Zaira Street Art – The Female Graffiti Artist Coloring the Streets
Amongst the plethora of graffiti tags that are found around various European capitals, such as Amsterdam,Paris and Berlin, there are a few artistic gems just waiting to be discovered. And some of the colorful artworks have been painted by none other than the female graffiti artist Zaira from Basel,Switzerland. Through her artworks Zaira has not only managed to add some color to the streets of many of Europe’s capitals and towns, but she’s also managed to leave a girly yet super edgy mark on what appears to be a predominantly male dominated art form.
A Feminine Yet Edgy Twist to Modern Graffiti
Although the mention of her name might not really ring a bell immediately unlike that of the famous street artist Banksy, it must be said that Zaira’s artworks are very noteworthy to say the least. Of course, this is partially because of the style she employs. Yet, also due to the subjects she chooses to portray. By following her work for the past year and a half, I’ve observed that much of her inspiration draws on pop-art, movie stars of decades past, the consumerist society and urbanization. And I believe its perhaps due to this that the Swiss artist has managed to garner the attention of many of her fans who’ve come across her work.
Personally one of the artworks that caught my eye was one that I managed to snap a few photos whilst I biked through some of Amsterdam’s narrow alleys in my quest to come across something unique to photograph. The subject of the artwork is a portrait of a woman with short hair painted in a monochrome style. Her face is heavily clad in intricately decorated blue flowers and butterflies which add some contrast and depth to the stenciled portrait.
The reason it stood out from the rest was that her signed artwork exhibited a feminine twist when compared to much of the other street art I came across in the alley which was choc a block in murals. After doing some research into this piece, I noticed that many street art enthusiasts have also seen almost identical works in the French capital, Paris. Assumingly, Zaira used the same set of stencils in painting this close to identical artwork.
Another artwork of hers I came across among the plethora of street art in Amsterdam was one I saw in Spuistraat. Yet again, the reoccurring feminine theme of beauty is evident in her artwork. In the piece below, which was painted on a large black door,the subject matter is none other than the 1950’s fashion icon ,Audrey Hepburn, who is painted in monochrome.
Interestingly, Zaira seems to have derived much of her inspiration from an old photograph of Hepburn in which the celebrated British actress appears to be wearing a scarf on her head (a trend which was quite common in the 50’s) whilst holding her sunglasses and looking to her right side. In her interpretation of the old photograph, Zaira seems to have added some contrast to the monochrome piece by adding a dash of color in the roses on either side of Hepburn in different shades of pink.
Zaira’s Style & Subject Matter
Zaira’s style is one which sets her apart from other artists who enjoy creating their signature pieces on walls, doors and other public property. The subject matter the Swiss graffiti artist paints also enables people to recognize her work. Typically on looking at her work, you’ll notice that her artworks typically feature buildings, birds, butterflies and flowers. But she also seems to love capturing the beauty women’s faces too.
As can be seen when looking at various of her works, Zaira clearly has something in common with the word-famous graffiti artist Banksy. Her multi layered works of art clearly demonstrate her love of using stencils to create works of art in greater detail. Yet, Zaira doesn’t only use spray cans as this particular type of art demands. The talented street artist also often incorporates different mediums such as oil paints and even plaster.
About Zaira the Artist
Born in 1983, Zaira from Basel, Switzerland, has sought to leave her mark on the streets of some of Europe’s capitals and other well-known places ever since her interest in graffiti and street art peaked.Works of hers as well as collaborative murals she’s completed with Bustart, an equally talented artist in his own right, can be seen in Amsterdam, Paris, Zürich, Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Basel amongst other places. The artistic duo have even travelled as far as Mumbai in India and Cairo in Eygpt to add color to the streets! Due to their success and signature styles, both artists are frequently invited to take part in some of the best street art exhibitions and festivals. One particularly note-worthy exhibition is the duo showcase Zaira and Bustart had at GO gallery.
Read More Articles about Graffiti:
- A Spotlight on Street Art in Amsterdam
- Icy and Sot Amsterdam Graffiti in Voetboogsteeg
- Fish Graffiti, Amsterdam by Sjem Bakkus
- Transmogrify : Oliver Switch’s Owl Graffiti