The first time I saw Ze Carrión´s works in La Neomudéjar Art Centre I was touched by the balance of personal emotions, inner force and social awareness emanating from his paintings.
A year later or so, I met César personally when he and other street artists participated in an intervention next to my working place. After a few minutes of talk in front of the mural he was painting on, I decided I wanted to learn more about this guy, his ideas about street art and life in general. I share with you my experience finding Ze Carrión; this interview is the result.

Kisses - Moratalaz Market, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
Kisses – Moratalaz Market, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: César, how do you define yourself?
ZC: I feel an artist, a plastic and visual artist working many different disciplines, like photography, also drawings in a more personal way. I also write essays, philosophical papers. I see work as a whole where everything is connected. Visual stuff is just a part of it, also I´d like working with sounds. You see, I´m a global creator. Probably due to my education, I focus on plastic disciplines; that´s why I rather use spray painting, it´s direct painting, and its drying process is faster than oil painting. Spray painting is much more immediate than oil painting. I work video-art too.
Whats app control , Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
Whats app control , Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: When did your start working as an artist?
I drew all my life, since I was a kid. I loved reading comics, Manga, Marvel, Batman… but I started to work as Ze Carrión after I gave up my graffiti tag. I used to paint as graffiti writers do, and after some trouble and conflicts I reconsidered my artistic work and tried to understand what my aims were, what my role as an artist was. Once, in a presentation in the Fina Arts Facultu, I heard that we write tags because we´re tired of ads and publicity in our towns and cities. Many shop-owners show ads in their windows and façades without being paid for it, and people don´t complain. We´re fed up of reading and seeing ads all the time. However, if we paint, some people complaint. I cannot understand that. Writing your tag is a way to display your name, so when you walk on the street instead of reading ads and trademarks, you can see your own name.
I gave up writing in 2003-4 and started in 2010-11 in the street again. From 2004 to 07 I worked on video art, painting on canvas and brush. I gave up my graffiti work as a result of an internal search to understand my reasons to do it. I found out that street painting is the discipline that best fits my communication and expression ideas.
Intervention in Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
Intervention in Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: What are your artistic influences or source of inspiration?
ZC: Everything: emotions, feelings, Internet, television, comics. I´m interested in Google idea of general knowledge. I like the idea of Wikipedia, a global knowledge, it´s a god-like entity. All information we get today come from these sources. My ideas come from these sources. From an artistic point of view, classic masters, like Velázquez, Goya, Vermeer; but also modern ones like Warhol or Duchamp. At the same time, I´ve got much influence from Land-Art artists; the theme of beauty, the lightness of being…
ASF: What´s your education background?
ZC: I´ve got a Fine Arts Degree. I studied in Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Then, when you finished, you have to face the world, the real world, and then… what? You are a bit lost. You don´t know what to do. This brought a crisis to your life, you don´t know what to paint, I don´t know what to tell or express through your work. One day, I decided to tell what is censored, what they don´t want us to see, the hidden part of life and society.
Snow White, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
Snow White, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

