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Whatever Man

Story | Featured Artists

Michael ZEKE Zavacky

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Michael ZEKE Zavacky is an award-winning artist and illustrator based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and one of four artists featured on our special-edition Ottawa International Animation Festival cans. Michael’s work includes a wide range of styles and art mediums, from poster design to pop art paintings, silk screen prints and pen and ink drawings. He has twice been chosen to design stamps for Canada Post and also was asked to design and illustrate the cover for Applied Arts magazine in 2016.

Michael is part of the creative team at the McMillan agency in Ottawa, and is always looking for opportunities to do something new that gets noticed. Like Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Instagram: @michaelzavacky
Twitter: @michaelzavackyWhat stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?

Hard to say. I just feel lucky enough to have made a living working with creative people who inspire me. But I’ve been fortunate to have designed a few stamps for Canada Post and also worked on a rewarding project that brought long-overdue recognition to Canadian war hero Campbell Clouston. Anything that allows me to do something creative and connect with people is always a highlight for me. But yeah, I have a hard time remembering anything I’ve done, to be honest!

How’d you get started as an artist/musician?

I went to art school in Montreal and was lucky enough to get a job in a commercial art studio with a bunch of old Mad-Men ad-guy pros. That taught me a lot about art and design and kickstarted my career.

What are you currently working on?

I always have a variety of projects on the go at the same time. I’m working on a few posters now that I plan to silk-screen print. Also, teaching myself block printing, something I’ve admired for so long now and it’s time to get down and do some art with that medium. It’s always so good to get off the computer and use my hands and traditional techniques.Who or what influences your art?

Oh wow, so many. From Mad Magazine as a kid, to Carmine Infantino of 1960’s Batman comic art fame, to Bob Dylan, Vincent Van Gogh, Chester Brown, Milton Glaser, Lawren Harris, Robert Crumb, Emily Carr, Andy Warhol and pretty much anyone who has the drive to sit down and discipline themselves to express themselves through an art medium. But everyday stuff I see out on the street always inspires me to do something new, try making something that has a chance of being worthy.What is your creative process like?

I usually look at a ton of stuff, in art galleries and online and spend weeks doodling in these little notebooks I carry around until something comes to the fore worth exploring more. Then I work it out with pen and paper until I have a good idea what the final artwork will look like. Most of the time the final piece looks nothing like I had envisioned. That’s the fun and frustration of it all, I guess!

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