Zabou is feisty female graffiti artist hailing from France, who has been creating captivating portraits, often with satirical and witty themes around London since 2012. Her work playfully toys
with certain stereotypes on big, beautiful murals, which can be spotted around coveted spray paint hotspots across the city including; Brick Lane, Camden Lock and Dalston. Zabou relocated to
London for her studies and soon began to fall deeply in love with the rich culture and appreciation for street art the city had to offer. Zabou's work is incredibly illustrative; she mainly
creates portraits in alluring monochromatic black and white. Juxtaposing these darker tones with flashes of colour on smaller details throughout her murals, adding a contemporary edge to her
work. Her technique involves a blend of stencil and freehand, as well as incorporating drips and slashes into her murals. Her work is artistic, whimsical and vibrant. Recently, to my delight I
got to admire one of my favourite murals 'The Twins of Brick Lane' while shopping for summer essentials around Brick Lane. In this mural we see two female graffiti artists, shown wearing
protective masks with their heads bowed and hands together in prayer, portrayed as two blessed Madonna's of the graffiti world! True to Zabou's effective style the black and white portraits pop
against a multi coloured background, which is also somewhat reminiscent of religious art seen on stained glass in churches. We got the chance to catch up with Zabou in between her busy schedule
to get her opinions on the graffiti scene in London and talk more about her arresting street art.
I jumped into street art about three years ago after moving to the UK for my studies, I was very impressed by the quality and quantity of London's scene. I had been painting and drawing
since very little so I thought I would give it a try. I first used to go to legal walls to train at spray painting and learn the basics. Then I got myself into stencilling.
Before my Master's Degree at the University of Arts London I did a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts in France. Although you don't need to go to art school to be an artist, it was a real bonus: to
experience different techniques, develop creativity, learn about history of art. I feel lucky to have been able to study something I am so passionate about.
It's been a blast. Female artists are totally accepted on the scene (it would be frankly messed up to do otherwise!) and receive a lot of support and promotion from everyone. There is no need for
solidarity, and I enjoy being in the company of male and female artists regardless.
I don't know if I have a favourite, but I follow the work of many London based artists. I think the scene is vibrant because there is a variety of very active street and graffiti artists, a
variety of places to paint, a general acceptance and a growing popularity of the movement.
I use a mix of stencil and free-hand technique. With the stencil work, I create sharp black outlines that contrast with soft shades created with free-hand. I'm happy with the balance I have found
but who knows how my technique might evolve in the future.
I do like to send strong messages from time to time, especially about political and social issues. Art can be a powerful tool, especially public art. When something is not right, it's good to
speak out. It won't change the world, but it might inspire people.
A lot do actually! I love music; it gives me so much energy. Collaborations just happen when meeting other artists, let's see what the future holds!
I'll be part of the Tribe exhibition alongside five other artists, to be seen in September. We will be taking over a big space in Bermondsey and also doing live art.
2015 is a really exciting year. I'm going bigger: I have some tall buildings in Portugal and Lisbon on the agenda. A lot of trips and a few exhibitions in Paris and London.