What are your sources of inspirations?
My inspiration comes from the thousands of images I see. I think we should not gloss over many images. I like recovering those images and repeat them. That´s because I´m so interested in Warhol and Duchamp, the idea of ready-made. The idea of serigraphy and repetition… icons, de-contextualisation of icons. Graffiti is a cry, a scream, you feel free. I love La Neomudéjar ´cause I feel free here. I feel free to work. They accept it and encourage me to do it.
ASF: In terms of your own style, what is your vision for the future? How do you see the evolution of your work?
ZC: No doubt, there´s an evolution, every single day I evolve. There is a line of evolution. Since the beginning I´ve worked paint itself, I mean, the material itself. There´s has been an evolution in this sense. You can see lines overlapping in my works now. I focus on colours, colour stains. Definitely, there´s is an evolution in my style, but now I cannot foresee what my future style will be.
ASF: What projects are you currently involved in?
ZC: Right now I´m working on a project for La Neomudéjar Art Centre. It´s a collaborative project and different artists are involved. I have to paint around 50 or 60 pieces for this exhibition. I´m focussed on this project, we´ll see what comes next.
La haine, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
La haine, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: What means, materials and resources do you currently use in your street art projects or works? Have you seen any progress or changes in formats or means?
ZC: Mainly spray, synthetic paint spray, also plastic paints, markers, everything at hand. Yeah, I´ve seen changes in terms of materials and means along my artistic career. At a first moment, as an illustrator, I started with pencils on paper; when I shifted to walls, I started to work with other materials.
ASF: What about formats?
ZC: Lots of formats, I like murals specially; you know the idea of screaming. As I cannot put my works where I want to, I paint in the street where everybody can see it. I feel easier with big formats!
ASF: What are the themes or issues that prevail in your current work?
ZC: I´m interested in contemporary feelings and emotions. Social criticism, however I don´t try to make social criticism, my intention is just to show reality. Rather, it´s a descriptive intention. I show control by power, social networks, police brutality, censorship, famine, eagerness, anorexia, diseases. Somehow all these themes are linked to my own experience and ideas, the way I see the world.
Years ago I worked the psychopathic world. I made a serial killer collection. I started this series painting a junkie, a mural, in Athens, I felt so comfortable. I needed to express what I felt. Sometimes, artistic technique is not enough, artistic creation is something more.
The thinker, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión
The thinker, Madrid- Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: In your works, I have seen a spiritual dimension. Tell me more about this.
ZC: I´m not a religious man, however the figure of Jesus Christ appeals to me. A man rejected by society, someone who made good and died in the cross… I think that comes from religion to a certain degree though I´m not a religious man. The ideas of Satan, Christ, the Temptation, the Fall are contemporary themes. If we think spirituality is the inner meaning of these iconic images, then you can say there´s certain spiritual degree in my work.
ASF: In your opinion, what is the impact of Internet, the web2.0 and digital revolution on street art?
ZC: A lot! Although I hate to say it, but, today street art depends a great deal of social media and the internet. It´s like a cloud for our work, a way of recording our paintings.
Auschwitz, Madrid - Photo: Ze Carrión
Auschwitz, Madrid – Photo: Ze Carrión

ASF: What do you think about Madrid as a street art city? What are people´s or authorities´ attitude towards street art?
ZC: The artistic level in Madrid is very high. There´re many people working in different projects and doing different things. It is not so much punished. I´ve worked well, to be honest. I like working in the district where I live, Carabanchel. The centre of Madrid is an interesting place to work in ´cause many people can see what you have made.
Street art is promoted in Madrid. For example, Madrid Street Art Project, lead by Guillermo de la Madrid and Diana Prieto, is doing a great work in this field. The public administration doesn´t support street art much. I disagree the way public authorities understand street art, and art in general. They don´t support new artists. You have to work a lot to survive. Sometimes, they run events where we can participate.
The girl and the Pearl - Anamorphosis by Alto & Ze Carrión - Photo: Ze Carrión
The girl and the Pearl – Anamorphosis by Alto & Ze Carrión – Photo: Ze Carrión

People love street art, but they don´t like graffiti writing, they think it´s vandalism. I love graffiti, but people don’t. They have to understand that most of us have started writing graffiti letters. That´s our origin, but we evolve.
ASF: In what other cities have you worked? Did you feel comfortable?
ZC: Almost, in all important cities of continental Europe. I made a European tour by car and I painted in almost all well-known cities, except in Prague, Czech Republic. It was impossible to work there. Too many policemen there! It was difficult to work in Amsterdam too. It was kind of road movie across Europe. A great experience! You can see my pieces in Google earth and follow my journey from Spain to Finland. It´s amazing!
ASF: What cities would you like to work in?
In all cities, but specially, Jerusalem, Palestine, also Russia, New York, Islamic countries. Everywhere!
At the end of the interview, César walked me to the exit of La Neomudéjar, there we bid farewell I left the Art Centre with the feeling Ze Carrion has many things to provide current Spanish Art landscape and society in general. No doubt, we´ll hear about his artist much more in the future!
Ze-nsure- Photo: Ze Carrión
Ze-nsure- Photo: Ze Carrión