This week we catch up with London artist Kerry Zacharia to talk about her inspirations and the artworks in her current exhibition London in Different Dimensions, which launches this week at the Salvation Army HQ, a stones throw from St Paul's Cathedral.
In one sentence describe what you do.
I paint with ink on paper.
What got you into art?
I’ve been painting in a graphic style since I was at school, then I did a bit of oil painting as a hobby in my teens and then that was the end of that for some time. I later worked as a digital artist in the mid nineties but had to stop doing that to take on a full time job and didn’t have any time to focus on my art. I knew I would return to it and one day I became inspired to paint out of nowhere with red and black ink. So off I went to one of my local art shops and bought some card, black and red ink, brushes and got started. From there I decided I wanted to build a series and I have been working on series and collections ever since.
Tell us a little bit about this exhibition.
Once I went public with my art in 2013 I started to look at things differently around me and found inspiration coming from my environment. I started to look at simple views from office block windows and began my Inner City London collection with a painting called City after Dark. From there it was inspiration after inspiration, areas I love, parts of the city where I walk during my lunch break and I just kept going.
Take us through your technique from start to finish.
With my London series I’ll have an inspiring moment, I’ll take some photos or a video and start from there. I’ll sketch an outline with pencil, then I make them permanent with black ink and then freely work within those initial marks.
You use equally strong marks when defining your skies as you do with the architecture beneath, why?
Yes, there is a lot of movement and motion, I love skies and I think a lot of people do. Especially in London, the skies always have patterns and shapes formed by our clouds, that is what inspired me to do the waves, lines and capture that energy in them. That is one of the things that has become a common feature to my artwork.
Quite a lot of the time you use colour but it is quite minimal and muted, why is that?
My brighter ones with the bluest skies might be sunny days, but it’s about mood and potentially how I am feeling; I sometimes feel like our environment captures our mood quite well in London. The subdued colours and minimal colour pallet lends itself quite well with the black ink, so it’s not over powerful in colour. I don’t think I am an overly colourful person, I generally wear a lot of black and I think that comes across in my art.
If you could name an artist or two as inspiration, who would you choose?
I always say when I’m asked that question that I am not directly inspired by any particular artist, I do have my favourites, and have followed the masters like Monet, Manet, Seurat; ones I looked up to earlier on in my life. Even Salvador Dali, although I don’t have a lot of surrealism in my art that was a style that I liked. A lot of people actually associate my style with Van Gogh, but that is not intentional. My work wasn’t based on his, I developed this style on my own accord.
How long have you been working on the body of work in this exhibition?
Since October 2013 and I finished the last piece in 2017. I always had this vision of bringing it together under one roof and showing it in central London, I wasn’t able to put on the show last year so it’s a little bit later than planned. Hopefully I will evolve my next body of work in themes and pull together another solo exhibition of this size in 2019/2020.
Describe what people are going to get from this exhibition.
It’s an exhibition for anyone who simply loves London. They’ll see London explored in a different dimension that hasn’t been done before by another artist.
When I was looking to put together this exhibition I wanted to support a charity and then when I came across the Salvation Army and their great gallery space it all came together naturally in one place. Not only are they hosting my solo exhibition but I feel that they were the right charity to support. They do great work around the world and in the UK, particularly the work they do for the homeless and for modern day slavery is exceptional and those are the two categories that my fundraising is supporting. My fundraising is separate and not dependent on sales and thus donations collected will be shared equally between the two categories I’m supporting. On top of that my full-time employer will be giving a matching donation to what is raised up to £2,500.
The exhibition runs from the 20th March - 6th April.
The Private View will be held from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on Wednesday 21st March. To RSVP please email email@example.com.
Gallery 101, The Salvation Army International Headquarters,101 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4EH.
Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (closed Good Friday/Easter Monday).
Nearest Stations: Blackfriars, Mansion House and St Paul's.