Czr Prz is a busy man. Fresh off a stint at the inaugural Chicago edition of Fountain Art Fair, his undertakings are nothing short of admirable. We talk about such undertakings which include The Indigo Project, his illustrious yet somehow unrepresented career here, and his distrust toward portions of the alphabet.
Tell us about Mana Contemporary, their expansion into Chicago, and how you feel the presence will impact Pilsen and the city as a whole.
Although I feel that they are moving a bit slow in regards to the pace that the other art facilities are progressing, I believe that they can have a huge impact on the area with a bit more direction in this city. Lacuna Art Lofts, Zhou B, the new Bridgeport Arts Center, only to name a few, are huge facilities on the southside of the city that have already been taking over their prospective areas with little hesitation. I would like to see Mana be a bit more involved in the arts then just be a facility that has open spaces.
Tell us about your involvement with Fountain Art Fair here in Chicago and how they ended up organizing in our city.
Indigo Project was fortunate enough to be involved with the Fountain Art Fair this year as an exhibitor, and it was truly a great experience. We are able to have a better idea of the structuring of a true art fair, seeing the quality of other artists’ works and the direction that the current movement is heading. Of its 10 years of being, the first year (hopefully not the last) for this event here in Chicago is a great deal for artists like myself that find it nearly impossible to get representation while other artists are flooded by galleries and collectors; it’s fairs like this that give artists like myself a chance to actually get to show what it is that we do. They seem to realize that Chicago is revamping itself around the arts, especially places like Pilsen, Bridgeport, and the South Loop, and it would only be smart to be involved with what’s going on here.
I love the En Masse mural and how well it accentuates the recent 16th Street redevelopment. What does that current movement mean to you?
To me it means a closer knit community of artists that can work well together and produce something beautiful and cohesive without egos. Many artists don’t like to collaborate, but in the street art/graffiti world, collaboration is the norm. It also seems to help in regards to artists wanting to improve their hand in certain techniques, and working with other artists seems to help them do that.
Anything else are you working on for Fountain?
Other then the En Masse mural project I’m working on my booth for the fair, and making sure I can get enough exposure for myself and our other artists.
Could you share some insight on the Indigo Project? What it means to you? Goals and future aspirations?
Indigo Project was started by Megan Tyndall, a fantastic artist and close friend who I’ve come to work with extensively because of her talent and drive to make things happen. It started off with her getting a handful of us, her opening the studio, then ushering me in to help run it towards the direction we see fit. We plan on doing much more in regards to being involved with art events and music, like how we sponsored Ava Grey, a Chicago based art group during North Coast Music Fest. We are trying to help take other artists careers to the next level, hopefully opening doors for other projects.
You’ve been known to collaborate with some greats. How was it working with Don’t Fret and Brooks Golden on this year’s Lollapalooza project? (Feel free to compare/contrast with previous years with Ruben and others)
It was fun, both are really good guys and have a lot going for them. Honestly at first I was weary about how it was going to turn out, being that all 3 of our styles are vastly different, but we pulled together a quality piece, I felt. I really dug what Ruben and I did the previous year, although it was a little more thrown together…
Any favorite collaboration(s) you’ve been a part of?
Some of them would be like the Brooklyn Industries my crew IAM did a few years back, plus the work I’ve done with Sintex from Detroit while in Miami for Basel were really tight too. I’d have to say my favorite though was in Berlin with Cani E Porci (Italian for Dog & Pig), the first time we all painted together and did a massive piece in the Teufelsberg was pretty sick. This last En Masse piece Im digging a lot though, definitely top 5.
So, what do have against vowels anyway?
I just don’t trust them.
You’re quite the well-traveled artist having painted around the world. How have your experiences been down in Miami during Art Basel, and do you have anything planned for this year’s event?
Honestly in the beginning the last Basel I was kinda downhearted. I couldn’t find any wall space, no one to look at my work. I had to start asking people to paint with them and I had like no time while I was out there. I ended up painting on 4 walls and was commissioned to do a painting for a young couple in Miami, then later found out that my piece was in I’m In Miami Bitch, a street art book that I was also interviewed in. I still have no representation nor leads to getting wall space, but that honestly isn’t going to stop me going again this year.
Your work incorporates a lot of animals and classic imagery (not to mention pop culture mainstays like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man), so what do you draw on for inspiration? Do you feel a certain connection to any of the animals you paint?
Honestly the Ghost Busters piece was a theme my crew painted for Meeting Of Styles last year. My work in pop normally revolves around Latino/Mexican culture as well as the punk and hip hop movements. Nature and theology are the norm in my work, animals are always a form of representation and have deeper meanings, especially the birds and serpents. Much of the work I do is based on that and my upbringing in Santeria, which is also why I paint in such a dark manner.
If you could participate in any festival in the world and collaborate with one artist in the world, where would you go and who would it be?
Pow Woww in Hawaii would be awesome, but if I had to choose I would rather be in projects with White Walls and/or Primary Flight. I would prefer doing those projects instead of festivals. (then again I guess Basel is a festival, right?) I’d love to paint a mural with Sainer, Nychos or Aryz, or at least just get to watch them. Their techniques are insane, and the magnitude of their work is beyond mind blowing.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a mural right now for Site Chicago South Shore Art Festival http://instagram.com/sitechicago as well as prepping for Art Basel. I’m also working on my Solo show for EXP Gallery in Carrara Italy for the spring of 2014.
As you can plainly see, the man stays busy. You can keep up with Czr’s progress at the aforementioned South Shore Art Festival by following him on Instagram @no_vwlz. You can also keep up with what’s going on in his world here: