achieve. I finance all my exhibitions, marketing and travel expenses myself. Even down to the refreshments at my exhibitions. But I’m not rich!
He insists he is not ‘rich’, though his pieces are in demand globally Great. Any immediate future plans?
Yes. I’m holding a solo show in Amsterdam after this one. After that I shall be in Greek street, Soho (London) at the start of 2012.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Yes this show is a collection of all my work this year (2011). Xenz was a pleasant, chatty fellow, and Simply Woman wishes him well with his future.
See www.xenz.org for more on this artist.