Under the odd name of DZO (in capital letters) is Olivier, a self-taught artist and freelance designer from the South of France. Thanks to a family with an artistic affinity, the young Olivier graduated from the School of Fine Arts of Toulouse and begun a successful career in graphic design. But with the creation of the artistic counterpart that is DZO, the French artist wished to go deeper into his exploration of the “noosphere”, a philosophical concept about human thought. For DZO is more than your usual artist. His art, speaks to the old etchings and engravings of religious and occult manuscripts, flirts with alchemy, witchcraft and blasphemy. It is at the same time disturbing, haunting and stimulating. His intricate drawings, full of enigmatic detail, mix sensuality, darkness and mythology. The message beyond the lines are sibylline, surrounding the world of DZO with mystery and fascination. Interview with this enlightened mind follows…
Could you tell me more about yourself ?
I have a very classical school background. I’ve studied 5 years in an art school to become a designer. Then, I have quickly found a job, designing for a ski and snowboard’s company but left it to create my own graphic studio. Today, I earn my life with it, but sometimes, it is very boring and limited to computing. I have soon felt the need to come back to drawing and to do my own illustrations. I’ve become DZO in this state of mind. My job allows me to live, and DZO, my second life, allows me to feel free and to do what I truly love.
Which different art techniques do you use ?
I try to use only one, to be in the very simple dynamic of an unique tool : the black ink pen. My techniques are thus essentially linked to outlining : dots, hatchings, textures, shadows and lights, curved and straight lines… For color, when I choose to add it, I use computer graphics softwares, as any graphic designer would do.
How how time does it take you to complete a piece ?
It depends on its complexity : between 6 and 25 hours for a big surface.
What are your work rituals ?
I work at home, at the office or outside. It doesn’t matter. But I prefer at home. My concentration is better and I can put music very low to get into the atmosphere necessary for each creation. Sometimes I love silence too. Drawing is a way for me to meditate.
Which influences are, according to you, the most visible in your work ?
The influences linked to my research on the esoteric cultures of the world. I am not influenced by other artists, but by my readings and my taste for life’s mysteries ! I mostly study the symbolism and the symbolic systems. My discoveries spread through all my creations.
Is this esoteric influence purely an aesthetic attraction or something deeper ?
Definitely deeper. Aesthetic for sure, but also philosophical. This spirit of « old etchings » and the search for a limitated technique allow me to get closer to the states of mind of ancient times. In the old days, men were developing more powerful sensorial abilities than we do. Their perception was more extended than ours, which gave them access to deeper knowledge. Ours are very superficial.
In which direction would you like to take your work ?
My work evolves with each new drawing. It is what I am looking for : a perpetual evolution, a constant movement toward more quality, more sense, more dimension. I would like my work to become visionary, to trigger an opening of conscience in creating links with the unconscious, to use it as an electroshock to awake the blind and docile people.
What are your future projects ?
My only project is to go on creating and evolve. I don’t want anything else. Strangely, orders are multiplying. Many musicians are contacting me for album covers. I like this way of exhibiting my work. I enjoy the world of music. But I only want to work with bands that would allow me to move forward in my art and research. I would like to hold that course… with humbleness.