Talking Zulu: Edward von Newton Hammer Sits Down With Lynnie Zulu

We welcome a particular soul to the hallowed halls of the Native Tongue. London-based shape manipulator and colorsmith Lynnie Zulu stops by to share her moments of wisdom and all-around good charm. Though our chat with her was borderline probing, it was just our way of saying “you’re family” to this graphic magician of African-descent.
ED: Where did you doodle and dabble your way into a life path?

LZ: I studied Illustration at Kingston University

ED: Ahhh, the diversity of life. Our melting pot of planetary skin tones blend to form a—eh, uh, I’m rambling. From where do your ancestors originate?

LZ: A big influence is my mother who is also an artist and grew up in Tanzania. She’s encouraged me to reach out and make ideas reality, and whacking raw pigment on the walls and decking our living room out to create the things that I want to see! Even if you’re based in the cold wet Scottish countryside you can transform your world. She did this by whacking raw pigment on the walls and decking our living room out with Maasai spears and hippo teeth. We all have the ability to be so adventurous with our minds and it’s always refreshing to apply your creativity and inspire others.

ED: The preferred arsenal that you like to carry into battle?

LZ: I love using Poscas (paint pens), I’ve found them to be a great medium to loosen up with as they’re halfway between paint and pen. They allow for a lovely matte effect and layer well. I also love to define my illustrations with Japanese ink.

ED: These females in your work seem to ooze with panache. Was that intentional? What did you hope they’d be like?

LZ: Strong, charismatic, mysterious and sometimes seductive personalities. It’s very important to me that they carry strong traits that reflect the female presence. I love surrounding them in metaphorical environments, whether it be a jungle or a chaotic atmosphere. I want the woman to be the influence that conducts the surroundings that she’s in.
ED: This vast cataclysmic picture of a distant reality. Describe this world you aim to convey.

LZ: I like to think the world I create in my work is a good escape that can ignite all your senses at once. Within the busy patterns there’s rhythm, within the colour there’s taste, all together I want it to transport you for a moment to an inspiring place.

ED: I see you, dude. No literally, I see you right there. You’re sitting right in front of me. Let’s speak on the eye for a moment.

LZ: I’ve always been very interested in eyes and they’ve always had a prominent place in my illustrations. I’ve also loved using them as an isolated motif in my work, I think they’re something that can stand alone and still be powerful because of the symbolism attached to them. The idea of adorning a pair of shoes with illustrated eyes seemed to carry a folklore aesthetic—whilst still contemporary and visually exciting.

ED: Sonic vibrations are nice. So are organized sonic vibrations. What vibrations sound most organized to you?

LZ: A huge variety of music can send my head into the right mindset. It’s interesting how I’m beginning to find patterns within my listening choices... lately I’ve realised I’ve been referring to different genres for different parts of my creative process. Artists like Nick Cave are amazing if I want to beat the beginning of the project with a burst of energy and create some more impulsive work that’s raw and uncontrived. I love listening to Afrobeat and Calypso whilst mid progress... 1970’s Disco if I’m in need of a quick pace to reach a speedy deadline. All these genres have the ability to get me in a trance-like state, which I crave, as that’s when great things happen.

ED: The hooligans with which you align your creative admiration meter?

LZ: Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk, Saskia Pomeroy, Hattie Stewart, Sara Andreasson.. the list could go on and on...

Native Tongue

These articles are official documents of the Department of New Thoughts. The Native Tongue is part of the continuing study of lite on Earth. The galaxy speaks and we jot it all down for all the Explorers, all the Folk and all the Feet of the world to consume. Free for all minds—wander into the wonderful.