His genre-defying style captured the imagination. His work has been exhibited everywhere from Basel to Miami, Ibiza to New Delhi and Sydney to New York. It caught the attention of former Banksy gallerist Steve Lazarides – himself an avid ornithologist – who organized a major exhibition of Xenz’s work at the Outsiders Gallery in London. And this month you can see his most recent designs in paradise at the Nelly Duff Gallery on Columbia Road in London.
As climate change has quickly moved from the fringes to the center of public discourse, there is a growing temptation to read Xenz’s work as politician. Does he see it that way? “Even though the idea of painting a wall speaks of freedom, so there is that political element, I try not to be too political,” he says. Yet on occasion he feels compelled to flex this muscle. “I did a painting called ‘Bottled At Source’ [above], because I was looking at the labels of bottled water, where they show the volcanic rock where the water comes from, and I found it a little strange that they show this perfect world but it is on a bottle in plastic. It inspired me to paint a mountain scene made from plastic bottles and then all the butterflies were made from the labels. So I learned that I had the power as an artist to create something that could convey a message, but usually it’s just trying to create a paradise.
paradise is at Nelly Duff’s from September 30 to October 5. 156 Columbia Road, London E2. nellyduff.com
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