Zalez /   Unknown


Street Art, Graffiti, Stencil, Painting, Drawing

April 12, 2016

Zalez is a contemporary multidisciplinary French artist who explores the identity issue of the women. His admiration of human body, especially women’s body, was derived from the idea that female body symbolizes life, and celebration of the body through art symbolizes the eternal life. Since bodies are organic and finite, and art is everlasting, his idea is to give a unique homage to the female form that gives life to mankind. Although provocative, his work is never vulgar. Using a style that belongs in the streets he gives his theme a contemporary look. Being quite opinionated, he extrapolates his idea over the range of modern advertisements, classical figurative portraits of women, and current love for logos and brands.

Zalez makes contact with the media via instagram
Zalez – Laser Dance, 2013 (Left) / Stand Up, 2016 (Right)

Zalez – the Artist

He first stepped onto his artistic path back in primary school when he was just six years old. Some of the first pieces were sketches and drawings he made for other children in exchange for marbles and candy. In high school, he had a really good professor who taught him a lot about creativity and free mind that accompanies the art. Zale enrolled in design school, a fine art school, and history art school, just so he could gain an insight into art in general. However, he didn’t stay longer than two years in either of those schools because he simply didn’t find himself within those kinds of expectations and working conditions. While studying at Toulouse in South of France, he discovered Street Art and stencil on a wall. Charmed by it, he spent an incredible amount of time studying, trying to understand the processes of stenciling in black and white. Around 2007, he started working on the women’s perception in Hollywood imagery and movies and began realizing stencil on the walls of Toulouse.

For 3 months, he would spend the nights working in the streets and then sleep during the day. At the same time, Zalez participated in the movement “Zone agreed Liberty educated to Zapping”, which was a group of ten students making happenings on the streets illegally. Actually, his artistic name originates from those days and constituted from the first letters of the name of this Group Z.A.L.E.Z. He left school a year later. After spending five months working on a canvas in his apartment, he made a decision to have his first exhibition in Clermont-Ferrand (Middle of France) in a shop. In 2009, Zalez made his personal ‘Tour de France’, traveling around in a truck, carrying his canvases, meeting people and making exhibitions. At the end of 2009, he met an Art Agent, a relationship which opened up a possibility of working and exhibiting in galleries, something Zalez has been doing ever since.

Zalez – Les sacrifiés du Lukomir, 2012

The Art of Zalez

Perfectly capable of working both indoors and outdoors, Zalez considers the most important moment in his career when he started creating multi-color stencils. It has opened his art on a completely new level. By learning this technique, he had to understand and learn about colors and their functionality, all in order to create volume and texture. One of the biggest milestones so far happened in 2010 at the Bristol Upfest Festival, when Zalez met Stik and many other great artists. As he was creating a woman disguised as a clown, a mother and her son were passing by. The boy was very interested in the clown, but his mother was rather shocked by the exposed nipple. She dragged him away, saying he shouldn’t look at the boobies. This anecdote made the artist understand the problem of the innocence of a child seeing a clown and the parent who saw nothing but sexual tension – “it’s creating a mental barrier we need to change!” Speaking of the messages Zalez is trying to send, he states there are many different ones – provocative, political, poetic. Since he doesn’t want to express himself in words but rather visually, the most important part of his work is what the viewers think, feel, remember.

Zalez – Love Propaganda, 2016, Passerel Quai de Seine, Paris

Style, Influences, and Themes

Not really influenced by any individual person or a movement, Zalez is a 30-year-old product of all the things of his time – fashion, movies, geek generation, classicism, Pop Art, Hip Hop music… His greatest inspiration is, without a doubt – the woman. He thinks he’s a part of a generation that will change the woman condition, moving the line and creating the new mind of equality. “I use the woman body and character to talk about society, politics, religious, poetry.” Still curious about everything, from History, Mechanics, Sport, to Fashion and Design, Zalez keeps an open mind for anything that’s up in the air. He has a lot of Black books (with ideas, pictures, and sentences), from where he just picks things up and elaborates them further. His work begins with a simple stencil, black and white, after which he adds more detail, such as skin, wear. As mentioned above, back in 2008, he spent many months perfecting the multi-color stencil, and was, at the time, alongside Btoy and few other artists, a true master of this technique. After learning it, he was interested in exploring what he had previously learned in other techniques, like drawing, oil painting, charcoal, etc… With one thing in common for all of them, his subject – Woman.

