Interview with ZenkOne




ZenkOne (Robin Nas) is born in Tilburg, the Netherlands in 1981. On the age of 16 he learned to know the world of Graffiti. Without knowing that this was the beginning of his creative career. In 2005 he started his own design studio in Breda. His work consists of illustrations, paintings, murals and interior design. This diversity has brought him to many different clients all over the world. His illustrations are recognizable by the smooth and flowing 'realistic' line drawings with a little graphic touch. His work is very accurate, subtle, accessible…. and unique. He loves to experiment and use different kinds of techniques and materials in the development of his illustrations. He is also well known for his realistic portraits made with a spraycan, the tool where it all started with 19 years ago. 





Hi ZenkOne, today MoW selected three of your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music? And the reason why you chose these musicians for your artworks?

Well, first of all I'm a real music lover. I visit many gigs and Festivals throughout the year. The first thing in the morning I do is start Spotify… then coffee :)

Music is a great inspiration to create an artwork, and it's great to inspire others with that artwork.

When I'm asked by a client to create an artwork for them that has anything to do with music I almost never doubt. So when a friend of my send me an email a few months back, that he was working on this huge project for one of the biggest music venues in the Netherlands, to create an artwork on a mural of 140 meters wide and 8 meters high I immediately said Yes!  Six other national and international artists were involved so it was a nice collaboration. 

Four of us were asked to paint a few portraits on the wall and we chose the artists out of a list that was given by the venue ('Klokgebouw' Eindhoven). When I saw Lemmy on the list I immediately chose him, this guy has such a characteristic face and image. What is really great to work with as an artist. Although I'm not really a Motorhead fan it was an honor to give him this big tribute.

'Kovacs' is a big upcoming musician from Eindhoven itself, who also has a very characteristic appearance with her huge fur hat.

And I thought it was nice to paint a male and a female portrait because of the large difference in structure of the skin. That's why I chose these two.

The other Mural was painted a few years back for the 'Rotterdam Beats Festival', initiated by Opperclaes (Platform for young contemporary art). For this artwork I was inspired by the strength of HipHop, and how powerful the sound of HipHop can be. 

Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today? 

I believe my most favorite one is 'Lemmy'. I think it's just the best piece of these three. I'm really happy with how the portrait fits in the background and how the light in his face connects with it. When I found this picture of Lemmy it was just perfect for what I wanted to create.

Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art? 

Music gives me a certain peace and it makes me enjoy what I'm doing. 

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?

No, I don't really have any plans on that. I just finished a lot of new artworks for my 'By the Power of Nature' exhibition, and it's time to head back to the studio and work on some commercial jobs again. 

We'll see what happens in the future and maybe this wall in Eindhoven will inspire other venues, company's, Festivals or even Brands to do something with music and art.

Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?

These Murals are all made with spraypaint. I always work from dark to light, so I start with a black sketch, then come like 50 different colors (when it's full color) and then white is most of the time the finishing touch to create the brightest lights. The time spend on a portrait really depends on how big the Mural/surface is and how complex the picture is. And if it's full color or just black, white and grey tones. 

On 'Lemmy' I worked almost 7 days, and on 'Kovacs' I spend three days. So that's a big difference. 

Do you listen to music when your working ? If so, what is the kind of music you would listen to ?

Yes, I never work without music!  I listen to a lot of different music, my playlist on Spotify hits all directions, haha! From the Arctic Monkeys to Nas, from Royal Blood to The Handsome Family (not to be confused with The Hansons :) and from Michael Jackson to The War on Drugs.




What is the song you liked the most lately? 

I think that will be 'Far From Any Road' by The Handsome Family. This was the title song for the first season of the hit serie 'True Detective'.



What album ? 

Best album…can't really say but the album I've listened to the most during the past year was 'Entity' by Oscar and the Wolf'.

What was the last gig you went to ?

Last gig was Nathaniel Rateliff and my last Festival was 'Best Kept Secret', now preparing for 'Lowlands Festival' :) 

Are you a musician yourself? If not, how would you see yourself as a musician?

Not really no… If I was I believe I would play the guitar...