Some people dream of being celebrities with legions of fans who instantly recognize them in public. Others prefer to simply be known for the quality of their work. Zor Zor Zor falls into the latter category. Her art is instantly recognizable and her unique style attracts a large following across the globe, but even some of her biggest fans have never seen her. In fact, the first time I met her, I literally walked right past her without realizing it. This is intentional. She likes the authenticity that goes along with remaining anonymous and letting her art speak for itself.
Zor Zor Zor’s parents emigrated to Chicago from Poland and she grew up on the southwest side of the city. She started drawing in high school and enjoyed the zenlike aspects of being creative. She found that she could use her drawings to express things about herself that she may have been too shy to talk about. Much of her early work represented thoughts about boys she liked, friends, emotions, and other things that were going on in her life.
After high school, she briefly studied interior design in college, but realized that it wasn’t her calling. She couldn’t picture herself in a cubicle job and felt that the path she was on was ultimately going to restrict her ability to be creative. So at 20 years old, she decided to leave school and travel the world. Her first stop was Paris, where she slept on a friend’s floor for five weeks. With minimal expenses and plenty of time on her hands, she was free to go out and see all the different parts of the city, which was where her interest in art began to blossom.
As she explored Paris, Zor Zor Zor became fascinated by the abundance of art she saw and felt inspired to pursue a career as an artist. At the same time, she also realized how easy it is to travel without spending much money. She taught herself to create stickers by hand and then visited a variety of cities around Europe and the Americas putting up art everywhere she could.
She eventually made her way back to Chicago where she taught herself to paint and use wheat paste to put her art up on walls. With no knowledge of street art culture or connections to any other local artists at the time, she worked purely for her own enjoyment. During a chance meeting with Zore64 at a Chicago Cultural Museum, the two hit it off and began a collaborative partnership that continues to this day.
Zor Zor Zor likes to paint women and often uses herself as a model. Over the years, she has continued to refine her style by simplifying her drawings to convey her messages in an increasingly minimalist way. She’s also transitioned from doing street art to studio art. While she has her own thoughts about the messages in her paintings, she also likes to let people draw their own conclusions about what her work means to them. Hearing what others see in her art can sometimes even influence her own ideas.
One thing that hasn’t changed throughout Zor Zor Zor’s career is her preference to remain anonymous. She likes the authenticity that goes along with people admiring her work without necessarily knowing who she is or what she looks like. Her pieces are easy to spot because of her unique style (as opposed to simply being copies of whatever happens to be popular), but she continues to be surprised by the number of people who recognize her work. She frequently finds herself being tagged in social media posts from around the world featuring not only her latest work but also pieces she created years ago.
Zor Zor Zor’s career has grown organically over the last several years and she’s been happy with the way things have progressed for her so far. Her next goal is to paint more big walls and murals. She’s recently finished some in Chicago and a couple other midwestern cities that have given her the confidence to know that she can do more. Given her natural abilities, her options from there are unlimited.