Hip-hop, skateboarding, and graffiti describe best Taiwan's street culture. Indeed, with the influence of extreme sports in the 1990s, the American hip-hop culture and skateboarding, young people in Taiwan began to express themselves using graffiti in the streets.
Since a very young age, ZOOK loves painting and drawing. At the age of 16, influenced by hip-hop, he comes in contact with the graffiti scene and found his first canvases in the street, developing his talent in the back alley and abandoned buildings.
His visual language is deeply influenced by its surroundings: the traditional image of Taiwan blend with the modern street culture. These two roots define his unique art style.
His iconic character, the Young Zook, whose lines are inspired from the Buddha is easily recognizable. We often see his characters with a large rounded faces and gangsters’ resemblance. However, Buddhas’ also depicts the connection between the grassroots characters of traditional society and their street culture.
In Taiwan, people say: The young man has three fires on his head. For the Young Zook, the barbed wire should be broken, and the graffiti should show rebellious spirit.
In his artwork, ZOOK! uses many digital symbols and expression techniques through the combination of solid pigments and spray paints. ZOOK! works find a great balance between modernity and tradition. Although the theme of creation and the style of painting still remain from the traditional style, the strong color contrast and digital referral make the work full of modernity.
In addition to Young Zook, another of the most common characters in his work is the monk wearing a suit. The barbaric monk is dressed in a suit representing civilization. The young artist reflects on human and nature issues and condemns the self-proclaimed civilized human beings who are doing environmental destruction.
Just like hip-hop, when you first look at his work, you will feel that his work is humorous. If you look down, carefully and zoom in to see the details inside, you will find this young man reflected behind the work: thinking about society and reality.
A collaboration between Dope! Gallery and Arcade Art Gallery
ZOOK! - SOLO SHOW
Naked Hub - Nanjing Xi Lu
Nov. 22nd to 25th
11 am - 7 PM