Inspiration

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Focal Point: From Graffiti to Screen Printing with ZEBU

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How would you sum up ZEBU?

ZEBU are an art and illustration duo from Berlin. Our work is bold, reduced and humorous.

How did you guys get started in the industry?

We have our roots in graffiti and urban art culture. Back in the day we were a bunch of teenagers who liked to paint, draw and hang out together, all full of crazy ideas. Over the years we got into screen printing and made our first steps into the design world; attending art school and doing small commissions.

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What advice would you give to people just starting out now?

  • Work hard!
  • Do what you love!
  • Two brains work better than one!
  • Eat healthily!
  • Get enough sleep!
  • Make breaks!
  • Take walks!
  • Pet dogs! (as many as you can)

You guys design work in screen printing, drawing and mural painting. What's your favourite medium?

We like to experiment with different materials and techniques to keep surprising ourselves. In recent years, screen printing small editions and zines has been a big part of our work and more recently we were inspired to work on originals using acrylic paints. Because we grew up within the graffiti-culture we still have a passion for working on walls and outdoor surfaces in public spaces. Also, working on a mural is a welcome change to daily life in the studio, illustrating.

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What’s the best brief you've ever received?

Our best brief ever was from a vegetarian burger restaurant. They asked us to paint their facade and said: “We like your work, do whatever you want!” But the best part wasn’t this artistic freedom, it was the fact that we were allowed to eat as many burgers as we wanted! Unfortunately the place had to close before we got to realise the painting. And since then we’ve been waiting for vegetarian and vegan burger restaurants to hire us!

You guys try and support bigger social issues through your work. We'd love to hear a bit more about this.

We like to support projects that we believe in. Often these projects don’t have a budget to pay you, but they give you a lot of space for your own ideas. Just recently we did a cover illustration for streem; an arts and culture magazine which is sold by homeless citizens all over Berlin to help them earn a living.

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What does your desk look like, what's on it to inspire you?

It’s pretty tidy, we try to keep it clean since there is not that much space. Often there is a teapot in the shape of a cat, a glass bottle with a monkey on, or a teacup with a dog inside on our desk! They guard over our work and keep us hydrated.

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What does Berlin mean to you and the work you produce?

Berlin is our hometown so we have a lot of friends and family here. Also this city is full of galleries, museums, agencies and studios. It’s a good place to find people to collaborate and work with. This creative exchange gives us a lot of inspiration in our daily work.

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