Trying to describe Zac Yeates’ characters is, well, difficult. While exploring ‘personification’, his figures look far from anything you’ve ever seen walk this earth. “I am trying to evoke a parallel between the absurd and the comedy of ordinary life,” he explains. “The feeling of discomfort until the point where there is nothing else to do but let out a little laugh.” Placing sausage-like lips and googly eyes on cowboys, wrestlers and magicians, you can even find Zac’s distinctive features on inanimate objects – a Henry Hoover, for example.
Born in Perth, Australia, Zac later moved to Berlin to study filmmaking before turning to painting. Films still play an important role in Zac's practice though, with the similarly surreal works of Yorgos Lanthimos inspiring his themes. To achieve his signature gradient aesthetic, Zac begins with a layer of gouache then adds oil pastels over the top, before then blending with his fingers. Hilariously weird yet finely tuned, Zac’s work proves that not taking life too seriously and making high-quality work in fact comes hand in hand.
Zac Yeates: Stick 'Em Up Cowboy (Copyright © Zac Yeates, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.