I visited Russian muralist and painter Lora Zombie's show at Sketchpad Gallery in SF last week, and got a chance to briefly ask her some questions before the long line of excited fans came in. The fans crowded around her, hoping to get a chance to witness her bubbly and electric personality. With bright blue hair and a fierce curiosity about the world, it's not hard to see why she's developed such a dedicated fanbase, drawing huge crowds at every show on her short US tour. During our short conversation, she never stopped moving, she practically pranced around the room as I asked her about her art, her influences, and what's next for her.
Eben Benson: So your Lora Zombie persona is distinct and unique, have you always made work as Lora Zombie or did you make work before this moniker?
Lora Zombie: I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl, but I decided to become more of an “artist” when I was 15, and that’s when I became Lora Zombie. Basically the entire time I’ve been an artist.
Was that around the time animals became present in your work? They're incredibly present in your work (which I totally love). Why do you think you include them so heavily?
It’s more of a personal taste thing, I was kind of a weird child and preferred animals to humans, now I’m fine and can appreciate animals and humans (laughs).
I totally get that, I grew up on a farm and was the same way with cows
I love cows too!
What artists did you have exposure to when you were young? We just did an article on young Russian painters and heard hugely varied stories on their influences and what they liked when they were younger.
When I was a little kid, like a young, young kid, I was really really inspired by Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry. When I turned 14 or 15, I found out about the Gorillaz and Jamie Hewlett and that’s what inspired me to really become an artist. I saw that it was possible to draw something so insane like that, so I started to emulate his style, and through that I found my own style, but I’m still so inspired by him.
That’s so funny, he actually did our July 2017 cover which we just sent to newsstands recently. Did he inspire you to want to eventually make a move towards animation?
Absolutely, I’m hoping to get more into animation with my next projects and give my work more motion than I can do with painting.
So you’re doing this tour, and not a lot of artists do nationwide tours with their work. Is this your first time doing a multi city tour?
This is my first tour, but we’re hoping once this tour is done we can bring the work to more cities.
What stop is this on your tour? How many stops have you done besides San Francisco?
Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and then LA. After that I’m doing some murals in Toronto, Montreal, London, Ireland, Norway, and so on and so on. It’s kind of crazy.
How’s the reception on your tour been so far? It’s packed out here now, has it been similar in the cities before here?
The shows have been really crowded, but everyone has been so friendly and lovely! There have been lots of kids, which is my favorite part because they’re the future and they’re the main kind of audience that I want to inspire. It was amazing, it was almost too much (laughs).
What is next for you after this tour? Are you going to be working on new work immediately?
My hope is to work on a full animated film. I have no details on it yet, but it’s where I want to go and It seems like a natural progression. I’ve made some tests so far, and people seem happy about them on social media so I'm looking forward to doing more!
Check out Lora's prints for sale at eyesonwalls