hyper realistic South African artist Asha Zero

Asha Zero’s art at first glance appears to be paper collage, but is in fact hyper-realistic painting. His most recent Untitled measures 366 x 200 cm and took over a year to complete. It depicts an urban wall covered in flaking paint, peeling posters, torn advertisements and faded graffiti….


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Based in Cape Town and working under the pseudonym Asha Zero he remains an anonymous figure in much the same way as Banksy. Now 40, he was a skateboarder for many years and this, along with graffiti, billboards, gig posters, magazines, album covers and electronic music all heavily influence his work.

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He collects images from magazines, the Internet, computer-generated images and then comes up with a basic composition in a graphic program. Once he has this computer ‘collage’ template he begins his painting, working in acrylic, and painstakingly reproducing the textures of the collage to create a trompe l’oeil illusion.

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He says, “Once I have a basic feel of the piece and composition, I allow for ‘accidental’ marks and image generation and then from there I simply allow it to grow.”

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He says that he began to contemplate a career in art during high school because, “art was pretty much the only subject I was really interested in, so that led me in the graphic design direction as a possible career. I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue it at tertiary level, where I decided to ditch design and continue a major in fine art. I only really got going a couple of years after art school though.”

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He describes his work as playful and “sort of like Dadaist lego.”

You can hear Asha talk about his work for 2.5 minutes here…

You can hear Delphi Carstens give a 5.33 minute talk about Asha Zero here…

When asked to describe what his work would sound like if it was music Asha said Plaid, a brilliant electronic duo who just so happen to be appearing at Colston Hall Bristol next month, so if you’re in the area check them out! Thanks for reading and I’ll leave you to listen to one of Plaid’s fab tunes…


images: ASHA ZERO