16 Mar Interview – Zeke’s Lunchbox
A bowerbird of pop culture, artist and designer Zeke’s Lunchbox aka Julia Rich creates a glittering assemblage of excess, overwhelming yet carefully balanced in composition, content and colour. Zeke is influenced by kitsch art, space age, and everything B-grade – drawing inspiration from schlock artists and 90’s cult classics like Goosebumps and The Garbage Pail Kids.
Zeke’s work has been exhibited in a multitude of local and international group shows, including Booty Worship in the US and Soft Matter in the UK. Some local highlights include her installation with fellow artist Terhor on their ongoing project TeeZee (Terhor & Zeke), which includes art festivals; Art, Not Apart & Critical Animals. Zeke has also collaborated with designers, photographers, musicians and artists both locally and abroad. Ranging from artwork commissioned by boutique marketing agency Wild Minded, to creating bespoke garments with Sydney designer Spunky Bruiser and a design collaboration with nail art company Personail.
How did you become interested in art, is it something you’ve always done?
I’ve been drawing since I was young and it was definitely encouraged as I remember being gifted with art supplies at the time. I pivoted into fashion and textiles for a little but went back to my true passion since it always felt like the original dream.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think film is a big one and then researching the artists and craftsmen behind the scenes. Hearing their journey and process is always so relatable.
What have been some of your biggest challenges/achievements so far as an artist?
My biggest challenge is constantly refocusing to get back on the right track. You’re always really hungry for new opportunities but after a while they cloud your vision so challenging and reminding yourself to get on the right path is a daily struggle. My biggest achievement is how long I’ve been able to make art my career. It’s been a couple of quick years and I used to quit everything I tried to achieve, so longevity is my biggest achievement.
How has your work evolved since you started out?
If i’m not including my fashion years my work has just become more confident. I think my ideas and concepts have stayed true to the “Zeke” brand but I’m a lot quicker and more expansive now.
Do you have a favourite project/artwork so far?
My favourite project would probably be my collab with Personail, they remind my of Fruits Mag (RIP). All those years ago and it’s just so cool to be able to make my teen self proud. I don’t think I’ve made my favourite artwork just yet! There are some close calls but the ultimate art in my mind has yet to come to life.
Tell us about your collaborations with Terhor, how has this influenced your work?
Terhor was the person that ultimately put me on the track I am on now. Before meeting him I was in a creative limbo. We’ve really been able to flesh out our work together, whether it be street art, gallery projects and curated shows. Bouncing off ideas, challenging one another, it’s been turbulent but really satisfying.
Have you collaborated with any other artists?
I’ve collaborated with Spunky Bruiser to make some incredible garments and in the past I would have said that I wanted to expand on working with more people. But that’s going back to what I mentioned earlier about clouding my vision.
Who are some artists/designers you admire?
What are some of your goals for the future?
I want to start focusing on Youtube, recording and archiving my journey. Connecting, teaching, bringing joy to people’s lives, it sounds lifting to me. I also just need to make incredible art. I’m trying to stop side projects and just work on honing in on my craft. It’s the most important part and I need to stay focused!
Can you tell us about any projects or exhibitions you are currently working on?
It’s all about upskilling this year so they’re not the main focus. But projects always present themselves at the last minute. So I’m sure they’ll be some exciting things to happen this year.
You can check out more of Zeke’s Lunchbox here: