Artist Profile – Justinas Zozo

Interview with 2017 Finalist, Justinas Zozo (Lithuania)



How did you get into making stencil art?

I started drawing at the age of 6. When I was twelve I started painting with oil and tempera. The only problem was – if the final result didn’t come out as imagined, I would end up hating the final piece so much that it would end up torn apart or even burning in a fire pit.

Over the years I have noticed that almost all of my creations end up destroyed – for this very reason – so I had to come up with some sort of solution which would allow me to have the desired result that I originally had in mind. That’s when stencil art came along. Initially, after cutting stencils for 2 months I found it difficult, basically because of my lack of cutting skills. However 10 years later, I have returned to making stencil art and found great satisfaction.

How would you describe your style of art?

The most important part of my style is the stencils themselves. I never use any kind of machinery in my works. Everything is done by hand and most of the time while cutting them I improvise. Lots of remarks to myself, additional lines, arrows drawn to cut or not and freehand drawing can be found on back of each layer as I make them seconds before cutting.

At the same time, I consider myself a perfectionist so I can’t lie to myself by cutting several areas as one, the details is where the precision of my style comes from. If I had to describe my style – it’s something that I am searching for to this date.

In my opinion each artist evolves throughout the creative process and that is what  I want to do too. Usually I’m trying to create impressive backgrounds but end up painting it all black, so most of my paintings have black backgrounds, based on my failure. If you would scratch surface of my paintings somewhere around background area, you would find what was meant to be presented in the first place. Maybe this is part of my style. Also if you would view all my paintings carefully, you would find that I always leave several bridges on the final layer as a mark that this piece was done by me, and that it was not printed or somehow manipulated.

What are your goals and ambitions?

I have always wanted to paint a huge mural. A legal one, without rushing or under the cover of midnight. I have done several indoors pieces but they aren’t as big as I would like them to be. My ambitions focus on creating involving art from a viewer’s perspective. I’ve always been told that your work has to reflect what you had in mind and sometimes my works do not reflect everything that was intended in the process of creation. So my main goal and ambition is to reach for better final results, which would demonstrate exactly what was intended to be visible and told. Not as much through details, but through technique, colors, background involvement.

What is the hardest part and best part about being an artist?

Sitting. It is something that all people do more or less everyday, but it is something that is difficult for me. A few years back I had a spine operation which meant that I could continue to walk. However, as a result, even though I’m cutting, I still have to watch my back and control the proportion of time spent sitting and resting. So every 45 minutes I have to pause my work and walk around. If I don’t do this, I have debilitating back pain, which makes me very tense. The best part is that I can express my inner creations with only slight deviations. This is what keeps me going.

Where do you see yourself in five year’s time?
As a full time stencil artist. I love my job, but it still takes some time, which could have been dedicated to cutting or spraying. I’d love to paint in foreign countries so maybe this would be something that I will do in the future.

What inspires you?

Mostly nature and everyday objects. I love how skies shows many color shades after a storm or how raindrops bend the sunlight spectrum, creating all sorts of different color combinations. Currently, I’m creating a floral series so everything comes from flowers. You can take flowers as simple as a poppy and place them next to let’s say peony and you’ll see many differences – size, color contrast, details of each leaf. This is where you can study them all and transfer this to stencils, creating very expressive work.

Also I like everyday objects like for instance – coffee. More coffee creates more intense brown/black color. Add milk and you have lighter brown, stir it and you’ll have differently colored pores. All this can be used. So mainly my inspiration comes from imagination. And comparing what you see, to how you can make this a feature in your work.

Which artists inspire you most and why?

3 years ago I started thinking about returning to spray paint art. I was searching for better paint manufacturers, canvases, and mostly – how to create detailed stencils. That was when I noticed Snik (UK). From that moment I couldn’t resist spending my free time studying his works. As stencil artists, we don’t really like to show what the other side of the stencil’s layer looks like. And neither does Snik, and that was the only problem at that time for me until one day I’ve noticed one photo, where everything was exposed and I’ve seen that he doesn’t cut everything exactly as printed. From that day until today I’m cutting as I’ve mentioned before, almost every time improvising. So, Snik, if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for unintentionally showing me the way.

Follow Justinas Zozo on Instagram


King Fisher by Justinas Zozo (Lithuania)
$990 buy online here
70 x 90 cm, Aerosol on canvas

King Fisher

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