Off the grid with Chicago graffiti artist ZORE

Oh, how I love my job at the I get to write about whatever and whoever I want, which means I often write about off-the-grid artists who are hell-bent on making art their own way.

If you haven’t ever met a graffiti artist, or even if you have, you should get to know ZORE.


Chicago graffiti artist ZORE concludes international tour at Zhou B. Gallery

Ever wonder what becomes of the young graffiti artists who tag Chicago’s subways?  At least one of them became a nationally acclaimed artist.  Mario Gonzalez Jr., a.k.a. ZORE, will be exhibiting his large scale paintings at the Zhou B Art Center from Aug. 17 to Sept. 14, 2012.  The ZORE exhibition—a thrilling collection that hovers delicately between fine art and street art—is the conclusion of a sixty-four day international tour which included stops in South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

Born in 1970 in Chicago, “ZORE” Mario Gonzalez Jr. grew up playing under bridges and abandoned buildings and taking note of the urban art forms surrounding him.  At the age of 11 he picked up a marker and started scrawling on any surface available to him.  When he was 17 Gonzalez received a full scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Since then he has been traveling the globe painting subways and murals, performing, teaching art and exhibiting his work throughout the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.

ZORE’s exhibit at the Zhou B Art center is his first major one-man gallery exhibition within the United States.  The collection is a fusion of street styles, colorful letter forms and abstract monochromatic large scale paintings.  While the art world might call his work “urban abstract graffiti and expressionism” Gonzalez insists, “I am not a studio artist, I am not a street artist, I am a graffiti artist.”  Either way, his free spirited works resonate beyond ethnic or geographic borders and make their bold mark on Chicago’s contemporary art scene.

To kick off the ZORE exhibition, the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport will be hosting an opening on Friday, Aug. 17 from 7-10 p.m. The exhibit was curated by artist and 3C Wear founder Sergio Gomez and is held in conjunction with the Zhou B. Art Center’s “Third Fridays” in which the center’s galleries and artists’ studios are open to the public.

About Mary A. Osborne

Mary A. Osborne is the author of Alchemy's Daughter and Nonna's Book of Mysteries.
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