Zema, this big town girl with country charm, makes you think she was dropped in creativity when she was a baby. She's been a strong pillar in the Montreal Street Art Community where she draws murals, graffiti, paints, and doodles on skin like a queen of art. - Patrick Coste
PC: Hi Zema, how's life in ever-vibrant Montreal?
Z: Montreal is ze best! There’s a creative vibe in this city that you don’t find anywhere else. I used to walk all around the city on the streets or underground and do graffiti, thinking of a way to make it as an artist! I have so many good memories here. Now I’m more focused on my family, work, sports, having a good time with my friends… Life is good in Montreal!
PC: Life is such eh!! You've been doing street art; huge, large-scale murals and graffiti since well, forever right? Tell me more! Where can we see some?
Z: I started painting 21 yrs ago, crazy right? At first, it was more "bombing", doing freights and then more “commissioned” walls. We can still see a few walls, mainly on the Plateau! The biggest, is the one I did for Muralfest in 2014, one street away from Imago. The last few years have been pretty smooth, I don’t have a lot of time for graffiti. I miss painting outside with my friends!
PC: Come again Zema??? 21 years you've been doing “art” at large?
Z: Yeah, I think it got more serious when I moved to Montreal in 1999. I saw Timer’s work and graffiti, and I thought "wow, that’s what I want to do!" I even started an apprenticeship back then, but I was more focused on painting, art shows, graffiti and illustration work so I quit. I also started an art collective names La Paria, that was really fun; Art by Zema.
PC: You've definitely got your tattooing technique down. Was it a challenge to apply your art to the skin?
Z: My first years of tattooing were pretty much to adapt my crazy style to tattooing! It was not like a challenge, but more to acknowledge the fact that my style was nice on canvas but really not made for tattoos. With experience you get to see your tattoos getting old on people, what didn’t work, trying new stuff... Learning to be technically solid and learning the basics of tattooing was a must, and my art evolved in that way!
PC: Thank you Zema, that's tattoo wisdom right there! You also travel a fair bit, where was your last SUPER tattoo trip?
Z: Last one was in Switzerland. I can’t tell you enough how much I love that place!!! The first time I went to the Montreux convention, I was texting my boyfriend like, YO! Pack the kids and the cats, we’re moving here!!! It’s so beautiful, people are so nice and specially Phi-Pho and Alex the organizers, they make you feel like family! Parties at Funky Claude are memorable too, haha...
PC: Where can we see you and how can we get tattooed by you this year???
Z: Our beautiful workplace Imago, 5 days a week!! For the ones who have not yet visited the studio, you have to pass by and hang out with us! I’ll also head to Paris for the Mondial in March, then Moscow for the convention in May, and Winnipeg in August! That's the plan for now, but I might add conventions or guest spots. Look at my Instagram and you'll be informed
PC: It was a pleasure to chat with you Zema. Keep rocking that Eikon swag, you wear it with pride. I love it! See you on the road!!!!