CHICAGO ARTIST CZR PRZ PAINTS A WILD PICTURE FOR THREADLESS
The Threadless office is slowly but surely becoming an art piece in and of itself. Chicago’s own street artist, CZR PRZ, helped the cause by donning our garage door with a queen of the jungle, complete with a serpent sash and ferocious headwear. We followed up with him afterwards to have some of our questions answered about his artistic adventures. Read on to learn about CZR PRZ and his wide range of skills and projects and to check out the majestic beauty of his work on our building.
The wild thing CZR PRZ painted for Threadless!
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Chicago, between Logan Square and Stone Park, in a suburb on the west side outskirts.
How did you get into street art?
I’ve been doing art since as far back as I can remember, but the street art stemmed from my rebellious youth and love for graffiti. I started getting into graffiti and b-boying at around 12 and haven’t stopped since. I blame the music.
CZR PRZ painting at a Lollapalooza showcase. (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)
What do you bring to street art that’s unique from other artists?
I don’t think that I do anything that’s necessarily unique; I tend to follow a lot of trends happening in Europe, South America, and the West Coast. I like to think that my style sets itself apart with an illustrative approach and somewhat technical hand-rendering with spray paint.
What are the main materials you use to create your art?
It really depends on what the project calls for. When it comes to street art and mural work, I tend to use mostly spray paint and interior/exterior wall paint, but I also have a strong traditional illustration/production/design background from years of working in the professional field. I’ve done everything from high end screen printing and vinyl-signage to digital illustrations for corporate companies. I had to stop because it was a lot of soulless, thankless work… although decently paid. I’m glad I did it though, it helped expand my resources for developing my work.
Virgin Mary meets the Hindu Shiva from a “Pimp My Mary” contest in Rome. Xzibit was not in attendance. (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)
How did you hear about Threadless?
From not living under a rock. EVERYBODY and their unborn children have heard of you guys.
What inspired the work that you did for Threadless?
I’ve been doing a lot of work that deals with nature, mysticism, and theology. I grew up with a Latin-Christian/Santería background so much of that stuck with me.
Blackbirds singing against a CZR PRZ wall. (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)
Why do you think your art fits in so well with Threadless?
I’ve always felt that Threadless has been at the forefront of the current pop art and design movement in apparel form. I like to think that I’m a contributor to the movement and feel only natural that my artistic expression translates well with the Threadless aesthetic.
CZR PRZ putting the finishing touches on his mural at Threadless HQ.
You’ve been involved with several significant organizations (The Field Museum, Chicago Reader, Nike). Which project has been the most rewarding as an artist?
I really can’t say; everything brings its own reward and issues. Some of my favorite work to date though has been with Red Bull and Zipcar, the work I’ve been doing in other countries, painting walls during Art Basel, and of course, Threadless.
Natural beauty (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)
What other forms of art do you practice other than painting?
Like I said before, I’ve worked in various fields of art and design. My skill sets involve silk screen printing, digital illustration, signage, vinyl installation, studio art, and fabrication art (prop and installation art).
I read on your website that you fabricate props and sets. How is creating art on an object such as a shoe or a chair different from a conventional canvas?
Well its a whole different approach, being that they have their own set of laws and such. The furniture development is still a bit new to me, but I’ve managed to team up with some close friends who develop high end carpentry and have a great deal of support in difficult situations.
We thought we smelled bacon… (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a street artist
The fact that my work doesn’t have a “pop” culture feel to it kind of sets it back, at least here in the states. I prefer developing a high quality piece to making work that’s catchy and witty, although there are some artists that are able to do “pop” work with a highly developed aesthetic that sets them apart from everyone else, such as Ben Frost from Australia or Denial from Canada. But, for the most part, I think many artists that go for this approach lack real technique or style. (Bring on the hate mail.)
What have you been working on lately? Any big projects?
Right now I’m in Carrara, Italy preparing for my solo show with EXP Gallery called Future/Primitive, as well as getting ready to paint a huge wall in the middle of town. I just got back from Rome where I was involved with CRACK Fest (great name, right?) where I slept in an old Spanish fortress called Forte Prenestino. Next up is Windsor, Canada for Free 4 All Wall mural fest, then a live art set with Malik Yusef, Kanye West’s ghostwriter, for Simple Good called City Of Big Dreams at Chop Shop. After that, maybe sleep.
A fiery red rendition CZR PRZ did for Chicago’s Mexican food hot spot, Carbon. (Image courtesy of czrprz.com)