Zahars Ze is a Latvian multi-disciplinary artist working with illustration and ceramics, who stayed at TYPA art residency from January to March 2023. During his artist residence at TYPA he reconnected with the techniques of screen printing and stencils – practices that he hadn’t been actively using for years.
For his exhibition “DOG.PERSON,” he also created several ceramic pieces, which is a material he commonly works with in his current practice. Zahars is part of Krasta Keramika, which is a contemporary ceramics studio based in Riga, Latvia.
What did you take from your 3-month residency at TYPA? What did you learn, find the most fascinating etc.
Ohh. There are many things. In terms of printing, I think I learnt how to screenprint on carousel and paper. For me it felt strange to print on paper using a screenprinting table for printing on tshirts as I’ve personally used a screenprinting press for this. But with Arthur, together, mixing our different experiences of screen printing, we found a way to print in good quality and do it without struggle.
I hadn’t tried letterpress printing before. Oftentimes the machines were busy as all the artists in residency wanted to use that. After the exhibition opening I had more free time to try the letters and Merilin introduced me to the archives at TYPA. Together we printed covers for the upcoming project of “Streets of Baltics”. I really enjoyed the process and experience I got from Merilin.
I also learnt quite some things about Estonians and explored the scene in Tartu. Time was quite dark and cold, but it let me focus on printing and experimenting with other creative processes.
For your exhibition “DOG.PERSON” you worked with screen printing and ceramics and also painted some illustrations on the walls. Why did you choose these mediums and which one is your favourite?
I can’t really tell which medium is my favourite. I think all of the ones you mentioned are cool. I can’t really do creative work only in one medium. It starts to feel boring for me if I am just printing or making ceramics, so I try to change the mediums. I am quite interested in working with new materials or approaches, so there is no routine in my work. It is always nice when you can work with materials – ceramics, paper or wood. Yeah and of course painting on the wall is always cool. Large formats look good, I like it.
Why did you choose the main theme for your exhibition to be around dogs?
First I thought to kinda explore the people in Tartu and maybe to work on illustrations about people I met in Tartu, but then I realised that I see so many dogs on the streets of Tartu and I also have my own dog. So you know, spending time with my dog gave me the idea of having a dog as a main subject of my project.
What feelings or thoughts do you hope to provoke in the people who visit your exhibition? Or with your art in general?
I just hope that people understand the importance of dogs in our life. Even more that people would realise that dogs are personalities too. Dogs have always been around humans and I think people have to appreciate these folks that bring us joy, friendship and neverending company. I am sure that dog owners will find something from their life in the images and sculptures I made. I am also sure that people who are not owning a dog will also understand the friendly atmosphere that dogs are giving to people…
The residency is funded by the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture.