What’s going on everyone! I finally got to meet up with Zack and do this interview. I’ve been following him for around 7-8 months now. His intricate artwork caught my eye and will definitely catch yours. Thank you Zack for being willing to meet up and talk a bit about your art.
Whats going, introduce yourself
What’s up everyone! My names Zack Leard, I go by the name Xackleard. I was born and raised in Sacramento. I now currently live in Chicago.
Describe the meaning behind Xackleard
It’s pronounced Zack. The X is represented as the algebraic term X. Meaning an unknown value to find in a formula. Basically that’s how I consider myself.
You’re from Sacramento, How was life like growing up there?
It was pretty boring honestly. We usually spent our days driving around listening to music and skateboarding. Every now and then we would find a spot to tag. Along with not having much to do, there was nothing going on Art wise either. We had no community for the artists. Sacramento was the spot for your families with kids and 9-5 business type people. Even though there wasn’t much going on in Sacramento, it never changed the fact that I never saw limits as to what I could in life.
What caused the transition from sac to chicago?
To be honest, it was my girlfriend. I was never even planning on going to Chicago. I jumped the gun and just made the move.
How have you been liking Chicago so far? How do you feel about Chicago’s artistic scene/culture?
It’s been amazing so far. There’s just so much more to do here. I’m constantly getting inspired. I remember getting off the plane and driving through the city and thinking to myself “Oh shit, this is dope”. I enjoy the culture here in Chicago. It’s cool to see because like I said, in Sacramento we didn’t have an art community. I feel like the artists are supportive of each other, which is very important.
Growing up as a kid what led you to art?
Funny story actually. When I first started drawing, which was in the 5th grade, I was so bad. I honestly hated drawing. I remember drawing my name in graffiti lettering and showing my friends. They laughed and said it was terrible. Most people probably would’ve got discouraged and quit at that time. For me, I told myself I was going to keep going, but not show anybody. I did just that, I continued practicing for hours and hours until it became routine to draw. I eventually eased into my path. From drawing, I got into tagging. I then ended up meeting my sensei. He played a pivotal role in my artistic career. He was the one who got me into graffiti.
Did you stick with art because you enjoyed having a creative outlet?
At the time I was skating, making music, writing, and getting into art. At that time I didn’t want to do all at once so I dropped all of them and just focused on art. I wanted people to begin to take my art more seriously. I wanted to be able to balance my graffiti art vs my canvas art. For me, art is my meditation. Looking back now I guess it was an outlet for me.
How do you get into your creative zone?
I’d say music helps me out the most. I sit down at my desk and put my music on. Music helps me stay relaxed. It also helps clear my mind. I then start to look at the work I have been working on. Next, I begin sketching. Sometimes the sketching is just non-sense and sometimes it ends up turning into a piece.
Do you convey your emotions through your artwork?
Oh yeah! For me, art is how I express myself. I feel like I can’t express my emotion properly any other way. For the time being. I feel like my art could represent a dark emotion. I feel like most people feel the same. Most people are in and out of dark phases in life. It’s easy to relate to the people through my art.
What or who has been your biggest inspiration in life so far?
I’d have to say my Grandma. She too was an artist. She always made sure to look out for me. She would fill my head up with positivity.
Do you believe that each person has the capacity to be creative? Or is it a trait you either have or don’t?
I personally don’t think it’s something you’re born with. I believe creativity is limitless. Everything around us was created. Everyone on Earth has the capacity to be creative. It’s already rooted inside of us, we just need to tap into our inner-self and find it.
The character your incorporate into your pieces… What is that & where did that idea come from?
The idea came from me wanting to relate my art to everyone. He can be me, you, or anyone. The character represents any emotion. It can be sad, happy, high, scared, pissed, etc. Sometimes the character will look sad and depressed while the rest of the canvas will have nothing but bright colors behind it. I create pieces like that to look at the bigger picture. You’ll pass through any dark phase you get yourself into. The character is created with just one line. It was something simply inspired by San Francisco handstyles. The one flow tag.
Do you prefer working in black and white or color?
I really love color. I love blues and reds. There are positives to using both. Color grabs your attention, while black and white creates drama. But, I also enjoy working in black and white. Don’t think you cant be the greatest artist because you don’t incorporate colors. If you use colors in the right way, you can bring out the right emotions. Our emotions are attached to colors.
Recently you had your first art show? How was that experience?
-Any shows coming up?
Shoutout to my girlfriend for putting it together. It was at the Chicago Art Department. It was an awesome experience, it was much more than I ever expected. The room was filled with great people and high energy. We are looking to plan our next show in June/July. All of the details will be out very soon.
Do you prefer drawing physically or digitally?
I personally enjoy physically. I do work digitally as well. The best part about working digitally is being able to have all the tools you need right there in front of you.