After recently completing a collection of larger-than-life sculptures as part of his Mr. Moneybags and the Moneybag series, contemporary artist Zevi G. cleverly examines the symbolism behind money and the varying relationships people have with currency. Known for these colorful pieces that are part of a conceptualized imaginary world called 456 Land, the rising artist has created more than 100 characters over the course of his career. With each piece and collection he creates, there is sacredness to the time spent with each creation, during which he devotes to developing its character and messaging through craftsmanship. In each character he creates, Zevi’s art is nuanced with history and meaning as he subtly poses questions of life and philosophy.
But as the narrative of his work continues to evolve, he has his sights set on even larger ambitions. Having been an institutional piece of the esteemed Art Basel Miami collective for over five years, and many other private exhibitions, Zevi G. now looks ahead at greater opportunities that can offer his art longevity through the channel of museum exposure and credibility.
We recently sat down with Zevi G. to discuss his process, the themes of his art, and how he uses symbolism to create the characters of 456 Land.
What inspires your art?
My concept has always been to connect to more and more people. I make art to create a connection, to relay a message of love, strength, kindness and unity. I also love art. Creations, sculptures, and I believe the art we are seeing today is speaking to our generation
What is the messaging behind the Mr. Moneybag series?
In today’s society there is an obsession with money. About measuring people’s value through it, having it, losing it, wanting it. So, amongst the hundreds of characters from 456 Land you can find Mr. Moneybags carrying bags of money, or the Moneybags standing solo. The symbol of money allows me to poke at society, as one can look at these pieces and think it is another artist glorifying money, but one can take a second look and see that the real message is that money can also bring relief, needed help, and a sense of instant gratification when deserved. Money can be used to do good, or not, we can choose.
What is the significance behind the color choice for each of the moneybag sculptures of the Mr. Moneybag series if any?
Colors have a lot to do with emotions, the emotions I am feeling when creating a piece, and the emotions I want to give off when someone is looking at my work. A ray of light and color can change your mood. I always want the emotion to be there when you are looking at my pieces, so colors will always play a big part.
For the just released series of six Moneybag two-foot sculptures, colors are represented as follow: red for hardiness and valor, white for innocence and purity, blue for perseverance and justice, orange for energy and vitality, black for mystery and power and green for health and renewal. These one of one sculptures are currently sold.
What is 456 Land?
An imaginary world called 456 Land. There, I have created over 100 + characters to share love, positivity and hope.
What types of new characters are you working on that will be part of 456 Land?
As of now I am spending time with the Seated Messenger, which seeks to promote a message of healing and compassion, no clothing, no gender, but always carrying a heart, spreading the message of love and unity. The new sculptures will be in variation of colors, materials and sizes.
What kind of materials do you use when creating a new sculpture?
There is a lot of trial and error to find the perfect material for my work. I have experimented with many materials. My latest sculptures are fiberglass, bronze and aluminum.
How do you decide on the size and dimensions for each piece you create?
For the moment I would love to mainly focus in continuing making 10 foot tall bronze pieces. The permanency of the large-scale pieces is appealing on many levels with a feeling that each piece has roots, a presence that will last forever. But the creative process in doing such pieces is time consuming and costly, therefore the message I want to spread widely gets defined by money, by who can or can’t afford such creations. So as the size and material changes, so does the monetary cost of each piece. From time to time I release smaller pieces, different materials, textures, in order to be able to reach a wider audience.
What was it like to stray a bit from your norm and work on the Manny the Frenchie piece, being that this wasn’t a character in 456 Land?
I never shy away from a challenge, when Manny’s owner approached me about this commission, it got me excited. This was a very personal work that took me 4 years to full completion. The result was incredible!
How do you think your art has evolved since you began your career as an artist?
The evolution of my art has been in quality. Integrating the emotion I want to express through my art into the most incredible end product, which is by providing exceptional work.
What is something you try to achieve with every piece you create?
Positivity and happiness. Create a strong connection with people, to engage, be part of the conversations. As long as the message is shared then it will surpass time. Also, to be working more with museums so the work can be preserved and enjoyed by the general public as opposed to all private collections where very few people can see.
To learn more about Zevi G., visit his website or find him on Instagram.