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Flashy colours, shapes and funny drawings are the trademark of Zebu, an artistic duo based in Berlin. Their work mixes sculpture, murals and printed graphics that catch the eye of the observer and create a world of their own. Inspired by nature, people and randomness, Zebu brings to life the essence of reality, getting rid of the unnecessary.

First of all, tell us a little bit more about your story. When did you decide to become an illustrator duo?
We met around 2007 in Berlin. Back then, we were still active in the urban art scene, mainly painting murals and screen-printing posters. Over the years we got into other creative fields and started to really collaborate with each other. That's when Zebu was born.
Straight lines and multiple colours and shapes seem to be your signature. In every composition, the viewer can recognise a unique personal touch. How would you describe your style?
The way we paint is a result of the way we see the things around us. When we look at an object, shape or figure we feel the need to reduce its form and make it more abstract. We like to erase all the unimportant information and focus on the essence. Through this creative process our work becomes bold and dynamic.
What and who inspire you?
We love to take walks around the city or in the nature when we get stuck in the creative process. Just walking around, seeing random things, colours and shapes, listening to random conversations of strangers can sometimes give you the idea you have been waiting for hours at the studio.
Your agenda is filled with exhibitions in 2017 in different parts of the world, like the United States and Chile. How do you think art and illustration have the capability to break frontiers?
The advantage of working with images is that you can communicate in a visual way; you don’t need words. It’s a universal language that can talk to everybody in the world. It’s a great way to break frontiers!

Your U-Bahn T-Shirt, along with other illustrations and artworks featured in your website, seem to revolve around fun and mockery. How do you perceive fun while creating?
It probably sounds super cheesy and it’s one of these answers that you read in nearly every interview, but the best way to keep the fun in your work is to have fun while doing it. If you love what you do you will see it in the results. For us it’s important to keep that in mind before we agree to collaborate on projects or jobs.
You’ve recently collaborated with the brand Zuczug to create a collection of t-shirts, underwear, socks and other clothes with your designs. How would you describe the experience of working for the fashion industry?
It was a great experience to work with Zuczug. They gave us lots of creative freedom and were open to all of our ideas – even the craziest ones. Working in Shanghai and Beijing with their fashion design team was really inspiring. Thinking about the right fabrics, the shapes of the clothes, the colours and the illustrations was almost like working on a sculpture. It’s also great to see the work come to life when people are actually wearing it.
Zines have been on edge for the past years, being a great way to promote collective or individual art away from the mainstream publishing houses. The culture of zines promotes a self-expression that can be reached while escaping editorial lines and censorship. Your studio has created two that reflect your spirit. What do you think they can bring to a broader collective of artists, illustrators, photographers and so on?
Like you mentioned, zines are a great way to publish your own projects. It doesn’t matter if an art director, publishing house or the mainstream market is interested in it. You can just do it and hand the results to your friends, like-minded artists or spread them in fairs and shops. We think zines are a great way for creative people to bring their work to live. Plus it’s just awesome to print your own work. Looking at it just on the screen is boring, isn’t it?

Irene Ramón

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