Zalez – Orange Juice, 2014 (Left) / Galaxy Unicorn, 2016 (Right)

The Main Theme of Zalez

Starting in Nude Art, the artist expresses a desire to understand the body in general, without any hints of social status. Things like clothes give away information about social class, education, etc… And Zalez had to start without these, following the footsteps of Ancient Greeks who were fascinated with the mystery of women body. After years of practice, he has reached a point where he understands that our society is becoming more and more puritanical against the women body and he’s feeling the need to engage and try to change these circumstances, like movements “Free the Nipple” and “Femen” do. Zalez’s diverse experience allows him to blend in together his old-school techniques that he mastered in street art, with fine oil paintings, drawings with crayons, and spray paint works, creating a unique blend. The contemporary urban design gives his pieces a fresh vibe, whereas motives associated with classical paintings bring the sophistication. Visually provoking and mentally engaging, the art of Zalez signifies the importance of the revolutionary step where women took control over their bodies and started celebrating the empowerment and freedom. Their body is glorified, but in a tasteful manner.

He is represented by Ministry of Walls, Gallery Berthéas in France and Gallery Kellermann in Dussëldorf.

Zalez lives in Paris and works in Thiers, Auvergne.

Featured image: Zalez working in his studio
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016HumanHillirad Gallery 1820 McGee, Kansas City, MO, USAGroup
2016Street Art GenerationsGalerie Bertheas 1&2 Place Maxime Gorki, 42000 St Etienne, France Group
2015In wall we trustGalerie Anne & Just Jaeckin 75006 Paris, FranceSolo
2015Sm Artparc Jourdan- centre ville, Aix en provence, FranceGroup
2015Graffiti ShowLamosa, Cuenca, SpainGroup
2015Urban UpLeipzig, DeutchlandGroup
2015In Wall we trustAirola, ItalyGroup
2015Shut Up and Get UpSun city, USAGroup
2015Venus Project - retrospectiveSpacejunk Art Centers, rue des Capucins 69001, Lyon, FranceGroup
2015Black and whiteGalerie Anne et Just Jaeckin 75006 Paris, FranceGroup
2015Stealing Graffiti is a crimeGalerie Kellermann D?sseldorf, DeutschlandGroup
2015Art For CureLuigi Filippo de Magistris 91, 93, 00172 Roma, Italy Group
2014Mairie du 812 Avenue Mermoz 69008 Lyon, FranceGroup
2014Hotel de ville VilleurbanneDc.Lazare Goujon 69100 Villeurbanne, FranceGroup
2014Vai que ColaCoronel Leôncio de Castro, 625Centro Cambará, PR – BrGroup
2014The Stencil Art PrizeAmbush Gallery 4 James St, Waterloo NSW 2017, Syndney, AusGroup
2014In wall we trustSMAV Via Ferdinando D’Aragona 38, 81028 Santa Maria a Vico, ItGroup
2014SM’Artparc Jourdan- centre ville, Aix en provence, FrGroup
2014Heavent MeetingPalais des congres, Canne, FrGroup
2014Playing for changeGalerie Kellerman, D?sseldorf, DeGroup
2014Lille Art fairLille Grand Palais, Lille, FrGroup
2014Creative workshopa partir de 19h, La Flaq, 36 rue Quincampoix Paris, Fr Group
2013Art4Cure Group showHula Hoop Club, via de Magistris 91 Roma, ItGroup
2013French KissGallerie Kellermann Cherusketn 105, -D?sseldorf, DeGroup
2013Summer street Art Show15 Aout Lexington 1718 Vine Street-Hollywood, Ca, USAGroup
2013Art O’ClockCnit La Defense, 2 place de La Defense Stand Galerie Bertheas, les Tournesols - Paris, FrGroup
2013Harry Sudman curated group ShowContemporary Gallery-Chicago, Illinois, USAGroup
2013Graffiti group ShowGalerie Bertheas, les Tournesols - St Etienne, FrGroup
2013Lille Art FairLille Grand Palais-Stand Galerie Bertheas, les Tournesols-Lille, FrGroup
2012Strasbourg ArtFair – Foire d Art contemporain de Nimes Parc des expositionsStand Galerie Les Tournesols, Bertheas- Strasbourg, FrGroup
2012ArtNim – Foire d Art contemporain de Nimes Parc des expositionsStand Galerie Les Tournesols, Bertheas – Nimes, FrGroup
2012Collective exhibition Religionis ViolentaLondon west bank – London, GbGroup
2012Collective exhibition High Class trashGraphic Gallery- London, GbGroup
2012Collective exhibition - Inside WallMusee des Beaux Arts de Saintes – Saintes, FrGroup
2012Collective exhibition - Urban in IbizaLondon westbank Gallery – London, GbGroup
