Opening tonight from 6:30 – 9:30 at the new FB Gallery at 368 Broadway is Zéh Palito’s solo exhibit, Love Peace Unicorns. As the title suggests, the exhibit brims with whimsical fancy. We stopped by last night as Brazilian native Zéh Palito (Danilo Ricardo Silva) was completing an indoor mural of playful, colorful geometric figures and forms. We spoke to him briefly:
When did you first start getting up in the streets? About 11 years ago. I was 14 and hanging around with my cousin who was quite a tagger. He and the movie Beat Street were my inspirations. At first, I was just into getting my name up in the style of the pixadores. It seemed like the thing to do.
Have you had any formal art education? When I was 12 years old, my mother enrolled me in a special public school, where I studied oil painting for two years. I continued to study fine arts and then graphic design as an undergraduate.
Do you feel that your formal education helped you develop as an artist – an artist whose preferred canvas is the streets? I would say, “Yes.” Certainly the people I met while I was studying art did. One of my closest friends is a former art teacher.
Why have you chosen the streets as your primary canvas? I love sharing my art with others. I feel depressed when I can’t, and I feel happy when I see people responding with smiles to my work.
Where do you most like to paint? I love painting on the countryside. People are friendlier and more appreciative.
Besides Brazil, where else have you painted? I’ve painted in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. I spent six months as a volunteer in Zambia and painted there. I’ve also had a solo exhibit in Santiago, Chile.
How do you feel about bringing your art into a gallery setting? I’d rather paint in a public space, but showing in a gallery allows me to do that.
If you could paint with anyone, with whom would you choose to collaborate? Remed…he’s one of my favorite artists.
What is your most memorable experience as a street artist? I’d say painting in an orphanage in Zambia. The experience has motivated me to become more involved with international NGO’s in the years ahead.
How do you feel about NYC? I love it. I plan to be here for at least a few weeks. I’m looking forward to finding some outdoor spaces and collaborating with some of the local artists.
Photos by Lois Stavsky