Mr Cenz has been scribbling on surfaces since 1984 when he first discovered hip-hop culture and graffiti art. He soon became obsessed with this new and exciting art form and after a few brushes with the law he decided to find ways of developing his skills legally. Since his first commissioned mural at 11yrs old he has continued progressing and experimenting with his art through college and University. This has led to a career as a professional graffiti artist with several solo shows and high profile commissions internationally.
His distinctive work can now be seen all over the streets and in the galleries of the world. His new work focuses on female faces, which he distorts in his trademark style. He works from portrait photographs to create unique interpretations of strong and spiritual women, which are abstracted in a spontaneous and freestyle way to create interesting and mysterious compositions.
I don’t have strong political messages in my work. I like to create aesthetically pleasing images which are open to individual interpretation. They are more than just portraits, you can go deeper into a whole landscape of feelings and emotions.
The main theme is to portray strong and spiritual woman in a surreal and futuristic world which the viewer can get lost in. Im an abstract painter at heart so creating poetry with lines, shapes and forms is my passion.
These futuristic and cosmic- fueled creations feature layers of intricate and flowing letterforms, shapes and line work all carefully crafted in an aesthetically pleasing way. They display an ethereal and translucent quality, which can take the viewer to another place and evoke a deep emotional response. He likes to keep his work very open to individual interpretation and it has been described as “a landscape of feelings” and “surrealist graffiti art for the soul”
He works hard to make sure each piece he creates is very individual and distinctive in its quality and has spent years mastering the art of the spray can. His style is full of funk and movement and fuses different skills together such as photorealism, illustration and graffiti letterforms. His influences range from the old school graffiti artists that inspired him as a kid such as Dondi and Mode 2 to abstract expressionist painters like Paul Klee and Joan Miro. This melting pot of influences and skills acquired over the years makes his work truly original and stand out from the rest.
My colour palette links directly back to my roots as a graffiti artist. I love mixing strong contrasting colours which shouldn’t really work together. Back in the days when you wanted to paint a piece you didn’t have much choice so you had to learn to make strange combinations work.
This is still a fascinating thing for me and to make lots of different colours work in harmony and balance is one of the hardest things for an artist to get right. If this is done incorrectly it can look awful, but the right way with experience and consideration it can look amazing.
I work in a traditional graffiti way, which is ‘freestyle’ and spontaneous. This is important to me, as it’s how you capture the funk, fun and movement in an honest way. The first stage and inspiration is sourcing the reference image. I spend hours looking at photographs to find the right one which speaks to me. Once I have that the rest of the process is very organic and instinctive.
I start by deconstructing all the shapes and forms in the face and painting layers and texture to create my own unique interpretation. The result is a mysterious and psychedelic drug fuelled version which has a life and presence all of its own. Each painting is a new adventure where I get lost in a surreal and rhythmic world of endless possibilities. This free process is what keeps me excited about painting.
My style has been developed through years of experimenting with different techniques and mediums. From the moment I started messing around with spray paint back in the mid 80s' I was always trying to do something different and looking at the more forward thinking graffiti artists. I was fascinated by Spraypaint techniques and I spent hours mastering things like the classic graffiti light shine.
There is no shortcut to getting a style, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication and has to come organically and with originality. Being Original is very hard theses days as the graffiti/street art is a very oversaturated scene.
I would describe my style as cosmic, drug-fuelled, futuristic space funk from the soul. I now use all the techniques that I have learned over the years in one big melting pot. Those early days painting pieces every week have helped me to have many skills at my disposal and this combination of them in my work is what makes it so unique and difficult to copy.
The other element of the culture which I got obsessed with from an early age was DJ-ing. I was collecting records from 9 years old and still do today. I play out still and love the art of mixing. Music is very important to me and reflective in my work.
The work ethic is the most important thing, there is no shortcut to gaining recognition and respect. Spend time developing your style and identity as an artist and then try to keep your integrity and not be won over by the easy route of money and commercial success. Be patient and paint what you want with passion and good things will come.