I absolutely adore the work of artist Zoe Grace and today I’m thrilled to share some images of the work she exhibited at recent ‘Art Electric’ exhibition at London’s brilliant Lawrence Atkin Gallery.
We caught up with the wonderfully inspiring and joy-inducing creator Zoe to discuss many things; happiness, inspiration, her neon light box work and her street art, meditation, her heroes and her love and pride for her son, Marley.
Her work literally and figuratively shines a light, ignites optimism and spreads love and I couldn’t be happier to introduce you to someone whose life philosophy and work I KNOW you’ll love as much as the likes of Noel Gallagher, Sadie Frost, Pearl and Daisy Lowe, Nick Grimshaw and, erm… me!
MM: Take us back to the beginning… were you an artistic child? Did you know you’d be an artist?
ZG: I didn’t think I would be an artist when I grew up. I always wanted to be a writer, and from the minute I could write, I wrote stories and poems. I always drew, and then when I hit about 18, I discovered that painting could take me to a place that transcended all earthly limitations. I was hooked…
MM: Can you tell us a little bit about your first show at Lawrence Alkin Gallery? What was the experience like?
ZG: My first show at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery was a Winter Mix Show. It was a group show, and as I was a relatively new artist, I only had 2 pieces in it. That was a relief to me as I could enjoy the evening and not have the responsibility of making sure people turned up, or selling my work. As it turned out, my friends all turned out to support me, and I sold both my pieces.
MM: The Art Electric show was of the lights and neon side of your art. That’s an aspect of your art that’s evolved over the years, following on from your street art roots. How did the street art era of yours begin?
ZG: My street art started when my son started going to school on his own. To make sure he knew his way, I spray painted an image of Archangel Michael along the route he needed to take. It grew from there.
MM: How did the neon era begin?
ZG: John Morrissey saw my work through a mutual friend, and approached me about collaborating with my words and his lights and neon. I had always wanted to work with neon and lights, but wasn’t sure how to go about making it happen, so this was a perfect opportunity. We started designing together.
MM: The theme of your last show was Heroes, I believe. Who are your heroes professionally?
ZG: I’d say my heroes professionally are Basquiat, Mark Rothko, and Rossetti. I also love the paintings you find of Angels and Mother Mary in old European churches. I also like Jackson Pollock and Yayoi Kusama.
MM: Who are your heroes in your personal life and have any of your friends and family inspired art work?
ZG: My heroes in my personal life are people like Ghandi, Bob Marley, Martin Luther King, and Mother Amma, David Lynch, advocates of peace really.. I am inspired by so many people, that it’s impossible to name them all. I am drawn to people who are in touch with their spirit, their souls, those that reach deep within and find their truth, their creativity, depth, beauty, wisdom, love, vulnerability and generosity.
MM: You have a real love for people who promote peace. Do you see yourself as being a messenger of peace through what I find are totally peace inducing artworks?
ZG: Yes I have a Love for people who promote Peace. If my art can affect, or inspire even one person to feel a little bit better than they did before they viewed it, then I am happy with that. That’s my intention.
MM: People in your life often describe you as a truly magical being. Now, I know that’s not going to be something you describe yourself as, but have you always been aware of your ability to connect with and inspire people on a very deep level?
ZG: I look for the magic in everyone I meet, everyone is magical. With some people it is easier to see than others, with some people I am still looking for it…
MM: You are a fan of meditation. When did you begin meditating and what effect has it had on your life?
ZG: I began meditating about 10 years ago, I would go on courses, listen to meditations on you tube, or from websites. All were great and beneficial, but for me it wasn’t until I was taught Transcendental Meditation 4 years ago, and began a regular practise of 2 twenty minute sessions daily, that I really felt the benefits. I feel less stressed, calmer and more centred. I am more intuitive, and there’s a pause between making a decision. I trust myself, my instincts, to mostly make the right decisions now. My favourite benefit, is feeling that I flow with life now, and a knowing that we are all made up of energy, and are all connected.
MM: You have suffered from depression which I believe gives you x ray vision into other people’s suffering. Do you think that your own suffering facilitates true heartfelt and authentic connections with people through your work, because you understand how badly people often need to feel some sort of connection on their daily journey?
ZG: Yes, my depression has given me an insight, and compassion for those going through the same. My work is about being kind, and giving hope, it is about raising vibration, energy. Sometimes when you’re on the floor, you are not ready or able to be lifted out of the dark cloud you are under, but sometimes you are
MM: Do you have a favourite piece from the work in ‘Art Electric’?
ZG: Yes, One Love is my favourite piece, because it was written in my own handwriting for my son. I wanted him to have a piece of me and a message from me for always. I believe we are all connected by the energy of Love, and therefore there is never separation, and nothing to fear. I want him to know that I will always be connected to him, and love him.
MM: Do you have a favourite piece of street art?
ZG: I think my favourite piece of street art has got to be my Archangel Michael stencil, my first piece. I love that the Muslims, the Jews, and the Catholics all have Archangel Michael in their Religions, so it is a powerful image, that touches and unites.
MM: What motivates you?
ZG: Feeling happy. I always ask myself what would make me feel happy, and then I do it.
MM: You do a lot of work to support Centrepoint. What motivates you to help that charity in particular?
ZG: I am drawn to CentrePoint because I am particularly concerned for our children, and I feel very strongly that everyone deserves a home, a roof over their head and a bed to sleep on. What I like about CentrePoint is that they not only give the kids a room, they teach them how to look after themselves, to cook, to manage their money, to apply for jobs, help them get qualifications, get jobs and finally help them find their own homes. They put them on a path, that after a very bumpy start to life enables them to have good lives.
MM: What do you do to relax?
ZG: Walk in nature, watch films, hang out with friends, read, swim and cook.
MM: What are the best things in life?
ZG: My Son, my friends, my pets, the trees, flowers, the sea, the sun, the stars, food, laughter, our senses, colours, smells, taste, touch, and connecting.
MM: If you could go back five years and tell yourself something, what would it be?
ZG: To expand, not constrict. To love, not fear. To trust your connection with Spirit.
MM: What are you working on now?
ZG: I am working on a motorway sign, that flashes up ‘Happiness Ahead’ that is going to Art Basel Miami. Also I am getting supplies together to take to a refugee camp in Greece where I’ll be doing art with the kids.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
ZG: When things feel like they’re so terrible, that you don’t want to carry on, just hold on, because round the corner can be what you’ve been waiting for. Don’t give up, take that one extra step, for sometimes it seems darkest before the dawn. And I believe you are never given a dream without the ability to make it come true. Trust your desires for they are your souls signposts.
MM: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
ZG: Meditate, or if not, know yourself, and always be authentic.
MM: What are you most proud of?
ZG: Overcoming addiction, and learning to know and love myself.
MM: Who are you most proud of?
ZG: My son for being so awesome, so creative, so strong and inspiring. My friends, people who live in true service, recovering addicts, for anyone who is brave, and anyone who who chooses to love, and anyone who shares this.
MM: Who or what has inspired you recently?
ZG: Donna Eden for curing herself of MS, and living to tell and share how.
MM: How does it feel to be so inspiring to other people. I cannot tell you how touched I am by your work and if I thought I could make someone else feel that way with something I created, I would consider my life a life well lived!
ZG: That makes me feel great that you enjoy my work, and in fact that anyone enjoys my work!