2012Collective exhibition - MenasartFine Art Gallery - Beiruth, LbGroup
2012Collective exhibtion - Bucarest Art FairSmoky pixel, RoGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – Volta 8Stand Fine Art Gallery- Basel, SzGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – Liste 17Fine Art Gallery – Basel, SzGroup
2012Collective exhibtion rt Vilnius Fine Art Gallery – Vilnius, LtGroup
2012Very Bad Street72 M- 72 boulevard Malesherbes – Paris, FrGroup
2012Triennale d’Art contemporainPalais de Tokyo-Paris, FrGroup
2012Saint Ink GalleryBucharest, RouGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – PulseFine Art Gallery – New York, UsaGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – Madrid FotoFine Art Gallery – Madrid, SpGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – Art AmsterdamFine Art Gallery – Amsterdam, NlGroup
2012Collective exhibtion – Young Art TaipeiFine Art Gallery – Taiwan, ChGroup
2012Hong Kong Art FairHong Kong, ChGroup
2012Journee Nomades - Boum BangChapon Rouge-Paris 3eme, FrGroup
2012 Zalez + NumartisGalerie Artes – Paris 5, FrDuo
2012Collective Exhibition – The Affordable ArtfairFine Art Gallery – New york, UsaGroup
2012Collective Exhibition – Next Art FairChicago, UsaGroup
2012Collective exhibition - Street Art de A a ZCentre Anatole-France – Clermont-Ferrand, FrGroup
2012Affordable Art Fairpop Up Exhibition party – Jalouse Club – London, UkGroup
2012Collective exhibition - 1st CutWest Bank Gallery – London, UkGroup
2012Collective exhibition - Street Kube VOL2Kube Hotel – Paris 18, FrGroup
2012Sketch Art.exposedBlitz, 40 rue de Pierre 1er de Serbie – Paris 8, FrSolo
2012Collective exhibition - Cretin invasionUpfest Gallery, 198 North Street – Bristol, UkGroup
2012Collective exhibition - Little BeaubourgPavillon des fetes – Levallois-Perret, FrGroup
2012Collective exhibition - GazeThe collection, 264 Bompton Road – London, UkGroup
2011Collective exhibitionPropriete Caillebotte, Yerres, FrGroup
2011Collective exhibitionArt event in the Christal hote, Palerme, ItGroup
2011Collective exhibition - Street KubeKube Hotel – Paris 18, FrGroup
2011Collective exhibition - Kid BombardosGalerie 154 – Paris 11, FrGroup
2011Collective exhibition - Modern Pin-up, 4th editionFine art Gallery – Essex, UkGroup
2011Collective exhibition for MattiaJsigh Gallery – Naples, ItGroup
2011Collective exhibitionGraffik Gallery – London, UkGroup
2011Collective exhibitionArt en balade, Paris 12, FrGroup
2011Collective exhibitionFine art Gallery – Essex, UkGroup
2011Les arts en baladeClermont-Ferrand, FrGroup
2011Collective exhibition – Urban mindMischmasch Art Gallery – Hong Kong, ChGroup
2011Artwalk Art fairHong Kong, ChGroup
2011Collective exhibitionUpfest Gallery – Bristol, UkGroup
2010Collective exhibition – MickeylandGalerie Art Present – Rue Quincampoix – Paris 4, FrGroup
2010Collective exhibition – NervousnessGalerie G – Paris 19, FrGroup
2010Collective exhibition – Upfest10The Urbain paint Festival – Bristol, UkGroup
2010The Affordable Art FairHalle Freyssinet – Paris 13, FrGroup
2010Les arts en baladeClermont-Ferrand, FrGroup
2010Collective exhibitionGalerie G – 23 rue des Lilas – Paris 19, FrGroup
2010ZalezShow Room Puma France – Paris 1, FrSolo
2009Collective exhibition ? Zalez ?St-art, Foire europeenne d’art contemporain – Stand Galerie Itinerrance – Strasbourg, FrGroup
2009ZalezKube Hotel, The Ice Kube » Design Hotel – Paris 18, FrSolo
2009Collective exhibition ? Zalez ?Galerie Itinerrance – 7 bis rue Rene Goscinny – Paris 13, FrGroup
2009Cutlog Contemporary Art FairStand Bombes Production – Bourse du Commerce – Paris 1, FrGroup
2009Show room SCA QUALIS21 Avenue George V – Paris 8, FrSolo
2009Collective exhibitionGalerie Artcour – 54 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore – Paris 8, FrGroup
2009Salon Art Shopping – Stand Bombes ProductionCarrousel du Louvre – Paris 1, FrGroup
2009Solo exhibitionTour Saint-Aubin d’Angers, FrSolo
2009Foire Saint Germain – La nuit du street artPlace Saint-Sulpice – Paris 6, FrGroup
2009Les arts en baladeClermont-Ferrand, FrGroup
2009Zalez ZIdeogramm gallery – Nantes, FrSolo
2009Zalez ZRepublink – Clermont-Ferrand, FrSolo
2008Zalez ZCents metres carre – Clermont-Ferrand, FrSolo