Art is a talent that some people are born with, while others develop their skills through practice and instruction. Regardless of how it’s acquired, art is created in many ways and can be found everywhere. Let me introduce you to this talented Midrand-based visual artist and tattooist by the name of Ziiinnnia. I discovered her work through social media, where I saw a beautiful painting or drawing of Uncle Waffles that someone had retweeted. This happened back in November 2023. I was so impressed with her work that I took the time to check out her other pieces. If you’re interested in learning more about this talented artist, I highly recommend reading the interview.
To our loyal Hype Magazine readers, please provide some background information on who Ziiinnnia is.
I’m better known as Nzuridraws. I grew up in Eastrand (Benoni). I’ve always been an artist. I’m sure I drew something first before I was able to even write. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed and been able to do.
How did she get into art Also, which one of the creative endeavors did you fall in love with first – visual art or tattoos?
I like to say I’m a visual artist first and a tattoo artist second.
What motivates you to create art, and how could you describe your creative process?
I feel like art is something I need to do – it’s up there with my need to breathe. I don’t necessarily need motivation, it’s a survival thing.
What tattoo styles do you specialize in, and how do you approach designing a customized tattoo for your clients?
My creative process is almost nonexistent- I never plan an artwork and I never need to get myself in the mood to draw, I just go for it and hope for the best.
The drawings of Shalatheunicorn, MegleraDoBoy, and Blxckie is among my favorites after the one of 25k. Did you decide whom to draw on the day, or did you approach them first?
Thank you so much, I had a lot of fun with those artworks. With the Shala, Maglera, Blxckie art I just saw the photo they had taken and posted and immediately knew I was going to draw it. I never approach the people who inspire me, I like to surprise them. At the end of the day, I make the art for myself, and I don’t think I need permission for that. The 25k artwork was a paid commission. Excited to see what he’s going to do with it. It’s one of my favorites for sure.
What has your journey been like in your visual art career?
I started doing portraits of people full-time when I was 18 and my style was admired by many which came as a shock to me then I started my tattooing journey when I was 19 and it was so random and unplanned but I’m glad I did.
Do you have any recommendations on how to handle clients who want to modify their tattoo design after work has already begun?
I think it’s key to expand or modify already existing work with something of the same style that way it’s a seamless blend
Some parents consider tattoos to be demonic. Have your parents been supportive, and how did they respond when you told them about your journey and your business?
My parents are supportive and they also helped me a great deal when I was still learning and starting, by driving me to my apprenticeships, my interviews, my house calls, classes, and everything. My mom happens to have tattoos and I’ve tattooed her as well so in our household it’s nothing to frown upon. They’ve accepted it as my passion and are happy it’s working out for me.
How does your work challenge or subvert conventional ideas about art?
I find my tattoo style is much more palatable than my drawing style. Despite people admiring my work I’ve also received a lot of backlash for my abstract expressionism. Often it’s been called “satanic” or just straight up “not art”, “too bizarre” and “too crude”, but I fight to reach my target audience every day.
What are some of your most significant artistic accomplishments, and what are your goals for the future of your art practice?
My most significant accomplishment and this may sound crazy, but I just love having my art in people’s homes locally and globally. It’s a huge accomplishment for me that my art can be a part of someone’s everyday life alongside making cover art for my favorite musicians and making illustrations for books. Some goals I have for both my art and tattooing are that I get to share it more with the world, international exhibitions, and tattoo tours. I want to be in galleries that house abstract art. I want to do more commission work.
Lastly, where are your studios located, and how can our readers get in touch with you?
My studio is in Midrand (halfway house) and I also reside in Midrand. I’m a DM/email away always. My Twitter handle is @Ziiinnnia and my email is Nzuridrawstattoos@icloud.com
Thank you for your time, Ziiinnnia. It was great having you on Hype Magazine.