Each member of Nuvango’s artist family brings with them an interesting backstory about how and why they picked up a pencil or brush. In an effort to bring you an inside look into the lives of some of the world’s best contemporary artists, we’re excited to launch our new blog series Nuvango 5×5. The first 5 stands for 5 questions. The second is 5 pictures. The rest of the story, you might say, lies with those in front of the canvas. We’re excited to share the first story of what will be a running series.
Born in Moscow and raised in LA, Zoetica Ebb (pronounced “Zoh-EH-tee-kah”) is killing it. Writer, illustrator, painter and fashion designer, this multi-talented artist has a long list of accomplishments. Zoetica joined Nuvango’s ranks in 2014 and we couldn’t be happier to have the woman behind Alien Botany and Space Fashion as a part of the fam.
1) Artist, writer, photographer – was there ever another potential career for Zoetica Ebb?
None, but it took me a while to get here! I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pen and was lucky to be born into a supportive family. Of course, being born in Russia meant that in addition to feeding my growing addiction to art books and SciFi, my folks tried to involve me in things like dance, gymnastics and figure skating, but there was just no way. I have always been infernally willful, so doing something I didn’t care about long-term wasn’t going to happen. After we moved to America, there were acting classes and modeling, I worked as a special effects makeup artist, and was even part of a dance troupe, but nothing stuck.
Still, I was too curious and hungry to focus on art alone. For a long time, I tried my hand at everything I could while developing my artwork in tandem. The time I spend co-editing Coilhouse Magazine was deeply tied into the arts – I loved learning about and showcasing the luminaries who inspired me. When I wrote and photographed for Red Bull, offering exposure to my favorite artists, small businesses, musicians and fashion designers through a corporate platform -and getting paid for it- was awesome and rewarding. Raising money on Kickstarter for two personal projects which involved taking off to a remote village in the Amazon to teach an art workshop and paint a mural at a school, then spending a month in China to make a documentary series about Beijing culture was a powerful experience: I got to share these undertakings with a global community who rooted for them – an electrifying feeling.
In short, I needed to absolutely frazzle myself with projects before finally understanding what I value above all. These days, my focus is on art alone, but I sometimes wish I were a cosmonaut.
2) What’s coming up in your world? What are you really excited about doing?
I’m actually quite excited about my impending move from Ireland, where I’ve lived for the past year and a half. Make no mistake – I love it here, but have always been fascinated with travel and moving. When I was a kid, I’d close my eyes and fantasize about packing, decorating a new space, exploring a new city, meeting new people. What to keep, what to leave behind; the sloughing of time and possessions in favor of learning intrigues me to this day. I don’t know where this nomadic ethos comes from, but I’ve lived in sixteen places so far.
While moving has been at the forefront of things over the past few weeks, a lot is glowing on the horizon: more large ink drawings, endeavouring to show the pieces I’ve been working on, starting work on a book, (hopefully) 3D work, plus much more public art and fashion design. Everything I’m working on revolves around my Alien Botany mythos, which continues to evolve.
3) What does every up-and-coming artist need to know?
Discipline is everything if you want to work and survive as an artist. No one’s going to make you practice, manage your time, or promote yourself, so it’s up to you. Set alarms, make lists, do your absolute best on every project, no matter how small.
Being an artist doesn’t give you a free pass to be a jerk. Keep appointments and return calls – the world is already teeming with spoiled, entitled “eccentrics”.
It’s OK to have a day job; in fact, you’ll probably need one. You may always need one – that’s OK, too.
4) Preferred social media platform?
Moving around as much as I do, it’s important to stay connected to my friends. Currently, Instagram does the best job of helping with that, because it offers little windows into my comrades’ lives – perfect for me, because I’m so visually oriented. It’s also a great platform for documenting glimpses of my work as it progresses, and for keeping up with other artists. Twitter continues to be impressive, too. I’ve followed too many people and it’s unmanageable at the moment, but nothing compares to Twitter when it comes to taking the global temperature, so to speak.
5) Painting playlist?
I’m a movie fiend and like to watch stuff while working. Sometimes that means just having familiar films on in the background, or checking out documentaries I don’t expect to be visually arresting. Other times I actually watch movies while drawing, but only once I’m at the inking stage. Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen Bad Timing, Vamp, A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, a Luis C.K. standup, some TED talks, Out of the Furnace, Die Screaming, Marianne, Capote and The Grifters, to name a few. If I love a movie, I usually watch it again, properly. Some movies are completely off-limits while drawing, though. Mostly Herzog.
BONUS QUESTION: Nobody knows this but….
I love stickers. I have a whole arsenal from when I pillaged Tokiyu Hands (an arts-and-crafts super-mall in Tokyo), and tend to use them whenever I mail art to patrons – or mail anything, really.