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Z. E Pangborn

01/05/2015 10:28AM ● Published by Style

Artist photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Gallery: Artist Z. E Pangborn – The Arts – Jan. 2015 [13 Images] Click any image to expand.

Currently in a “pen and marker period,” Z. E Pangborn enjoys the mobility and ease the medium allows. When gazing at his highly detailed drawings of various flora, fauna and fictional cyber/bio and robotic creatures, you can see the influence growing up in the ’80s—watching Star Wars and Commander Mark from The Secret City—had on his work. Opening Volution Gallery in 2011, Pangborn now skillfully balances his duties of business owner and creator. “It’s nice to work in a medium where I can simply put the cap back on when I find myself chatting with customers.”

HLB: How did Volution Gallery begin?

ZEP: When I was in my early 20s I was a street artist in Santa Barbara; it felt like a very democratic way of connecting art with people. I never liked the idea of stuffy galleries that are only accessible to people in certain tax brackets. I wanted to create a space that had an open, inviting feel and still keep my work affordable. We leave our door open and welcome all sorts of people. I’m always particularly happy when a family comes in with children, or when someone tells me the purchase they’re making is the first art purchase they’ve ever made.

HLB: Where do you find inspiration?

ZEP: I’m inspired by the intricate patterns found in nature on all scales—from micro to macro. I’m constantly amazed by what’s around me and what’s been made visible through microscopes and telescopes. I’m always surprised by the way certain patterns seem to repeat themselves at various levels of magnification.

HLB: If not an artist, what would you be?

ZEP: “A really grumpy individual.” That’s what my wife said when I was reflecting on this question with her, and it’s pretty much the best answer.

HLB: Anything you would have done differently?

ZEP: I would have done everything differently: I would have finished art school, worked harder and conformed to a more traditional artist trajectory, but most importantly I would have done work-for-hire. It’s extremely difficult to make a living as an artist—most professional artists do commissioned work at some point in their career, but I was unwilling to sell out because I thought it would compromise my artistic vision. Consequently, I had to get a non-art-related day job and made very little art for a 10-year period. That being said, I’ve made it this far by exclusively doing pieces I feel like doing, and I will continue going down that path.   

HLB: What do you love about your community?

ZEP: I love that it’s small and intimate but also has rich history and attracts people from all over the world. My artwork is now on literally every continent (even Antarctica!). Placerville has that rare combination of being a secret haven and a crossroads.

HLB: What’s in store for the future?

ZEP: I’m currently in the process of illustrating an ongoing graphic novel series: Echo Locations, a science-fiction collection of short stories. In addition, I will continue to make Volution Gallery more interesting by adding new imagery to the archive.
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